If you are facing a domestic assault charge, you will need an experienced and strategic domestic assault lawyer. At Pyzer Criminal Lawyers, we have a team of experienced assault charge lawyers ready to defend you.
There are several defences available to defend an assault charge. These include:
- False Accusation
- Lying Victim
- Self-Defence or Defence of Family Member
- Procedural or Investigative Errors
What is Domestic Assault?
Domestic assault is not officially included in the Criminal Code of Canada. Instead, any offence, such as assault, in a domestic setting, such as a household, is considered a domestic offence. As such, it is not limited to intimate partners and does not require the victim to live at the same address as the offender.
Usually, domestic assault charges arise when violence occurs against an accused’s spouse, intimate partner, child, or family member. It can arise from a variety of violent acts including stabbing, kicking, punching, stalking, threatening one’s life, throwing objects, any kind of hitting, or any action causing bodily harm. This means a domestic assault charge can include physical or emotional violence.
Domestic charges are taken very seriously, and thus require a well-experienced lawyer knowledgeable of the defences available to you.
5 Potential Defences to Allegations of Domestic Assault
1. False Accusation
The first defence, and commonly used when possible, is that the accusation against you is false. When there are facts that point to the accusation being false, this defence can be made. For example, if you have an alibi stating you were somewhere else at the date and time the claim was, the court may find you innocent. Another common example today is text messages or online posts stating the allegations are false.
2. Lying Victim
Similar to the first, the second defence is that the victim clearly lied. This can be used when there is evidence the victim has the plan to plot against you or they hold resentment. A victim may claim domestic assault for defamation purposes. This defence challenges the character of the victim to show they are dishonest in the recounting of events.
3. Self-Defence, or Defence of a Family Member
As with most assault charges, the defence of self-defence is available in domestic assault charges. If the assault was committed to defending yourself or a family member against a physical attack or threat from the victim that would result in serious or fatal injuries, you can be found not guilty. If the victim hits you first or has a history of violence against you or others, this defence can also be used.
Often, the physical impact can occur by accident. If this happened to you, you can admit to hitting the victim but show it was done by accident. For example, if you pushed your partner but did so because something knocked you over, your lawyer can use the evidence available to establish the assault was accidental.
5. Procedural or Investigative Errors
The final defence available is rare but can occur if evidence suggests the police engaged in improper procedure or an improper investigation. There are several examples of where this can occur. For example, if the police denied your request for a criminal defence lawyer or conducted a search without a valid reason.
Common Questions About Domestic Violence
Can Domestic Assault Charges Be Dropped?
No. If a victim decides they no longer want to pursue the charge, they are unable to drop the charge. This does not mean there are no options available. A victim’s statements can influence the prosecutor. If, for example, a victim states the charge was falsely made, a prosecutor may then decide to withdraw the charge because it is not in the public’s interest to follow through with it and would waste court time and money.
What Is the Punishment for Domestic Violence in Canada?
Domestic violence charges are taken very seriously. As a result, someone charged can face a long time in prison. If it is a summary conviction, it can be a two-year maximum; however, an indictment conviction can result in up to five years. If the assault is a sexual assault or an assault resulting in bodily harm, it can lead to up to ten years in prison.
Are there Programs to Resolve Domestic Assault Cases Outside of the Criminal Justice System?
Yes. There has been a shift towards a community approach to changing behaviour. Many cities offer community programs to alter violent behaviour and prevent future violent acts. Some examples of community programs include conflict resolution programs and long-term private counselling. However, to have this as an option, you must prove to the court that you want to change your behaviour and will commit to the option outside of court. This option also often requires check-ins to ensure you are following the program and dedicated to change.
Contact an Experienced Domestic Assault Lawyer Today
We understand the ways a domestic assault charge can alter your life. Pyzer Criminal Lawyers have won some of the toughest domestic assault cases in Toronto. If you are looking for an experienced lawyer and a successful outcome, contact us at (416) 658-1818. We are dedicated to getting you the best outcome possible.