Domestic Assault Lawyer in Toronto
Being arrested for domestic assault in Toronto can be a traumatic experience for the accused as well as the complainant.
Not only do you have to deal with the emotional conflict in the relationship and the stigma of being charged; bail restrictions may also mean that you are denied the chance to contact those you are closest to until the charges have been answered.
It helps to speak to an experienced criminal defence lawyer for guidance, clarity, and peace of mind.
Mukesh Bhardwaj Criminal Defence Lawyer has considerable experience in domestic assault cases in Toronto and can help you defend your rights and seek justice.
What is domestic assault in Ontario?
Section 266 of the Criminal Code outlines the charge of domestic assault.
In fact, the code does not distinguish between non-domestic and domestic assault but does recognise assault against a current or former spouse, common-law partner or dating partner as an aggravating factor in an assault charge.
There is effectively a zero-tolerance policy in Ontario (and around Canada) for this type of offence.
It is likely to be prosecuted differently and generally treated more harshly by the courts if you are convicted.
There may even be a special team of prosecutors who exclusively deal with domestic assault cases.
Police are instructed to charge people accused of domestic assault even if there is no independent evidence: the complainant’s word is considered good enough.
This makes it even more critical that you hire an experienced lawyer to defend you if accused.
Note that if you are arrested on a domestic assault charge, you will likely require a bail hearing in order to secure your release.
Your lawyer will assist in your bail hearing but, if successful, you can expect tight restrictions placed on your release, including no contact with the complainant.
Defending against Toronto domestic assault charges
The best approach once bail has been secured is for your lawyer to speak to the Crown prosecution to see if they will consider withdrawing the charges.
If not, your lawyer should attempt to work together on an agreeable solution for all parties if you choose to accept responsibility for the charges.
Failing that, you will need a rigorous defence and representation at trial in an attempt to clear your name or at least mitigate the punishments you face.
What is the punishment for domestic assault in Ontario?
The Crown Policy Manual from the Attorney General recommends that Crown Attorneys “prosecute domestic violence offences as vigorously as other serious criminal matters”.
Accordingly, if you are convicted of domestic-related assault you can expect harsh penalties.
This includes up to six months in prison and/or a $5,000 fine for a summary conviction and up to five years in jail for an indictment.
Why hire an experienced domestic assault lawyer?
When a complaint of domestic assault is made to police in Toronto, the Crown prosecutor will decide whether or not criminal charges will proceed to trial.
With the law as it is, wrongful accusations of domestic assault have increased.
It is vital in these cases to mount a vigorous defense to ensure that the case is dismissed or a fair trial guaranteed and a not-guilty verdict secured.
Even if the evidence against you is substantial, an experienced domestic assault lawyer can help mitigate the punishments so that you do not have to pay for the rest of your life for a single mistake.
Domestic assault cases are complex. A lawyer without the necessary experience may overlook subtle issues, events, and legal issues that arise and that can make a big difference to your outcome.
Domestic Assault Frequently Asked Questions
What happens when you are charged with domestic assault?
If you are charged with domestic assault in Ontario, it means that the Crown prosecutor believes there is enough evidence against you to go to trial.
It is therefore important to speak to your lawyer as soon as possible – before you speak to the police.
Criminal defence lawyer Jeffrey I. Reisman will explain what you can expect and the criminal processes that you will go through as you prepare your defence.
Generally, if it goes to court, the case will be adjourned for a period of 3-4 weeks so that negotiations with the Crown Attorney can take place. If no settlement is reached, a trial date will be set.
What is an emergency protection order in Ontario?
An emergency protection order (EPO) is a temporary court order designed to protect someone from domestic violence.
It can be put in place if a complainant appeals to the court and can be granted without the presence or input of the accused.
How can I get my domestic violence charges dropped?
Domestic violence charges will generally not just be dropped, even if the complainant does not wish to pursue the charges any longer.
The police lay the charges and the Crown prosecutor decides whether to proceed with a trial.
Your best chance of getting a domestic violence charge dropped is to hire a lawyer who can work with the Crown prosecution and attempt to have the charges withdrawn.
One resolution is a statutory or common law peace bond, requiring you to abide by certain court-imposed conditions for a certain period of time.
With a peace bond arrangement, charges for domestic assault can be withdrawn.
Another option in some less serious cases is an application for ‘discharge’ prior to trial, allowing you to avoid a criminal record even after pleading guilty to the offence.
Is there a punishment for domestic assault that does not involve jail?
There are punishments available to sentencing judges that do not involve any prison time for certain minor domestic assault convictions and for first-time offenders.
For instance, participating in domestic violence programs will improve your chances of receiving a lighter sentence.
Your best chance of a non-custodial sentence for a domestic assault conviction is by working with a criminal defence lawyer with experience of the Toronto court system in assault cases.