As a domestic assault lawyer, I know that a criminal charge can be devastating.
Where you or a family member has been arrested for a domestic assault, an experienced defence lawyer is highly recommended.
Domestic assault charges has serious ramifications including a criminal record that can affect your employment and ability to travel.
Speak to a domestic assault lawyer, call me today at 437-984-2880.
From the authorities perspective, the first documentation in the timeline of a domestic offence is initiated by the ‘911’ phone call. The 911 call is important for legal and policy reasons.
Once call for a domestic assault is made, the police must further investigate to ensure public safety. For legal reasons, the 911 call provides the police with the requisite cause to begin their investigation for an assault.
Typically, the 911/Domestic Assault call is followed by a visit by two police officers. The officers will question the couple or persons involved separately. Where the police have reasonable & probable grounds to believe a domestic assault has taken place, the police MUST arrest that person and take them into custody.
Where the police arrest for domestic assault, the accused is typically put into handcuffs and taken to the police station.
For public policy reasons, the accused is not released after arrest. This is to protect the complainant from immediate retribution. Rather, the accused will be held in custody in jail until a bail hearing is held.
The victim or complainant cannot stop the police from making an arrest or ask that the charges be dropped.
With domestic assault charges, the police lay the charges not the victim or complainant.
The accused will be released only where/when a proper plan for bail has been put in place.
A defence lawyer is recommend to ensure the accused is release and the conditions of the bail are reasonable.
Where the accused does not have a lawyer representing them they will be held for until a surety is found and the bail hearing is arranged.
Eventually the accused is either released with bail conditions, or pleads guilty to the offence.
Where the accused is released, there are two typical standard conditions put in place for domestic assault cases:
- no contact between the accused and the complainant (directly or indirectly)
- not attend condition, that the accused not attend the reside/home of the complainant
Sometimes condition 2) has an added exception of: except in the company of a uniformed police officer to pick-up personal belongings.
Where an accused is arrest for domestic assault, the accused will be kept in custody until a bail hearing can be held.
The bail conditions in a domestic assault are important, and by-far the most breach-friendly clauses in the criminal justice system today.
Difficulties regarding bail conditions should be discussed with a lawyer. A diligent lawyer will aim to:
- understand the concerns of the client,
- educate the client about what options are available,
- outline the timelines, costs, and procedures involved, and recommend a course of action.
Spouses, boyfriends and girlfriends, and family members who are charged with domestic assault find it very difficult to stay away from their loved ones once charged. Should the bail conditions be broken a further charge of Failing to Comply will be added.
KGB statements (video statements by the complainant) are very common, along with signed statements and police notes.
The police will also look into any past phone-calls to the police, and whether they are related to domestic assault allegations. Further, they will look to get statements from any potential witnesses of the event.
For the complainant, it is very important to understand that once the accused has been arrested, the charges are now being brought forward by the Crown Attorney, and therefore they do not hold the power/authority to withdraw the charges.
In many cases, the complainant (usually the wife) changes her mind, and feels that the accused (usually the husband) does not deserve to be charged or spend time in jail.
Hence, the wife will ask that the charges be withdrawn, and that she either lied/or will not testify against her husband, however, she no longer is the party bringing forward the action, as that responsibility is now the Crown Attorney’s job and they will bring forward the charges with or without the consent of the complainant.
The wife may have called the police under the mistaken belief that they would come to the house Faced with these circumstances, a complainant (the wife) wishing to have the charges withdrawn should consult her own lawyer regarding an appropriate course of action.
When the accused gets out of jail, he typically wants out of the situation as fast as possible.
This is due to a number of factors including the desire to see his kids/wife/girlfriend or go home and have things return to normal. While this is possible, the consequences of ‘making things go away as fast as possible’ is that the accused may have to plead guilty which means a criminal record.
The Crown Attorney will use the DAP (Domestic Assault Program) as a carrot to entice the accused to admit responsibility, plead guilty and thus go home and continue relations with the complainant.
Usually the only “quick way out” of this type of situation for an accused is through a guilty plea. Otherwise, “domestic charges” can often take months to wind their way through the court system.
This often means that families will be apart for long periods of time. Where there is a desire to reconcile, legal representation should be sought at the earliest possible stage to avoid unnecessary delay and hardship.
A good lawyer will be able to take appropriate action to ensure that the case moves ahead as quickly as possible.
Waiting for a domestic assault trial can be extremely lengthy. It can take anywhere from 6months to 1year to get a domestic matter heard at trial. This of course means that bail conditions will remain intact up and until trial.
At trial, the complainant will usually be called as a witness by the prosecution to prove the case against the accused. In some situations the witness may testify to a different set of circumstances than that complained of to the police. Alternatively, the witness may testify that she has forgotten what happened.
In either situation this will likely result in the Crown making an application to the court to have the witness declared a hostile witness or to have other previously recorded evidence admitted against the husband.
At the conclusion of a trial there will usually either be a finding of “guilty” or “not guilty”. A finding of “not guilty” ends the matter and the accused person is free to resume his life as it was before the charge. A finding of “guilty” is followed by the sentencing process. Sentencing may or may not result in jail time.
It will, however, usually result in some period of probation. Probation orders typically include conditions that require the accused to attend some form of counselling and not to have any contact with the complainant except with her written and revocable permission.
Facing a “domestic charge” can be an overwhelming experience. An understanding of your situation is crucial dealing with the problem in an effective manner.