Domestic Assault Charges

We are experienced domestic assault lawyers, domestic assault charges are very common in practice. Domestic assault charges are so common that there are, in fact, specialized courts that address criminal offences stemming from domestic violence incidents. These domestic matters are held together on specific days at specific times at Domestic Courts in downtown Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area.

 Specialized Domestic Courts:

  • Old City Hall- Domestic court every Monday and Wednesday at 2pm in courtroom 114
  • College Park-Domestic court Every Friday at 10am and 2pm in courtroom 505
  • 2201 Finch Domestic Court every Monday and Wednesday at 2pm in courtroom 202
  • Newmarket- Domestic Court every Tuesday at 9:30 am in courtroom 102

Penalty for an Assault Charge in Ontario:

Ontario law states that the maximum sentencing for someone charged with assault is 6 months in jail, a $5,000 fine or both, if the Crown Attorney proceeds by way of indictment.

A finding of guilt for a domestic assault charge has serious repercussions for the accused.

Not only does a criminal record carry a number of negative consequences for the accused, with domestic assault cases there can be additional conditions imposed on an individual while on bail and once they’re found guilty of domestic assault.


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General Consequences of a Criminal Record:

  • Potential custodial sentence
  • Potential Conditional Sentence  (house arrest)
  • Restrictive probation conditions
  • Fine(s) levied against the convicted individual
  • Employment, education and volunteer opportunities are significantly compromised as individuals with criminal records are often overlooked
  • Limited travel ability, specifically into the United States of America

Additional Consequences Associated with a Domestic Assault Conviction:

Bail conditions before a resolution has been reached and probations conditions once the accused has been found guilty, can be imposed restricting the convicted individual from contact with their partner or their children for the duration of their sentence and probation.

The complainant in domestic assault cases is someone with whom the accused has had a serious relationship with, whether it is boyfriend and girlfriend, husband and wife, parent and child, or same sex partner.

Often it is devastating to their family and/or romantic relationships to have strict conditions imposed by the courts.

Even if the complainant does not desire to proceed with criminal charges against the accused it is not their choice to stop the criminal proceedings.

Even with the desire to be in contact the courts can impose a restriction preventing the complainant and the accused from having contact if they deem that there is a serious risk of future domestic incident.

Domestic Assault- The Canadian Criminal Code

Section 265 and 266 of the Canadian Criminal Code pertain to assault charges.

When an individual is charged with domestic assault, it will appear simply as an assault charge.

What does it Mean if the Crown Proceeds by Way of Indictment:

If the Crown proceeds by indictment the potential sentence for the individual convicted of domestic assault ranges from a minimum sentence of an absolute discharge to a maximum sentence of five-year custodial sentence.

An indictable offence is more serious than a summary conviction offence.

Conviction of an indictable offence exposes you to greater penalties.

If you are prosecuted by indictment, you are entitled to trial by jury for domestic assaults.

What Does it Mean if the Crown Proceeds Summarily?

Summary conviction offences encompass the most minor offences in the Criminal Code.

Unless a different penalty is specified, summary conviction offences are punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 or six months’ jail or both.

You cannot be fingerprinted for a summary conviction offence.

The Below Sentences Can be Applied for Domestic Assault Convictions Whether the Crown has Proceeded by way of Indictment or by way of Summary conviction:

  • Discharge (absolute or conditional)- a finding of guilt without a criminal record for the accused.
  • Suspended sentence- a sentence given that the accused person is not required to serve, the implementation of the sentence is order suspended by the trial judge .
  • Fine alone- a criminal record and a monetary fine that the accused must pay.
  • Fine, probation, prison- a monetary fine, a length of a prison sentence and a length of probation to be served following the prison sentence.
  • Prison and probation- a length of a prison sentence and a length of probation following the custodial sentence.
  • Prison and fine – a prison sentence is served and a monetary fine is imposed, but no probation for the accused following their prison sentence.
  • Intermittent sentence- a prison sentence served over the weekends
  • Fine, probation and intermittent- a prison sentence served on the weekends, with probation following and a monetary fine imposed as well.
  • Victim surcharge- once found guilty of a crime all individuals are subject to a victim fine surcharge.
  • Conditional Sentence: house arrest, a sentence served within the community.
  • Maximum Sentences: Indictment: 5-year prison sentence, Summary: 6-month custodial sentence or $5000 fine.
  • It is always in the best interest of an accused person facing a domestic assault charge or any other criminal charge to do everything that they can to avoid a finding of guilt and the consequences that accompany a conviction.