It is not up to the complainant whether to withdraw charges in a domestic assault case
It is possible to have domestic assault charges withdrawn. A withdrawal is the best possible final result for a person charged with a criminal offence in Canada.
It means the Crown prosecutor on your file has decided to not proceed with the charges. It does not mean a finding of guilt or conviction.
Having a charge withdrawn is not the same as having a charged stayed. If a charge is stayed, it is possible for the Crown prosecutor to bring the charge back to life within a year. It is in your best interest to not plead guilty to a domestic assault charge without seeking legal advice from an experience criminal defence lawyer at Kostman and Pyzer, Barristers.
Domestic assault charges are unique in that once a domestic assault charge has been laid, only the Crown Attorney’s Office can have the charge withdrawn.
Even if the complainant requests for the charge to be withdrawn, they do not have the authority to withdraw a domestic assault charge. This means that once a call to the police is made, and a domestic assault charge has been laid, the complainant completely loses control over the proceedings and the police and the Crown Attorney’s Office take over. Nonetheless, it is possible to have domestic assault charges withdrawn.
The Supreme Court of Canada in Krieger confirmed that Crown Attorneys enjoy a lot of prosecutorial discretion. Courts only review this discretion if the Crown Attorney’s conduct is so egregious that it seriously compromises trial fairness and/or integrity of the justice system.
With this broad discretion, Crown Attorney’s have discretion whether or not to prosecute the charges the police have laid (i.e to withdraw the charges), prosecute with a lesser charge, accept a guilty plea with a lesser charge.
A criminal defence lawyer is able to assess the strengths and weakness of your particular circumstances to see how they should proceed with persuading the Crown Attorney’s Office to exercise their discretion to withdraw your domestic assault charge.
Some of the things the Crown Attorney’s Office takes into consideration when determining whether or not to drop a domestic assault charge include:
whether or not you’ve have prior involvement with the police
whether there is a reasonable prospect of conviction
whether or not you have a prior criminal record
whether this was a single incident rather than multiple incidents
whether there was child present in the home
whether there were allegations of stalking or controlling behaviour
whether the complainant recants his or her statement
Depending on the particular circumstances of your case, a criminal defence lawyer can engage in pre-trial discussions with the Crown and argue for a withdrawal of your domestic assault charge based on the above criteria.
Being convicted for a domestic assault charge has many potential negative consequences for you. It may have negative consequences when obtaining employment and may prevent you from travelling to the United States.
It is in your best interests to hire an experienced lawyer to defend your legal rights. If you have been charged with domestic assault, contact Kostman & Pyzer today.