Assault is the use of force or threat of force against another person. In domestic assault, the parties are in a romantic or familial relationship. Although domestic assault is most common in relationships such as boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife, domestic assault can also include assaults against parents, children and other family members.
Many domestic assault charges begin because a victim, friend, or neighbor calls 9-1-1 in response to loud yelling or arguing. While often there is nothing more than a serious argument going on, the police can and will arrest a person for domestic assault based solely on the word of the victim, even if there is no other evidence such as injuries or eyewitness accounts. Because of the severity of some domestic abuse situations and the risks associated with allowing an abuser to go back home, an arrestee typically spends at least one night in jail awaiting a bail hearing.
Depending on the circumstances such as whether the person has a history of domestic assault, the judge can keep the perpetrator in jail and therefore away from the victim until the matter is resolved by the court. For people charged with domestic assault who are released on bail, the conditions of release are often severe and always strictly enforced. Even if it causes a great disruption in your life, you can be prohibited from going to your home or contacting any members of your immediate family. The no contact order that bans you from your home or family will continue until the court orders otherwise, usually at the conclusion of your case. There are ways to alter or remove your bail conditions before the end of a case, but it is best to seek the advice of an lawyer to determine the best methods for your particular case.
After many years of underestimating the risk of domestic assaults to the parties and to the public at large, the Crown now takes these assaults very seriously. It is not up to the victim to decide whether to press charges. The concern over allowing the victim to drop the charges is that some victims will do so out of fear of their abuser. While this may not be the case in your situation, the Crown takes no chances and prosecutes all domestic assault charges where there is enough evidence to make a conviction possible.
There are many different tactics available to resolve or defend against domestic assault charges. The Crown may offer a deal instead of prosecution. These deals can include parole, an indefinite continuation of the no-contact order, or a requirement that you attend anger management courses. Additionally, if you plead guilty, you will have a criminal record. It is important to discuss your particular situation with an lawyer prior to accepting a deal or moving forward with your case.
If you or a family member has been charged with Domestic Assault, Ted Yoannou and his expert team of Toronto Criminal Lawyers can help. For a free consultation, simply fill out out the contact form to the right of this page, or contact our office at (416) 650‑1011.