Toronto Domestic Assault Lawyer
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If you are charged with domestic assault, the best outcome is withdrawn or dismissed charges, a stay of proceedings, or an acquittal so that you do not have a criminal record. With the assistance of skilled domestic assault lawyers at Pyzer Criminal Lawyers, we will do our best to help you avoid a criminal record. Call us today to schedule a free consultation where we will help you understand your rights, the charges against you, and assist you with the next steps to take.
Understanding Domestic Assault
Domestic assault is any kind of assault or violent offence that occurs between current or ex-partners. Domestic assault is not specifically listed in the Criminal Code, but courts believe assaults that occur in a domestic violence context must be treated more seriously than non-domestic assault charges.
Assault offences in the Criminal Code are:
- Assault causing bodily harm
- Assault with a weapon
- Aggravated assault
- Sexual assault
Along with assault, individuals often face the following in relation to domestic violence charges:
- Uttering threats
- Implying harm against a person
- Criminal harassment
- Prohibited conduct
If you commit an offence in the context of a domestic relationship, you are facing a longer jail sentence than a non-domestic context. For more information regarding sentencing and sentencing factors for assault, read our article about the potential sentences for domestic assault charges.
Domestic Assault Penalties
Depending on the facts of your case, such as the nature and context of the domestic assault, you could receive an absolute discharge (no jail time) or up to 14 years in jail. If you receive an absolute discharge you will not have a criminal record. If you are convicted of a domestic assault charge, it will appear as an assault charge on your criminal record. The more favourable result is usually achieved by hiring a reliable domestic assault lawyer that can get your domestic violence charges dropped. You can trust Pyzer Criminal Lawyers to handle your case with the experience and skill necessary to obtain the best result available for your case.
Section 266 of the Criminal Code deals with the penalties for assaults. The maximum jail sentence for domestic assault and domestic violence is:
- Five years if no weapon was involved;
- 10 years if a weapon was involved;
- 10 years if you caused bodily harm to the complainant;
- 10 years if you choked, suffocated, or strangled the complainant;
- 14 years if you wound, maim, disfigure or endanger the life of the complainant.
Any sort of assault in the domestic context is considered serious, and the Crown will be asking the judge for a higher sentence than if the assault occurred in a non-domestic situation.
Do not plead guilty to any charges until you have obtained advice from a criminal defence lawyer. Pyzer Criminal Lawyers can make the process easier for you by ensuring you have the best legal defence possible. Call us today for a free case consultation.
Consequences of a Conviction
If you are convicted of domestic assault or domestic abuse you will have a criminal record for the rest of your life. Having a criminal record can and will have devastating effects on you and your family. You can run into difficulties crossing the border into the U.S., finding employment, renting a house, volunteering, or pursuing a career in teaching, childcare, or medicine. If you are dealing with family matters in front of the court, such as child custody issues, the family court judge can consider your criminal record as evidence of bad character.
During and after your sentence you have to abide by certain court conditions. Often, in the context of domestic assault cases and domestic violence charges, you will be prohibited from contacting the complainant, as in your current or ex spouse or common law partner. When you have kids involved it makes everything extremely difficult. This is why the best thing you can do for yourself is hire a criminal defence lawyer with experience in domestic assault and domestic violence charges. Call Pyzer Criminal Lawyers today to see how we can help you with your domestic assault charge.
Your Legal Rights
If you are arrested and charged with assault, you have several rights enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. If the police disobey any of those rights, you may be entitled to a stay of proceedings which means the charges are no longer against you and the trial is over, and you won’t have the assault charges on your criminal record. The best thing you can do if you are arrested for assault is remain silent and speak to one of our experienced domestic assault lawyers.
Your Rights Under the Charter
Right to Representation
If you have been arrested, section 10 of the Charter directs police to inform you as soon as possible about your right to contact a lawyer. If the police do not inform you of this right, you are entitled to a remedy from the court. For instance, the court may exclude certain evidence or enter into a stay of proceedings.
Right to be Informed
Section 10 of the Charter also directs police to promptly inform you why you have been arrested. For more information about unlawful arrest, read our comprehensive guide on unlawful arrest.
Right to Remain Silent
If you are arrested, the only information you are required to give to the police is your name, date of birth, and address. Other than giving that, the best thing to do is remain silent until you have talked to a lawyer. We always recommend that you talk to a criminal defence assault lawyer before talking to the police.
Types of Domestic Assault we Defend Against
We have successfully defended countless domestic assault charges and domestic assault cases, including:
- Assault causing bodily harm
- Assault with a weapon
- Aggravated assault
- Sexual assault
- Uttering threats
- Criminal harassment
- Prohibited conduct
- Overcoming resistance to commission of the offence
Those are all the official offence terms in the Criminal Code. We have also represented clients in all types of domestic assault and sexual assault causes, including:
- She Said-He Said
- Extremely minor allegations and no history of assaultive behaviour
- More serious but no significant injury
Get Help From a Proven Toronto Domestic Assault Lawyer
The criminal realm is complex, and if you face it alone you could cause detrimental and irreversible findings of guilt. You do not need to deal with your domestic assault charges alone. At Pyzer Criminal Lawyers, our lawyers have the research skills and extensive experience defending allegations of domestic violence in all of the specialized courts and in all jurisdictions within Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. We are dedicated to successfully defending individuals facing allegations of domestic assault. Call us today for a free case evaluation.
When you are arrested on allegations of domestic assault, the police are required to separate you and your ex or current partner and take you to jail for a bail hearing. Your bail hearing should occur within 24 hours of you being arrested. The reason for a bail hearing is for a court to decide whether you should remain in custody until your trial, or whether you should be released pending your trial. If you are arrested for domestic assault, you need to call a criminal defence lawyer right away.
If you retain one of our skilled lawyers, Pyzer Criminal Lawyers will be with you every step of the way, including your bail hearing. We will find the best legal defence possible with the goal of you remaining in the community until there is a resolution with the court, such as dropped charges or a pending trial.
Get your defence started. Speak to an experienced domestic assault lawyer.
Domestic Assault Case Study
R v J.A.
The accused, J.A. was charged with one count of domestic assault and one count of assault causing bodily harm. At the time of the alleged assault J.A. was in an eight month long romantic relationship with the complainant, a woman he had known for seventeen years. It was alleged that he and the complainant got into a verbal argument that escalated, during which the complainant attempted to leave. It was alleged that J.A. then grabbed her by her shoulders, shaking her, eventually pushing her to the ground and punching her in the face. He then placed her in a bear hug preventing her escape. J.A. maintained his innocence throughout the ordeal.
According to him, the complainant had acted vindictively. She had fabricated the alleged assault to punish him for ending their relationship. Jonathan Pyzer represented J.A. in the Ontario Court of Justice and was successful at having all of the charges against him dismissed. The defence was able to exploit the lengthy delay for the accused’s benefit. As well, the defence marshalled a great number of witnesses demonstrating to the court that the complainant was untruthful in her statement to the police regarding J.A.’s actions.
Domestic Assault Case Study
R v R.A.
The accused, R.A. was charged with domestic assault. At the time of alleged assault R.A. had been married to his wife, the complainant for nine years and they had three children together. It was alleged that R.A. and the complainant got into a verbal argument about the lack of attention R.A. had been paying to complainant. It was said that R.A. followed the complainant into their seven year old child’s bedroom and continued to argue. It was alleged that R.A. then grabbed her by both arms, sat her upwards and choked her wrapping one of his arms around her neck. It was said that as the complainant tried to leave R.A. dragged her back into the room, and pushed her up against the wall. As a result of the incident the complainant had visible bruising on her left bicep and the right side of the neck.
Jonathan Pyzer successfully represented R.A. and was able to get the charge against him withdrawn, despite the accused having a previous finding of guilt from a separate incident. The defence was able to negotiate a deal with the Crown, that upon R.A. entering the PARS (Partner Assault Response Services) program and signing a s. 810 peace bond the charges against him were withdrawn. Initially the Crown’s office was reluctant to withdraw the charges given R.A.’s record of domestic assault, the injuries suffered by the complainant and the fact that there was a child present during the incident. However with much effort and determination the defence was able to persuade the Crown not to proceed, as a finding of guilt would have ended R.A.’s career.
Words from Client’s We’ve Defended
I am very happy that I engaged Jonathan Pyzer to represent me for some legal difficulties I ran into. He always treated me with respect and empathy, took the time to fully understand my situation and explain his strategy with me. With his expertise and guidance, I was able to get through this ordeal quickly and successfully. Throughout the process, I always felt that Jonathan was representing my interests to the best of his ability and the results proved it. Thanks to Jonathan's efforts, I can now focus on getting my life back to where I want it to be without this dark cloud of uncertainty hanging over my head. Hopefully I won't ever find myself in a similar situation, but if I do, I won't hesitate to reach out to Pyzer Criminal Lawyers for help.
My experience with Jonathan Pyzer was exceptional and could not ask for anything more. Jonathan was very punctual and not very money oriented comparing to the other lawyers I interviewed in the GTA area.Positive result on my end but I can assure you that with Jonathan’s experience you are in good hands regardless of the outcome and that’s what I was looking for in a lawyer.
From the time I stepped foot in his office I knew I was going to be ok. Jonathan is very hands on lawyer who listens and is empathetic. If you are looking for a lawyer who cares and is responsive please don't hesitate to call his office. Wish there was a way to give 10 stars.
Get a Free Case Evaluation
We offer a free case evaluation so that we can meet each other and determine how we can get the best outcome with your case. We will help explain your charges to you, explain the possible outcomes that may occur, and what your next steps should be. Call us today to see how we can help you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if you acted in self defence?
If you assaulted another person in an act of self defence you will not be found guilty. If you need to assault another person in order to protect yourself, the Criminal Code If you acted in self defence, you bear the burden of convincing the court that the reason you assaulted another person was because you needed to protect yourself. Section 34(1) of the Criminal Code states you are not guilty of an offence if:
- You believe on reasonable grounds that another person is using force against you; or
- You believe on reasonable grounds that another person is threatening to use force on you; and
- You assaulted the other person for the purpose of defending or protecting yourself from force; and
- The assault you committed was reasonable in the circumstances.
Self defence is an available defence, yet it is a complicated area of the law. Pyzer Criminal Lawyers are Toronto domestic assault lawyers with over 35 years of successfully defending assault charges. Call us today to learn how we can build your case for self defence.
What is a domestic assault?
The Criminal Code does not have specific domestic assault offences. A “domestic assault” is an assault or violent offence between partners or ex-partners. There is also a zero-tolerance policy regarding domestic and sexual assault in Ontario.
A domestic relationship is when two people (either opposite or same-sex) are in an intimate relationship whether as boyfriend/girlfriend, spouses, common-law partners, children and parents, or children and legal guardian.
How much does a domestic assault lawyer cost?
The cost of a lawyer depends entirely on the circumstances of your case, the complexity of the charges, and how much time will be required to properly defend the matter. A flat fee retainer is generally charged at the beginning of each matter and you will agree to a set fee based on the outcome. For example, if Pyzer Criminal Law is able to have your charges withdrawn, a lower retainer fee may be arranged. If the matter proceeds to trial, an extensive amount of work is performed so a higher retainer may be required.
Every case of domestic assault is unique, so it's best to give our office a call or email in order to schedule a case consultation. That way, a lawyer reviews your domestic violence case in detail and provides an exact cost estimate for you.
Can the complainant be charged for taking back their statement?
Complainants or alleged victims who attempt to change their story open themselves up to potential criminal charges in the justice system for misleading a police officer. Such potential criminal charges can include:
- Obstructing a peace officer (punishable by up to five years in jail);
- Obstructing justice (punishable by up to 10 years in jail); and
- Fabricating evidence (punishable by up to 14 years in jail).
What are factors in having domestic assault charges dropped?
Relevant factors that the Crown Attorney’s Office may take into consideration when deciding whether or not to withdraw a charge include:
- Lack of prior police involvement;
- Repeat incidents of domestic violence, which is an unfavourable aggravating factor for the accused;
- No prior criminal record;
- Lack of injuries;
- The single incident alleged as opposed to multiple incidents;
- No involvement of a weapon;
- No children present in the home;
- No allegations of choking; and
- No allegations of isolating, stalking or controlling behaviour, amongst others unique to each fact scenario.
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 or sexual assault ranges from a minimum sentence of an absolute discharge to a maximum sentence of a 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 for domestic assault, you are entitled to trial by jury for domestic assaults. In the US they use the distinction of a “felony assault” to distinguish more serious allegations from less serious allegations.
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, these offences are punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 or a six-month jail sentence or both. You cannot be fingerprinted for a summary offence. In the US they use the distinction of a “misdemeanour assault” to distinguish less serious allegations relating to domestic violence.
What are the potential consequences of a domestic assault conviction?
A criminal record after assault allegations carries a number of negative consequences for the accused, sometimes even more so for those convicted of domestic assault. Employment, education and volunteer opportunities are significantly compromised as individuals with criminal records are often overlooked. It can also impose limited travel ability, specifically into the United States of America. If there are any pending family law proceedings, a conviction for domestic assault can impact those proceedings as well.
Convicted individuals can be subject to additional restrictive conditions that prohibit them returning to the family home and having contact with their spouse or common-law partner or their children for the duration of their sentence and probation to see.
The justice system is complex, but you do not need to face your charges alone. Call us today for a free case consultation and how we can help with your charges.