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What Constitutes a Domestic Assault or Spousal Abuse?
“Domestic” charges can arise from any criminal offence which occurs within a domestic context. This includes assault, theft, uttering threats, mischief to property. There is no specific charge of “domestic violence” or “domestic assault” under the Criminal Code of Canada. Instead, the prosecutor will consider the context of the charges as being of a “domestic nature.” This context is then used as an aggravating factor upon sentencing in compliance with section 718.2 of the Criminal Code of Canada.
In sentencing for cases involving domestic assault, the Crown prosecutor argues that the parties involved are in positions of trust toward each other. Therefore it is considered an aggravating circumstance when one of those parties abuses that trust. The result is often stricter bail conditions (reporting conditions, weapons prohibitions and abstinence from drugs and alcohol) and/ or lengthier sentences if you are found guilty.
Bail Conditions for Domestic Violence
Once you have been charged with an offence involving domestic violence, the bail conditions are likely to be stringent. You may not be able to return home, even if you own it or your name is on the lease. Furthermore, you will likely not be allowed to contact the alleged victim, child, or other family member.
How We Help: Defending your Domestic Violence Case
Make certain to record you version of events as quickly as possible. Also, you should save any electronic communication (Emails, texts or Voicemails) that corroborate your case. Do not contact the alleged victim if you have a no contact order and say nothing to the police or Crown prosecutor’s office. As the accused, it may be beneficial to your case to enroll in counselling of some form. If alcohol or drugs were involved in the offence, enroll in counselling for Substance Abuse.
These offences require prompt action on our part. It is important that you retain counsel immediately, so that we may determine if the prosecution has classified your case to be domestic in nature. Our experience gives us the knowledge and skill required to meet these additional challenges as part of your defence. Call our Ouellette Hoare Claxton now for a free no-obligation consultation.
How Will my Domestic Assault Charge Influence Child Custody?
If you are found guilty, the sentence you receive will depend on the severity of the alleged assault and our ability to persuade the Court to be lenient. If the alleged victim of the domestic abuse is a spouse, you may also receive a no contact order for the children of the relationship. Andre, Peter and Mike can help you to understand all of your bail and/or probation conditions.
Often these orders stipulate that you have no contact with your family & stay 100 meters away from your alleged victims. In cases such as these, Ouellette Hoare Claxton can attempt to argue that your bail conditions be referred to the family law court, which may grant more lenient conditions than the criminal court. We can also aid you in making a court application for access to the residence, should exigencies warrant (i.e. you need to retrieve work tools)
We do recommend that if you are accused of domestic violence, that you enroll in counselling as soon as possible. Please see some of the courses available under our client resources section. Early enrollment in a course will likely address some of the concerns the Crown and child welfare workers may have with permitting contact.