Domestic Assault FAQ: Answers from a Domestic Assault Lawyer in Toronto

Dealing with domestic assault allegations can be stressful and confusing. Not only do you have to deal with the inconvenience and embarrassment of being arrested and having to answer to these charges in court, but you may also have strict bail conditions applied to you until your case is finished.  This can happen even in cases where the only evidence is your word against the other person’s.

If you are arrested, it is in your best interest to contact a domestic assault lawyer as soon as possible. John Erickson has been a practicing domestic assault lawyer for over 20 years, and he can be reached for a free consultation at (416)-363-3612. Failing to secure qualified representation could expose you to the following risks:

– A jail sentence, fine and/or probation

– A criminal record

– Loss of employment opportunities

– Court orders restricting your ability to have custody and/or access to your children or other family members

– Denial of immigration and citizenship applications

– Barment from a career in law enforcement or working with children or vulnerable people

In the interest of protecting those falsely accused of domestic violence, Erickson Law has assembled some FAQ information to help inform your decision making.

What qualifies as domestic assault?

There is no specific offence defined in the Criminal Code of Canada. “Domestic assault” is simply any alleged assault or threat committed within a domestic relationship. Domestic relationships include people in same-sex relationships and includes married couples, common law spouses, boyfriend/girlfriend relationships, and even allegations between siblings.

Why are domestic assault charges treated so severely, both in court and by police first responders?

Domestic assault allegations are treated very seriously by the Courts. This is because domestic violence can negatively impact children living in the home and create a dangerous power imbalance in a relationship. Additionally, domestic violence has serious potential to escalate if not dealt with promptly.

What happens when the police are called?

When responding to a 911 call, the police will interview the alleged victim, the accused, and any other potential witnesses, including children. If the investigating officer forms a reasonable belief that the accusation is true, the accused will be arrested and often held for a bail hearing.

Any injuries suffered by the alleged victim will be documented and hospital transportation will be provided as needed. Often, the alleged victim and other witnesses will be transported to the police division to provide a formal, videotaped statement.  As well, the police will usually put the alleged victim in touch with Victim Witness Assistance Program representatives.

When do police have reasonable grounds to charge an individual?

Each individual case differs but the police must have reasonable grounds to believe that an offence was committed.  This is usually based on the statements made by the alleged victim, the accused, and other potential witnesses as well as observed injuries, statements made during the initial 911 call, and any other circumstantial evidence.

What can I do if my bail conditions stop me from seeing my children?

To change your bail conditions, you will need the consent of the Crown Attorney’s Office.  If they refuse to consent, then you will have to file a formal application with the Court.

To encourage an accused to plead guilty, the Crown Attorney’s Office may offer to vary the accused’s bail if he/she pleads guilty and enters in an Early Intervention Program which involves a 14-session counselling program relating to spousal abuse, and anger management.  Before deciding whether or not to participate in this option, you should speak to an experienced domestic assault lawyer.  Call (416)-363-3612 for a free consultation to learn more about this option.

Will charges be dropped if my accuser does not attend court?

No. The Crown Attorney can subpoena the alleged victim and any other potential witnesses and force them to testify. The formal, videotaped statements can also be used if their stories change in court.

Learn more from a domestic assault lawyer in Toronto

You can get more information on our domestic assault page by visit http://ericksonlaw.ca/assault-and-domestic-violence-charges/. Alternately, you can call (416)-363-3612 to learn more from a qualified domestic assault lawyer in Toronto.