FIRST OFFENDER? DEFEND DOMESTIC CHARGES IN GUELPH.  1-866-DEFENCE.

Domestic assault is one of the most common offences committed by individuals in Guelph. In many parts of Ontario, domestic assault has been declared a serious public safety issue. This has led to more charges being laid and more severe penalties for those who are convicted. In many cases, those who are charged with domestic assault are otherwise law-abiding citizens who made a bad decision. In other cases, those who are charged may have been wrongfully accused.

Donich Law has devoted a portion of its practice to defending those who have been charged with domestic assault. We have experience representing a wide variety of individuals from all backgrounds including those who have been wrongfully accused and first-time offenders. In many cases, an argument between spouses or family members can get out of control, causing law enforcement to be called. When law enforcement is called, they will often lay charges even where neither party wishes for charges to be laid. This can leave families torn apart for significant periods of time.

In 2019, the Firm represented an individual charged with assault causing bodily harm after allegedly causing a contusion on their spouse’s face in R. v. Z.C. [2019]. In that case, the Firm litigated the matter for over a year and resolved it without a criminal record.

In 2018, the Firm represented an individual charged with four counts of assault with a weapon and one count of assault in R. v. E.T. [2018]. In that case, the accused was alleged to have assaulted a young child. After negotiating with the Crown, the Firm was able to secure the withdrawal of all charges, resolving the matter without a criminal record for the client.

In 2017, the Firm represented an individual charged with assault with a weapon after throwing burnt food at her domestic partner, causing a contusion in R. v. W.V. [2017]. After negotiating with the Crown, the Firm was able to secure the withdrawal of the charge, resolving the matter without a criminal record for the accused individual.

In 2016, the Firm represented an actor charged with criminal harassment in R. v. A.C. [2016]. In that case, after the breakdown of the relationship, the accused sent hundreds of messages to his ex-spouse. The Firm was able to negotiate with the Crown to have the charges against the accused withdrawn.

In 2016, the Firm represented an individual charged with assault with a weapon in R. v. P.T. [2016], after the accused allegedly pulled a kitchen knife on his spouse. The Firm was able to negotiate with the Crown to secure the withdrawal of the charge.

Having a complete understanding of the Elements of the Criminal OffenceYour Rights and the Consequences associated with a Criminal Record is necessary before any legal decisions are made.

Breakfast Television: Role of Mental Health in Court Proceedings.

Global News National: Bruce McArthur will not serve consecutive sentences – here’s why.

CBC Radio: Interview with Mayor John Tory and Jordan Donich on CBC Radio.

CTV News National: Handgun ban supported by majority of Canadians: Nanos survey.

Global News: Should Canada ban Handguns? Debate stirs after Danforth shooting.

Global News: How difficult is it to get a legal handgun in Canada.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Domestic Assault?
What are Common ways Individuals are Charged with Domestic Assault in Guelph?
How to Beat a Domestic Assault Charge in Guelph?
-Defence of Property
-Defence of Person
-Reflex Action
-Consent
What are Common Penalties for Those Convicted of Domestic Assault in Guelph?

Additional Resources

Assault
Assaulting a Peace Officer
Sexual Assault Law in Canada
Consequences of a Criminal Record
Domestic Abuse
First Offenders
Immigration Consequences
Keeping Charges Private
Travel & US Waivers
Vulnerable Sector Screening
Elements of a Crime
Your Rights

What is Domestic Assault?

Domestic assault is an assault that occurs in a domestic relationship, such as between spouses. In Canada, there is no separate Criminal Code offence for domestic assault. Instead, those who are alleged to have assaulted their domestic partner will be charged with assault under section 266 of the Criminal Code. Crown’s across Ontario have specialized procedures in place to deal with domestic crimes and many jurisdictions even had a courtroom devoted to domestic offences. Crown’s generally prosecute domestic assaults more vigorously than simple assaults and advocate for more serious sanctions. The Court will view the fact that an assault occurred in a domestic relationship as an aggravating factor which will justify more severe penalties upon conviction.

What are Common Ways Individuals are Charged with Domestic Assault in Guelph?

Domestic assault charges are very common. The definition of assault contained in section 265(1) of the Criminal Code is quite broad, allowing many different actions to be considered assault. Domestic assault charges may be laid in one of two ways. In some cases, the police will be called to the scene of a disagreement, either by the parties to the disagreement, or by a third party, and an arrest will be made, and charges laid. In other cases, someone, usually the complainant, will attend the police station and make allegations of domestic assault. Where the allegations are legitimate, the police will have an arrest warrant issued and lay charges against the accused.

Upon arrival at a call for a domestic disturbance, the police will analyse the situation to determine if a crime has occurred. If they have reason to believe that an assault has taken place, they will lay charges against one or both members of the couple. This is true in some cases even where neither spouse wishes for charges to be laid.

Individuals in domestic relationships may be charged with assault for physically making unwanted contact with their spouse, or for threatening to make unwanted contact with their spouse. For a threat to be assault, the complainant must have had a genuine belief that the accused could carry out their threat at the present time the threat is made.

Additionally, if an individual uses a weapon in committing the assault, they will be charged with assault with a weapon. If an individual causes bodily harm to their spouse as a result of an assault, they will be charged with assault causing bodily harm. Finally, if an individual maims, wounds, disfigures or endangers the life of their spouse in committing an assault, they will be charged with aggravated assault.

How to Beat a Domestic Assault Charge in Guelph?

The best defence to any domestic assault charge will depend largely on the facts of the case, the allegations being made and the evidence in the Crown’s possession. In cases where it has been proven that the accused committed an assault on the complainant, defences commonly used to justify the assault include; defence of property, defence of person, reflex action and consent.

Defence of Property

An individual in Canada is legally permitted to use the amount of force reasonably necessary to expel a trespasser from property they are in peaceful possession of. An individual is in peaceful possession of property when they are the owner of, or have a legal property interest in a piece of property. To use this defence, the accused must show that they used only the amount of force reasonably necessary in the circumstances. If injuries resulted to the complainant there is less likelihood that the defence will be accepted by the Court.

Defence of Person

An individual may use the amount of force reasonably necessary to repel an attack being committed on them. This defence may be used in domestic assault cases where the accused was defending themselves from an attack by their domestic partner. An individual may also use this defence where they were defending a third party from an attack by the complainant. For example, if the complainant was attacking the accused’s child and the accused used physical force to stop the attack, they will be able to use this defence as long as they did not use excessive force. The Court will determine, on a case-by-case basis whether or not the force used by the accused was reasonable in the circumstances.

Reflex Action

An individual cannot be found guilty of assault where they did not intend to assault the complainant. To gain a conviction for assault the Crown must prove that the accused intentionally made unwanted physical contact with the complainant or threatened to make unwanted physical contact with the complainant. If the accused’s actions were a reflex action, the accused lacks the necessary intent to be guilty of the offence.

Consent

An individual cannot be found guilty of an assault if the complainant consented to the assault. To gain an assault conviction the Crown must prove that the accused made contact with the complainant without their consent. If the complainant did consent, the accused is not guilty of any offence. To successfully utilize this defence, the accused will likely need the complainant to provide the Crown with a statement confirming that there was consent to the contact. It should be noted that an individual cannot consent to bodily harm. As a result, if an accused is charged with assault causing bodily harm, this defence will not be successful.

What are Common Penalties for Those Convicted of Domestic Assault in Guelph?

Domestic assault is seen as a very serious offence in Canada. Law enforcement and Crown counsel across the country devote significant resources to investigating and prosecuting those charged with domestic assault offences. Those convicted of assault occurring in a domestic relationship are regularly sentenced to periods of incarceration for their crimes.

Assault is a hybrid offence which allows the Crown to make an election at the outset of the case which will, in part, determine the maximum penalties that the Court may impose should the accused be convicted.

In cases where a serious assault has occurred, the Crown will proceed by indictment and the accused will face a maximum of five years in prison. In cases where there are more minor allegations, the Crown will elect summarily and the accused will face a maximum of two years less a day in prison, up to a $5,000 fine or both.

Quick Facts

What is the Difference Between Assault and Domestic Assault?

In Canada there is no separate offence for domestic assault in the Criminal Code. Domestic assault is a specific type of assault, so those who assault their partner will be charged with simple assault under section 266 of the Criminal Code. The domestic nature of the assault will be considered an aggravating factor in the case.

What if the Complainant does not Cooperate with the Investigation?

In cases where the complainant is unwilling to cooperate with the investigation or testify against the accused, it may be difficult for the Crown to gain a conviction. However, if the Crown is able to introduce third party witnesses or other evidence against the accused, it is sometimes possible to gain a conviction without the cooperation of the complainant.

Can my Spouse Drop the Charges?

No. Once the police have laid charges against an accused, only Crown counsel can agree to drop them. Generally, the Crown will not agree to drop domestic assault charges even where the complainant wishes for them to be dropped.

Will I go to Jail for Domestic Assault?

In some cases, yes. Domestic assault is considered a very serious criminal offence in Guelph and all over Ontario. In many areas of the province domestic assault has been declared a serious public safety issue. As a result, Crown’s regularly advocate for periods of incarceration for those who are convicted of assaulting their domestic partner.

What are Common Sentences for First Time Offenders?

Common sentences for those convicted of domestic assault as first time offenders include periods of probation, fines and community service. If, however, the accused committed a serious assault or caused injuries to the complainant, it is possible that they will be sentenced to jail upon conviction.

What if my Spouse did not Call the Police?

Generally, it is not relevant who contacted police. Even if neither member of the domestic couple contacted police, if the police arrive on scene and have reasonable suspicion that a crime has occurred, they will lay charges. It is very common for neighbors to contact police during domestic assault situations and for charges to be laid as a result.

Can I Change my Bail Conditions to Remove a No Contact Order?

In some cases, yes. However, the complainant will almost always be required to provide written consent before such a condition will be altered. In other cases, even with the written consent of the complainant the Crown will not agree to alter the bail conditions for the safety of the complainant.

416-DEFENCE | 416-333-3623