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Domestic Assault

Domestic Assault Charges inĀ Alberta and British Columbia

Being charged with domestic assault is one of the more common charges in British Columbia andĀ Alberta courts. Being charged with a crime is a traumatic experience in and of itself, but those facing allegations of domestic assault face additional difficulties. They may not be able to live with or contact their loved ones during the proceedings and face stiff sentences if convicted.

Don’t Become a Casualty of the Zero Tolerance Policy

The Crown has a zero tolerance policy to domestic assault. This means that those accused will be prosecuted, even if the complainant doesn’t desire to press charges and go to court. Police, with almost every complaint of domestic violence, are directed to pursue charges against the accused, based on nothing more than the complainant’s word. This rigorous policy is one reason that domestic violence charges are so common.

The best way to ensure that the zero tolerance policy doesn’t claim you as a casualty is to contact an experienced, aggressive criminal defense attorney who understands how to defend you against allegations of domestic assault.

We’ve provided some information below about domestic violence and domestic assault. If you’re facing these kinds of charges, it’s important to contact us immediately.

Call Sprake Song & Konye to schedule a consultation and find out how we can help you get your life back.

What is Domestic Assault?

Typically, people associate the term “domestic violence” with “spousal violence,” and this is one of the more common forms of domestic assault. However, domestic assault isn’t necessarily limited to altercations between married couples.

Domestic Assault refers to any assault between two individuals in a current or former dating relationship, or to two individuals in a common law or married relationship. It can also refer to family violence, as the Criminal Code treats these cases (such as allegations of violence towards one’s children) much the same as a domestic or spousal violence case.

Strictly speaking, assault is physical contact, either direct or indirect, between two people without consent. For example, direct contact would include striking someone with a hand. Indirect contact would include thrown objects, which can then be considered “Assault with a Weapon.” When injuries result, more serious charges like Aggravated Assault may result.

Domestic assault includes offences other than common assault and might not involve physical contact. There are a number of other offences between individuals who are currently or formerly in a dating, common law, or married relationship that may constitute domestic assault.

Criminal Harassment

Criminal harassment includes stalking someone and making repeated phone calls of a harassing or threatening nature.

Uttering Threats

Verbally threatening to physically harm or kill a former or current partner or family member may constitute domestic assault, even if the action is not carried out.

Unlawful Confinement

In many cases, preventing a family member from leaving a residence constitutes domestic assault.

Sexual Assault

Allegations of non-consensual sexual contact can be particularly serious and open a Pandora’s Box of legal complexities.

You’ve Been Arrested for Domestic Violence- Now What?

Police have limited options when it comes to handling complaints of domestic violence. Two choices may be made by police on the scene:

  1. They may have the accused sign a Promise to Appear, a document which requires him or her to appear in court on a certain date, and release them. They may also be required to sign an Undertaking to an Officer, which imposes certain conditions on the accused, such as prohibiting them from returning to their family residence until their court date or later.
  2. They may hold the accused for a bail hearing before a Judge or Justice of the Peace. In most minor cases, the Justice of the Peace will choose to release the accused on minor conditions. The accused typically has the option of delaying his or her bail hearing and opting for a hearing before a Provincial Court Judge instead. If the accused wants to confer with an attorney before the hearing and the Police are likely to oppose their release, this can be a good option.

Dealing with a No-Contact Condition

A no-contact condition is almost always imposed on an individual accused with domestic violence. This condition usually prohibits the accused from re-entering the family residence or communicating with family members by phone until court proceedings are resolved.

This can make life extremely complicated for someone facing allegations of domestic violence, disrupting their life and forcing them to find a new place to live.

It is possible to reverse this condition with the help of a lawyer familiar with family and domestic law, but it takes time and expertise.

Entering into a Peace Bond

When it has been determined that proceeding with charges is not in the public interest, The Crown prosecutor may agree to drop the charges if the accused is willing to enter into a Peace Bond. Because The Crown, not the Complainant, is the party pressing charges, it is up to prosecutors to decide to follow this course.

A Peace Bond is not a finding of guilt, but essentially a way of settling outside of court. Much like bail, the accused will be required to meet certain conditions until the bond expires, usually a period of 12 months. Common conditions include prohibition of weapon possession and limited contact with the complainant.

This course is favorable for many accused individuals, as it allows them to protect their clean criminal record and avoid the pain and hassle of legal proceedings.

How Can Sprake Song & Konye Help You

If you are facing allegations of domestic assault, you need a seasoned lawyer to provide advice and defend your reputation. There are many ways to defend against complaints of domestic violence, and it’s critical you speak with a lawyer quickly- even before speaking with police, if possible.

Contact Sprake Song & Konye to find out how we can help you navigate these serious charges and protect your future.