Domestic violence is a serious crime with far-reaching consequences for both victims and perpetrators. In Canada, the law strongly stands against domestic violence, aiming to protect victims and promote safe home environments.
This type of violence encompasses a range of behaviours and actions occurring within intimate relationships. It includes physical assault, sexual assault, emotional abuse, harassment, threats and other controlling or coercive behaviour.
Domestic violence charges can be challenging and stressful. An experienced criminal lawyer can provide the guidance necessary to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. We’ll explore what happens when someone is charged with domestic assault, including the legal process, potential penalties and the impact on their life.
Arrest and Bail Hearing
Domestic violence in Canada is taken very seriously, and law enforcement officials prioritize the well-being of potential victims. As such, people accused of domestic violence are usually arrested, after which they have a bail hearing to determine if they should be released or kept in custody pending trial.
During the hearing, your criminal lawyer advocates on your behalf to persuade the court that you are not a flight risk or danger to the community. The court considers factors like your criminal history, community ties and the severity of the alleged offence. You must agree to certain conditions or surrender your firearms during this period.
Although this can be an emotionally charged experience, it is crucial to remain calm and cooperate with the authorities. Remember, you have the right to a criminal lawyer – essential for safeguarding your interests.
Your lawyer will develop a robust defence strategy based on the circumstances of your case. The court will examine the evidence, including testimonies from the alleged victim, witnesses and available documentation, such as medical reports or photographs.
If the court finds you “guilty,” you will be convicted of domestic assault. If you are found “not guilty,” the charges will be dropped, and you’ll be acquitted.
The penalties for domestic assault vary depending on the severity of the offence, the presence of aggravating factors and your criminal history. Common penalties for domestic assault can include:
- Probation: The court may impose a probation period, requiring you to adhere to specific conditions, such as attending counselling or anger management programs
- Restraining orders: A restraining order may be issued, preventing you from contacting or going near the victim
- Fines: You may be required to pay a penalty based on the seriousness of the offence
- Custodial sentences: In more serious cases, the court may impose a prison sentence, ranging from months to years, depending on the circumstances and your criminal history.
Personal and Professional Life
A domestic assault charge can also significantly affect your personal and professional life. It may:
- strain your spousal relationship, potentially leading to separation or divorce. Victims may require legal protection and support, such as counselling or therapy
- negatively impact your employment or pose difficulties finding new job opportunities
- impact access to your children. When making these decisions, the court considers children’s safety and well-being and may alter custodial rights
- affect your immigration status if you are not a Canadian citizen. A domestic assault conviction can result in deportation or ineligibility for permanent residency.
Rehabilitation and Support
There are programs and resources available for rehabilitation, such as:
- anger management programs, designed to help you manage anger effectively, promoting healthier ways of resolving conflicts
- counselling and therapy services to address underlying issues, like substance abuse or past trauma that may contribute to your violent behaviour
- support groups offering guidance, accountability and community.
Your Criminal Lawyer in Vancouver
Domestic violence charges are serious and accompany potentially life-altering consequences. Tom Doust has over 20 years of experience in criminal law. He approaches every case with open communication, respect and unwavering determination. Reach out to the office of Tom Doust to discuss the potential defences for your case.