Domestic violence has often been misunderstood to be the same as assault. Despite similar injuries, domestic violence and assault are handled very differently by the Criminal Code. The main difference between domestic violence and assault is the relational aspect.
Domestic violence occurs in an intimate relationship where the individuals have (a) trust between one another and (b) some form of relationship. Relationships can range from intimate partners to parent-child relationships. By contrast, assault occurs between strangers; for example, two strangers fighting at a bar. Domestic violence charges tend to have greater penalties associated with them and are considered more aggravated and egregious than assault.
Given the severity of domestic violence charges, it is important to have a qualified domestic violence attorney advocating for you. Pyzer Criminal Lawyers have vast experience representing clients on domestic violence cases and can help you defend your charges.
What Is Assault?
Under the Criminal Code, assault occurs when a person (a) intentionally applies force to another person, (b) without their consent, (c) either directly or indirectly. However, it can also occur when a person (a) attempts to apply force or threatens to apply force to another person and (b) the person truly believes they will carry out the force against them.
There are three common assault charges:
Simple assault is the most common type of assault charge. Simple assault results in more minor injuries, including verbal threats. Under section 266 of the Criminal Code, a simple assault charge can result in up to five years in prison.
Assault with a Weapon or Assault Causing Bodily Harm
Assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm is more severe than simple assault. Assault with a weapon, as the name suggests, occurs when a weapon is involved or threatened to be involved during the assault. Assault causing bodily harm results in more severe injuries identified as non-trivial bodily harm. Under section 267 of the Criminal Code, a charge of assault with a weapon or assault causing bodily harm can result in up to ten years in prison.
The most severe assault charge is aggravated assault. Aggravated assault occurs when there are lasting injuries that either (a) wound, (b) maim, (c) disfigure, or (d) put life at risk. Under section 268 of the Criminal Code, an aggravated assault charge can result in up to fourteen years in prison.
What Is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is not defined under the Criminal Code, however, the courts have provided a legal definition of domestic violence. Domestic violence occurs when there is (a) an assault (b) between people in an intimate relationship. An intimate relationship is a broad term encompassing anyone living in the same household or anyone romantically involved.
Domestic Violence Charges
The nature of domestic violence is considered more egregious than other forms because of the trust element. Domestic violence includes any action that is harmful, destructive, abusive (physically or mentally), and intended to control or harm the other individual. Some examples of domestic assault include:
- Sexual abuse
- Criminal harassment and stalking
However, domestic violence victims are not always comfortable speaking out against their abusers. Often, victims fear retaliation by their abuser given the nature of the relationship. Thus, courts take domestic violence charges very seriously.
Differences Between Assault and Domestic Violence
The biggest difference between assault and domestic violence is the question “did they have an intimate or familial relationship with the victim?” If the answer is yes, the resulting charge will likely be domestic violence. Injuries sustained may be the same in both an assault and domestic violence charge because the injuries do not determine the charge, the relationship does. A domestic violence charge still falls under assault but is a more serious assault charge that can alter someone’s life.
Steps to Take if You Are Facing a Domestic Violence Charge
If you are facing a domestic violence charge, you can trust one of the lawyers at Pyzer Criminal Lawyers to handle your case. This can be an overwhelming process with many uncertainties. At Pyzer Criminal Lawyers, we want to help you through each step of responding to a charge. The following steps should be taken once you are charged with domestic violence charge:
Step 1: Follow the bail terms.
Any violation of bail terms can result in jail time.
Step 2: Contact an assault lawyer specializing in domestic violence cases.
Your lawyer will support you through the process. They will help you understand your rights and build a case with you. And if the case against you is weak, your lawyer is able to make an appeal to the Crown to prevent going to trial.
Step 3: Trust your experienced lawyer will build the best case for you.
Here at Pyzer Criminal Lawyers, we have experience building the best case outcomes for our clients in domestic violence charges.
Contact an Experienced Domestic Assault Lawyer Today
Pyzer Criminal Lawyers have won some of the toughest criminal cases in Toronto, including domestic violence assault charges. If you are looking for experience, strategy, and a successful outcome, contact us at (416) 658-1818. We are dedicated to getting you the best outcome.