Frequently Asked Questions
Who can be Charged with Domestic Assault?
Defence to Domestic Assault Charges in Brampton?
-Defence of Person
-Defence of Property
Counselling and Domestic Violence Classes
What are the Penalties for a Domestic Assault Conviction in Brampton?
Assaulting a Peace Officer
Sexual Assault Law in Canada
Consequences of a Criminal Record
Keeping Charges Private
Travel & US Waivers
Vulnerable Sector Screening
Elements of a Crime
Who can be Charged with Domestic Assault?
Anyone and everyone who is in an intimate relationship may be charged with domestic assault if they assault their partner. Domestic assault is one of the most common charges laid in Peel region and surrounding areas. Our Firm has dealt with a wide array of individuals from blue collar workers, to students, to highly educated professionals. An individual does not have to be married to their partner to be charged with a domestic assault. The relationship need only been categorized as “intimate” which includes everything from married couples to those who are casually dating, to those who have dated in the past. Same-sex couples are also included in this list.
Defences to Domestic Assault Charges in Brampton
The defences available for a domestic assault charge are the same defences available for a simple assault charge. The best defence to a domestic assault charge will depend largely on the facts of the case. In the majority of cases, defendants will come to an agreement with the Crown before the case ever reaches trial. In situations where the allegations against the accused lack veracity or where there is no reasonable prospect of conviction, the Crown may agree to withdrawal the charges against the accused. Peel Region is often known as “no deal Peel” because Crowns are reluctant to make plea bargains favourable to defendants. This is especially true when dealing with domestic assault charges in Peel Region.
Where the allegations are legitimate, however, a more comprehensive defence will be necessary. There are four common defences available for those who have been charged with a domestic abuse offence including;
- Defence of person
- Defence of property
- Reflex action
An individual who has been charged with domestic violence may argue that their partner consented to the alleged assault. This defence is rarely used and will require the alleged victim to testify that they consented to the physical contact.
Defence of Person
As with any assault charge, the defendant may also argue defence of self. Where the complainant was using physical force against the defendant, the defendant is legally entitled to use force to defend themselves. For this defence to be successful, the defendant must convince the Court that they used only the force reasonably necessary to stop their partners attack on them.
Defence of Property
A defendant may also argue defence of property. This defence can be used when the defendant was in “peaceful possession” of property and is being threatened by their intimate partner. If the complainant were trespassing on the defendant’s property or attempting to damage the defendant’s property, the defendant is legally permitted to use force to remove the complainant.
The final defence available to an individual charged with domestic assault is reflexive action. In rare circumstances, a defendant may be able to argue that their assault on their intimate partner was not an assault because it lacked intent. For the Crown to have a defendant convicted, they must prove not only that the accused committed the physical assault, but also that the defendant intended to assault the complainant. Where the actions of the defendant were reflexive, and thus without any intent, they will not be considered a criminal assault.
Counselling and Domestic Violence Classes
In situations where none of the above defences are deemed viable based on the facts of the case, the defendant may be required to enroll in domestic violence courses either to lessen their sentence or as part of their sentence upon conviction. One common program offered to those charged with domestic assault in Peel Region is the Partner Assault Response (PAR) Program. The PAR Program is a psycho-educational program which combines counselling and education for those who have been accused or convicted of domestic violence.
What are the Penalties for Being Convicted of Domestic Assault in Brampton?
An individual who is charged with a domestic violence offence will face the same penalties as an individual charged with assault, as there is no separate offence for assaults occurring in domestic violence situations. That being said, incidents of domestic assault are often prosecuted more vigorously than other assault offences and those convicted are often sentenced more harshly.
The sentence imposed on an individual will depend on a number of factors including the facts of the case, the history between the complainant and the defendant, the defendant’s criminal history, the defendant’s character and background, the method by which the Crown proceeds with the case and any other relevant aggravating or mitigating factor. In less serious cases, the Crown will proceed summarily. In more serious cases, the Crown will proceed by indictment. The method by which the Crown proceeds will significantly impact the sentence imposed upon the defendant if they are convicted.
In cases where the Crown proceeds by indictment on a simple domestic assault charge, the maximum penalty that may be imposed upon the defendant is five years’ imprisonment. Since this is the same maximum penalty imposed on an individual convicted of assault outside of a domestic situation, the judge will generally view the fact that the assault occurred in a domestic setting as an aggravating factor which will justify imposing a harsher sentence. If the Crown proceeds summarily, the maximum penalty that may be imposed upon the defendant is six months’ imprisonment and/or a $5,000 fine.
In situations where injuries resulted to the victim as a result of the defendant’s assault or where a weapon was used, the penalties will be increased. An individual charged with assault causing bodily harm or assault with a weapon will be liable to a maximum of ten years’ imprisonment if the Crown proceeds by indictment. A defendant will be liable to a maximum two years less a day imprisonment and/or a $5,000 fine if the Crown proceeds summarily. An individual who is convicted of aggravated assault will be liable to a maximum of fourteen years’ imprisonment.
Can I Contact my Spouse or Partner?
If you have been charged with assaulting your intimate partner, you have almost certainly been ordered by the Court not to have any contact with that person. A no contact order will be put in place in almost all cases of assault, even where the couple is legally married. It is a criminal offence for either party in the relationship to breach the no contact order. If the accused breaches the order, they may have their bail revoked and could face additional charges.
Can I Change my Bail to Contact my Spouse?
In certain circumstances the Court will agree to remove a no contact order to allow the accused and the complainant to have contact. To do this, an application must be put before the Court, and the complainant must provide consent to have the no contact order lifted. Contacting the complainant before the no contact order has been lifted can lead to the accused’s bail being revoked and additional charges being laid.
Can my Partner Drop the Charges?
No. In Canada a complainant cannot ask to have charges withdrawn once they have been laid. Generally, once the police are called and an incident of assault is reported, the accused person will be arrested and charged. Once the accused is arrested the complainant has no say in how the case will proceed and cannot request the charges be dropped.
What is Domestic Assault in Brampton?
In Canada, there is no separate offence in the Criminal Code for domestic assault. Rather, when an individual is charged with an assault that occurred in an intimate relationship, they will be charged with assault under section 266 of the Criminal Code. The fact that the assault occurred in a domestic relationship will be an aggravating factor in the case which can lead to harsher penalties at sentencing.
Can Domestic Assault Charges be Dropped?
Whether or not the Crown will agree to drop a domestic assault charge will depend on a number of factors. An important consideration is whether the Crown believes there is a reasonable prospect of conviction based on the evidence in their possession. Other factors that will determine whether or not an assault charge may be dropped include; the severity of the offence, the severity of any injuries caused to the complainant, the background of the accused, the accused’s criminal history and any other factors the Court deems relevant.
How to get off Domestic Assault Charge
The best way to defend a domestic assault charge will depend largely on the facts of the case and the background of the accused. To prove a domestic assault charge the Crown will be required to present evidence to the Court including a victim statement, and any statements made by the accused. Sometimes, this evidence can be challenged which can result in the Crown being unable to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Can I see my Kids?
When an individual is charged with domestic assault, they will almost always be ordered not to have contact with the complainant. Where the complainant is the spouse of the accused and the couple live in the same house with children, the accused will almost always be required to move out of the family home until the case has concluded. In these situations, the accused will likely require the assistance of counsel to have the conditions altered.