What to Do When Charged With Domestic Violence

August 14, 2020

Being charged with a crime can be a very stressful, scary, and confusing situation. An effective criminal defence lawyer helps guide you while fighting to get the best possible result for your case.  In many domestic violence cases, it comes down to someone else’s word against yours because no witnesses were involved. A false accusation can negatively impact your life in many serious ways. Knowing what to do is vital. Therefore, exercising your right to speak with a criminal defense lawyer once you have been charged, and finding one to represent you thereafter, is very important.

A defense lawyer will advise you to remain silent after your arrest, as anything you say to the police can be used against you.  That lawyer can also assist you in going for bail if you end up getting remanded into custody. Going forward, a lawyer will analyze the facts of your case to determine your options and review them with you. Sometimes people falsely accused of domestic assault were the actual victims of the assault. If you were the victim, taking pictures of your injuries and finding any witness who might have witnessed the assault may strengthen your case. 

Knowing the defenses available to you is essential. “Domestic assault” is not listed as a charge in the Criminal Code. Rather it is an umbrella term encompassing various types of assaults upon someone you are in an intimate relationship with, such as a spouse or partner. Although an assault does not require actual physical contact because a threat, gesture, or attempt to assault another person may also qualify, domestic assaults often involve physical contact. In that case, one potential defence involves proving you had the other person’s consent to intentionally apply force to that person. However, there are certain circumstances in which consent cannot be obtained, including fraud and those in which the complainant did not resist due to threats that a person other than the complainant would be harmed.

Self defense is also a potential defence to domestic assault. Successfully arguing self defense requires proving to the court you believed force, or the threat of force, was used against yourself or another, that you committed the act to protect yourself or another from the threat of force, and the act was “reasonable in the circumstances.” Courts consider a number of factors when determining whether the act was reasonable in the circumstances. Some of those factors are ascertaining if a weapon was used by either party, determining the nature and history of the relationship between the parties, and deciding whether the act of self defense was proportionate to the use or threat of force.

You have many important choices to make when you get charged with domestic violence in Canada.  It can be a very stressful and detrimental process. That is why having a lawyer analyze your case and advise you about the best course of action is crucial.  Call Jason Malloy for a free consultation today.

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Jason Malloy is an associate lawyer at the Theodore L. Mariash Law Office in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

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