Domestic violence is any sort of violence that takes place within a family or romantic relationship. This umbrella term can be used to include offenses such as assault, threats of death or harm, harassment, sexual assault, breach of court orders (such as a restraining order), or murder.
Are domestic violence charges serious?
Yes. Taking on domestic violence cases is one of the biggest priorities for police and lawyers. It is known as a zero-tolerance crime in Canada. Under the Criminal Code of Canada, domestic violence is an aggravating factor for sentencing, which means that anyone found guilty of a criminal offence involving domestic violence will be subject to harsher punishment.
Can I be charged for even a minor domestic altercation?
Let’s say you have a dispute with your spouse, and a neighbour overhears it and calls the police. Even if your spouse isn’t injured and he/she was not the one to call the police, you can be charged with domestic violence if someone else phones the police. When a domestic violence call is made to the police, there will almost always be an arrest, even if the incident is minor.
Will the police automatically believe the person claiming violence?
In most cases, yes. Police are under instruction to lay charges in domestic violence cases first, and then ask questions later. You’ll need a domestic violence lawyer to help you with your case.
Will my spouse be held in jail after I make a domestic violence call?
In most domestic assault cases, the person being charged with usually be held in jail until the bail hearing and will be released on bail only under strict conditions. These rules and procedures are in place for the protection of the alleged victim.
Will my spouse be allowed to contact our children after he/she is charged?
In the majority of cases, a person charged with domestic violence will not be allowed to return home or have contact with his/her spouse or children for a specified period of time.
Can my spouse drop the domestic charges against me?
No. Once a person has called the police on domestic violence allegations, he or she loses control over the process. If a spouse tries to get the charges dropped by saying that she lied or exaggerated to the police, she can be charged with public mischief. These rules are in place to protect victims of domestic violence who may be threatened/intimidated into dropping the charges.
If you have been charged with domestic violence, you’ll need a good defense lawyer with experience in handling domestic violence cases to help you get the best chance of a positive outcome.