Domestic Assault Charges
Do not plead guilty to “domestic assault” without first obtaining legal advice from a Toronto domestic assault lawyer at Kostman & Pyzer, Barristers. An individual charged with “domestic assault” is often forced out of their home and unable to communicate with their family. At Kostman and Pyzer, Barristers we work to restore the family dynamic destroyed by a simple call to the police. At Kostman and Pyzer, Barristers, we fight for your rights!
Call us at 416-658-1818 for a free case evaluation immediately if you have been charged, as we can advise you of your options
Experienced Domestic Assault Lawyer Toronto
Kostman & Pyzer, Barristers, have successfully defended numerous cases involving domestic assault and our firm has extensive experience in this area of law. We will raise every possible and realistic defense at your disposal with the goal of successfully resolving your case.
There may be defences available to you that are highly technical or beyond your imagination. Furthermore the allegations and the evidence may be challenged under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and this can result in a successful conclusion to your case. At Kostman & Pyzer, we fight for your rights and we fight to win! We work towards and understand the importance of getting theleast restrictive bail available in all the circumstances of a Domestic Assault Case.
We are experienced in all types of Domestic Assault cases, including:
- She Said-He Said: As domestic assault cases are often this type of variety it is important to have strong representation. From a prosecution point of view, this type of allegation is hard to prove since very often there are few independent corroborating witnesses. Furthermore, the Crown Attorney is aware that in many cases complainants recant or deny their earlier evidence and suggest that they were exaggerating due to intoxication.
- Extremely Minor Allegations & No History of Assaultive Behavior: A Peace bond option can be made available where the defendant agrees to “keep the peace and be of good behaviour” and, often, to have contact with the complainant only with their written revocable consent.
- More Serious But No Significant Injury: In more serious cases, where there is no significant injury to the complainant, the client will ordinarily be offered a “discharge” (no criminal conviction or criminal record) and probation wherein the client agrees to attend the PARS (Partner Assault Response) Program. The client pleads guilty to “assault” and participates in the program. As the client gets deeper into the program, bail conditions are relaxed so as to allow greater contact between spouses. After the successful completion of the program, the client receives a discharge.
- Serious Assault/Assault with Weapon/Threatening Case: there are a variety of defences available to the client. Depending on the circumstances, a person charged with an assault may have a defence of self-defence available to him. There may be a defence of “defence of third person”. One is permitted to intercede in an altercation to protect an individual who is being assaulted. The crucial factor in a viable defence of self-defence is the degree of force used. Although an individual who defends himself or another is not expected to weigh the amount of responsive force “to a nicety”, excessive force in response or retaliatory force negates the defence of self-defence eating after the whistle), the criminal law will not be engaged.
At Kostman and Pyzer, Barristers, we assess the strengths and weaknesses of a particular defence. We conduct interviews with witnesses who may support the specific defence. After a careful review of all evidence and witnesses statements, we make a determination as to the strongest course of action.
Can a victim drop charges?
Once the police are called, the criminal allegations follow their natural course. The alleged assaultive spouse is arrested, and either released or incarcerated pending trial. Ordinarily, there will be a no contact order made by the court to prevent the defendant, whether incarcerated or at liberty, from communicating with the complainant.
Very often, in cases of “domestic assault” or “threatening bodily harm” in the spousal context, after the original anger and upset have subsided, the complainant spouse regrets having called the police.
Complainants soon realize that they are not in control of the prosecution, and although they can communicate their wish-list to “Victim Services”, their spouse cannot contact them or return home. Often complainants recant or attempt to back down from their original statement to negate the evidence that they have previously provided to the police.
What is classified as an assault (simplified) or threatening?
Mere words can give rise to a criminal charge of “threatening bodily harm” or “threatening damage to property”. It does not matter if the person who utters the threat intends to act on the threat or is physically capable of acting on the threat. So long as the threat is uttered intentionally, the crime is complete. Similarly, a threatening gesture can give rise to an allegation of “assault” if the recipient of the threatening gesture believes on reasonable grounds that they may be physically accosted.
According to the criminal law, one person cannot touch another person without their consent. Of course, in everyday human discourse, we touch each other incidentally at various times. The criminal law is not concerned with “trifling” matters. When one person has incidental contact with another, if there is no criminal intent (mens rea), there is no crime. For example, on public transit during rush hour, one customer may make incidental physical contact with another. Such contact is not a crime so long as it is not premeditated or in relation to a part of the body that would not ordinarily be touched in such circumstances.
An “assault” is the intentional application of force to another person, without their consent. A push, punch, kick, or headbutt are all examples of potentially assaultive behaviour. According to Canadian criminal law, two individuals may consent to a fight and so long as neither individual suffers bodily harm during the course of the altercation, no crime is committed by either. Similarly, where individuals consent to engage in a sport in which there is bodily contact, generally speaking, unless the physical contact is significantly beyond the scope of the consent provided
Almost anything can be considered a “weapon” if the person who has it in their possession converts it for that purpose. Hence, if any object is thrown in the direction of another person, it may be alleged that the person committed an “assault with a weapon”. It doesn’t matter that the object’s ordinary use is passive or that the object intrinsically does not make for a very good weapon. In cases where a client faces a minor assault allegation and there is no history of violence between the parties, and no need for the client to have future contact with the complainant, the Crown Attorney will often agree that the charge can be withdrawn if the client enters into a Peace Bond.
Why it is important to get the least restrictive bail available?
Sometimes one spouse will attempt to use an allegation of domestic assault or even sexual assault, to exclude the other spouse from the matrimonial home as part of an overall tactic related to property and custody issues. In such cases, the individual charged is banished from the matrimonial home and contact with children must be arranged through a third party.
An individual charged with a domestic assault, who has no history of assaultive behaviour in the domestic context, will ordinarily be granted bail on terms that they have no direct or indirect contact with the complainant. Ordinarily, they will be forced to move out of the spousal residence and reside with their surety or elsewhere. Depending on the seriousness of the allegations, an individual’s liberty may be significantly restricted so as to protect the complainant from further assaultive behaviour. Regrettably, there have been a number of cases where individuals who were released on bail for domestic assault have committed further serious offences against the complainant.
These cases have created a highly sensitive politic in the courts when it comes to domestic assault allegations. Accordingly, one can expect that the courts will fashion a release order that leaves little opportunity for the defendant to gain access to the complainant while on release. A client who approaches Kostman and Pyzer, Barristers, charged with a domestic assault, can expect that we will work towards the least restrictive bail available in all the circumstances of the case.