Assault, and particularly domestic assault, is a commonly prosecuted offence in Mississauga and Oakville, with cases rising during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Once called to a domestic assault situation, the police decide whether to lay charges or not and will make this decision regardless of what the complainant wants. Where assault charges are laid against the complainant’s wishes, individuals can be left feeling ashamed and frustrated.

Counsel at Donich Law has defended many individuals, ranging from average citizens to Hollywood actors, charged with assault and domestic assault stemming from a wide variety of situations, and is often able to resolve these cases without the accused receiving a criminal record.

In R. v. Y.W. [2022], the Firm represented a client charged with assault with a weapon, assault and uttering death threats after allegedly threatening his intimate partner with a kitchen knife and hitting her during an argument. The Firm secured a withdrawal of all three charges after several months of Crown negotiations by presenting evidence to show the accused had taken steps to address the issues that led to his arrest.

In 2022, Donich Law successfully defended an individual charged with assault and assault with a weapon in R. v. S.Y. [2022]. The accused was arrested after getting into an altercation with her ex-partner and allegedly hitting him while holding a phone. The incident was reported to law enforcement by an unrelated third-party who witnessed the incident. After providing context to the alleged incident to the Crown, the Firm was able to secure a withdrawal of all charges.

In R. v. J.D. [2021], Donich Law successfully had charges of assault and assault with a weapon withdrawn after the accused was charged for pushing his girlfriend while holding a knife.

In R. v. A.M. [2021], Donich Law defended an individual charged with the assault, assault causing bodily harm, and choking of his same-sex domestic partner, resolving the matter by way of a peace bond using affidavit evidence after nine months of negotiations.

In R. v. A.R. [2021], Donich Law represented an accused charged with assault on his domestic partner while intoxicated. Working with the complainant’s legal counsel, counsel presented a united defence resulting in the Crown requesting the withdrawal of the charges.

In R. v. B.W. [2021], Donich Law defended a client charged with assault, assault with a weapon, uttering death threats, and forcible confinement. By exposing inconsistencies in the complainant’s story, the Firm helped the client secure a verdict of not guilty on all but one charge and a discharge on this final charge after trial.

In R. v. P.C. [2020], the firm secured the withdrawal of an assault charge laid on a permanent resident who pulled a kitchen knife on his spouse, protecting his accountant licence and immigration status.

In R. v. S.G. [2019], the son of a CFO was accused of fracturing a complainant’s jaw. Donich Law prevented the accused from receiving a criminal record by finding exculpatory video surveillance evidence.

In R. v. W.V. [2017], Donich Law secured the withdrawal of an assault with a weapon charge against a woman who caused lacerations on her boyfriend’s head by throwing a hot pizza at him.

If you have been charged with assault or domestic assault, counsel at Donich Law can help you navigate the criminal justice system and ensure that your rights are respected throughout the process. The Firm will assess your situation to come up with a strong defence strategy to resolve your charges favourably.

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

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Legal Information

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Different Assault Offences?
What is the Difference Between Assault and Domestic Assault?
What are the Consequences of a Domestic Assault Charge?
How do I Defend an Assault Charge?

Additional Resources

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 are the Different Assault Offences?

There are several types of assault: simple assault, assault causing bodily injury, assault with a weapon, and aggravated assault. Where these forms of assault are sexual in nature, they will be labelled as sexual assaults. Sexual assaults can also be domestic assaults where they occur between people in intimate relationships.

Simple assault occurs where an accused hits or touches a victim without using a weapon or causing serious harm. This includes pushing, slapping, or uttering verbal threats.

Assault causing bodily injury occurs where the individual sustains any type of injury, whether they are serious or long-lasting injuries, or just cuts and scratches that caused significant and more than fleeting pain or distress. Assault with a weapon occurs where an individual uses an object to facilitate the assault. This object does not have to be a gun or a knife, but can be a TV remote, a frying pan, or even a pen.

Aggravated assault is the most serious form of assault and occurs where the victim is wounded, maimed, disfigured, or has their life jeopardized. To constitute an aggravated assault, the injuries received cannot be trifling or transient.

Choking is an offence closely related to assault that could still be considered a domestic assault where the complainant and accused are in an intimate relationship. A person will be charged with choking where they attempt to choke, suffocate, or strangle another person, or where they try to or successfully cause that person to take a stupefying or overpowering drug.

What is the Difference Between Assault and Domestic Assault?

An assault can occur between individuals who have a variety of relationships with each other, but where they share an intimate relationship, the assault will be classified as a domestic assault. Intimate relationships are family relationships, cohabitation relationships, co-parenting relationships, or romantic relationships. Individuals who are in romantic same-sex relationships, or who are romantically involved without being married will still have assaults between them labelled as domestic assaults. Co-workers, strangers, acquaintances, and friends who assault one another will not have this assault labelled as a domestic assault.

This label of domestic assault does not appear on a criminal record and domestic assault is not its own offence separate from assault. In other words, a domestic assault can be any form of assault. What the label of domestic assault does affect is how courts and Crowns handle the case. Domestic violence is seen as a serious social issue in Canada due to the importance we place on healthy family units. As such, domestic assault cases are handled more seriously by courts and prosecuted more zealously by Crown attorneys. In some jurisdictions, including Ontario, there are even specialized courts that will only hear domestic violence matters.

What are the Consequences of a Domestic Assault Charge?

The potential legal consequence for domestic assault will depend on the type of assault the accused is charged with. Each type of assault carries a different maximum penalty, meaning a different maximum time the accused could be sent to jail.

Other consequences may arise from receiving a domestic assault charge, such as the need to find a new place to live and custody issues. This is because the accused will be subject to bail conditions requiring them to live apart from and not contact the complainant. Where the complainant is the accused’s partner, relative, or child who lives with them, either the complainant or accused will have to make alternative living arrangements. Typically, the accused is required to leave the residence.

Individuals convicted of domestic assault could face mandatory registration as a sex offender for 10 years, 25 years, or for life if the assault was sexual in nature. An accused convicted of domestic violence could have a hard time securing and maintaining employment, as employers often do criminal background checks. Finally, individuals convicted of domestic violence could experience difficulties travelling to other countries.

How do I Defend an Assault Charge?

Donich Law uses several strategies to defend assault and domestic assault cases, depending on the circumstances of the case.

Often, domestic assault and assault allegations arise after a heated argument. This can lead to domestic assault charges being alleged where one person feels the argument has not gone their way. It can also lead to accused persons finding themselves in a volatile situation where they need to defend themselves.

Where the allegations are fabricated, the best defence strategy is often to find evidence that would prove why the complainant is fabricating the allegations or that attacks the complainant’s credibility.

Where the complainant initially assaulted the accused, the accused could argue that their assault against the complainant was in self-defence. To successfully argue self-defence, the accused would have to prove that force was being used against them or would immanently be used against them. The accused must also show that the force they applied was only intended to defend against the attack. Finally, the accused must show that a reasonable person in the same situation would have acted in the same way. If these three criteria can be met, the accused will have a strong defence to assault.

Where the accused is not contesting the fact that they initiated the assault, a final strategy is to have the charges reduced from aggravated assault or assault with a weapon to simple assault, which has a lower maximum penalty.

Upon assessing the circumstances of your case, Donich Law can help you develop a strong tailored defence.

Quick Facts

What is Assault?

A person commits assault when they intentionally apply force, directly or indirectly to another person or when they threaten to apply force to another person in a manner that gives this other person the impression that they will presently apply this force.

What is Domestic Assault?

Any assault-related offence committed by one’s romantic partner or relative will be considered domestic assault.

Does there need to be a Pattern of Abuse?

There does not need to be a pre-existing pattern of abuse between the accused and complainant for an assault to qualify as a domestic assault and be taken seriously by police and prosecutors. Multiple instances of abuse could result in multiple charges or a harsher sentence.

Will I go to Jail for Domestic Assault?

The maximum penalty available for a simple assault charge is five years in jail, so an accused convicted of domestic assault may have to go to jail. The exact sentence will depend on the facts of the case, the accused’s criminal history, and the existence of any other aggravating and mitigating factors.

What if my Partner Wants to Drop the Charges?

Victims who call the police do not decide whether a case is prosecuted or dropped. However, their desire to drop the charges will be one of many factors considered by the Crown when deciding how to proceed and what sentence to push for.

Will I Have to Stay Away From my Partner?

Those charged with domestic assault and released on bail will almost always be required to stop living and communicating with the complainant until the charges are resolved. Breaching these conditions could result in the accused receiving further criminal charges.

Will I Lose Custody of my Kids?

A domestic assault conviction can make it harder for an accused to receive or maintain their desired custody agreement. The criminal proceedings can be brought up in family court and be used to demonstrate why the accused should have no custody or reduced custody of their children.

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