Domestic Assault

Frequently Asked Questions: Domestic Assault

Is Domestic Assault a serious charge?
What is a Peace Bond?
When should you enter a Peace Bond?
When can you communicate with your spouse again? When can you see your children? When can you come home?
Can your spouse/complainant withdraw the charges?
Can you go to jail for a charge of Domestic Assault?

Is Domestic Assault a serious charge?

Domestic Assault is a very difficult charge, not only because of the difficulties on the accused but also because it is taken very seriously in Toronto and special policies apply to it. This is why the smallest fight may have enormous consequences. It leads to strict conditions such as not being able to see or communicate with your spouse and/or children, as well as having to leave your home. Your whole life may change from a phone call made to the police during a fight with your spouse. Roxana Soica’s experience with domestic assault is that the lawyer must act right away to ensure that your case does not remain stagnant for a long time. Domestic assault is very different from other charges: the emotional component and family situation require that your lawyer have a different skill set.

Domestic Assault is an extremely sensitive issue and one of Roxana’s priority cases. She invites you to a free telephone consultation at 416-723-6497. There are many options in a Domestic Assault case, some of which are discussed below.

What is a Peace Bond?

A Peace Bond is a set of conditions that you voluntarily agree to abide for a period of 12 months. These typically include:

  • Staying away from your spouse and/or children
  • Keep the peace and be of good behaviour
  • Not possess any weapons as defined by the Criminal Code

When you enter a peace bond, you will be required to acknowledge responsibility for the incident that occurred. This is not a finding of guilt and it is not to say that your spouse did not have a part in the incident that lead to the charge.

When should you enter a Peace Bond?

You should consult a lawyer before entering into a Peace Bond. Roxana would not advise a client to enter a Peace Bond before she has carefully reviews all disclosure and conducts a Crown Pre-trial. It may be that the best decision for you is to enter a Peace Bond but it may also be the worst decision. The Crown Prosecutor may offer a Peace Bond to you in exchange for straight withdrawal of the charges, withdrawal of the charges pending a Partner Abuse Program completion, or a better position on a guilty plea which may also require the completion of a Partner Abuse Program.

When can you communicate with your spouse again? When can you see your children? When can you come home?

A Peace Bond and/or undertaking to successfully complete counselling may help with all of the above. However, you should consult a lawyer to understand the risks that you are taking. Be informed because your decision will affect:

  • Your relationship
  • Your family court situation
  • Your children
  • Your criminal record and future career potential
  • Your stability
  • Your future criminal charges

Roxana also aims to obtain a consent variation of your conditions but this is always dependent on the circumstances of your case and your lawyer’s negotiation skills.

Can your spouse/complainant withdraw the charges?

No. Once the complaint has been made, it is up to the Crown Prosecutor what happens to the charge, contrary to popular belief. However, a lawyer can assist the complainant in properly communicating with the Crown. Roxana Soica can help complainants by drafting affidavits and/or declarations to protect their rights when trying to have the charges withdrawn.

Can you go to jail for a charge of domestic assault?

Yes, you can go to jail.  There are numerous factors at play in a domestic assault case but Roxana’s approach is as follows:

  • Screening the case for reasonable prospect of conviction and possible early withdrawal
  • Obtaining the best position from the Crown
  • If withdrawal is not an option, Roxana screens the case for a win during trial and possible changes of bail conditions while awaiting trial
  • If you decide not to go to trial, Roxana aims to obtain a discharge, which should automatically be removed from your record within the specified time in the Criminal Records Act, without the need for you to apply for a pardon
  • In any situation, serious or less serious, Roxana carefully drafts a plan going forward to ensure that the court will take the lightest position