How does it affect me if I am charged with a domestic assault?
Orangeville’s Richard A. Allman frequently handles domestic assault cases. He sees firsthand how common these types of charges are, and how seriously domestic assault charges are taken by the police, prosecutors, and courts. In Ontario, there is a zero-tolerance policy against domestic assault, which means that if you are facing an accusation of domestic assault, you will most likely be charged and prosecuted. Allegations of domestic assault can have a devastating effect on your relationships, your family, and your employment options, and a domestic assault conviction can result in very serious penalties, which are explained in this post. If you want more information or need advice, contact Richard Allman Law Office to schedule a consultation at our offices in Brampton or Orangeville.
Domestic assault: What is it, and how is it different from other types of assault?
Domestic assault is an assault that occurs within the context of a “domestic relationship” – in other words, violence that takes place within an intimate relationship or in a family context, such as between husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend, common-law spouses, same-sex partners, children, parents, and other relatives. Because of section 718.2 of the Criminal Code of Canada, violence in a domestic context is an aggravating factor when imposing a sentence – that means that the penalty will be more severe than for an assault that did not take place in a domestic context. For that reason alone, if you have been charged, you should get legal advice from a lawyer with experience in defending against charges of domestic assault. Orangeville and Brampton residents call on the advice and expertise of Richard Allman Law Office in defending against such allegations.
Domestic assault: How will it affect me if I am charged or convicted?
Here are some of the potential consequences if you are charged or convicted of domestic assault:
1. The court may grant a restraining order against you, on a temporary or final basis. A restraining order or no-contact order can have a tremendously negative effect on your life, as can bail conditions. Judges have the discretion to order any restrictions it sees as appropriate, including that you not contact the victim or other family
members and not come within a certain distance of any place such as your own home or your children’s school. If you breach the order you may then be charged with another criminal offence.
2. Your relationship with your children may be damaged. Your relationship with your children can be very seriously impacted if the children were in any way exposed to the violence. If the domestic assault is alleged to have happened in front of your children, even if the violence was not directed toward the children, child protection workers from the Children’s Aid Society will be involved. Criminal court orders can prevent you from having contact with your children or may severely restrict access time with your children.
3. If you are convicted, you may be sentenced to jail time and/or fines. If domestic assault is prosecuted by indictment, the maximum penalty is 5 years incarceration. If prosecuted by summary conviction, the maximum jail time is two years less a day and/or a $5,000 fine. The court can also impose lesser sentences such as probation with counselling or a fine without jail time for less serious domestic assault allegations. In some cases, an experienced criminal defence lawyer can make arrangements to have your domestic assault charge diverted by having you attend for counselling (privately, or through a court-approved program such as the Partner Assault Response or “PAR” program).
4. If you are convicted, you may end up with a criminal record. A criminal record can hinder your employment options, bar you from volunteering, prevent you from owning a gun, and restrict you from travelling abroad. A criminal record will show up on background checks for the rest of your life, unless you are eligible for a pardon. It is possible to be found guilty of a domestic assault and receive no criminal record – contact us today to discuss your legal options.
5. A domestic assault charge can hurt your case for custody and access in a divorce proceeding. Domestic assault charges can have a very negative impact on custody decisions and what access children have to their parents. In Ontario family law proceedings, you are required to disclose if you have been found guilty of a criminal offence or are currently charged with a criminal offence. Allegations and unproven accusations of violence and abuse in a domestic context may also be detailed in family court documents. When the court is assessing a person’s ability to act as a parent, Ontario family law requires the court to consider whether the person has at any time committed violence or abuse against a spouse or parent, another member of the same household or a child, and what that violence or abuse says about a person’s ability to parent.
Why you should speak to a lawyer ASAP if charged with domestic assault
The range of penalties discussed above and potential for damage to your relationships and reputation cannot be understated. Allegations of domestic assault are taken very seriously by the police, prosecutors, and the courts. There are “pro-charging” and “pro-prosecution” policies in effect throughout the province. This means it is mandatory for police to investigate every report of domestic abuse, and policy dictates that police must lay charges in almost all situations where there are reasonable grounds to believe an assault has occurred in a domestic context, regardless of whether there is independent proof of a crime. Similarly, policy dictates that Crown prosecutors are to prosecute domestic violence cases to the full extent of the law, regardless of whether the complainant wants to see the charges prosecuted in court. If you have been accused of domestic assault, get legal advice from an experienced criminal defence lawyer right away.
Talk to an experienced Orangeville domestic assault lawyer
If you have been charged with domestic assault, Orangeville criminal lawyer Richard Allman is here to help you. Richard provides knowledgeable, practical legal advice to clients throughout the region. Have our highly capable, trusted defence lawyer review your case, explain your legal options, and provide you with sound advice. The penalties for a domestic assault conviction are just too severe and can have wide-ranging implications on many aspects of your life. Your freedom, family, privacy, reputation and ability to work and travel may all be at stake. Contact Richard Allman Law Office to schedule a consultation today by calling 519-940-0415.