Under The Canadian Criminal Code domestic assault convictions appear simply as assault charges. That being said, the consequences of domestic assault are not necessarily the same as simple assault. Both types may leave you with a criminal record that will stay with you for life. However, section 718.2(a)(ii) of the Code makes it so that the nature of the relationship between the accused and the victim in domestic assault considers the assault to be an aggravating factor when it comes to sentencing. A criminal record can drastically change your life in many ways such as restrictive probation conditions, loss of employment or volunteer opportunities and limited travel abilities. The Crown may proceed summarily or by way of indictment. A summary offence includes a $5,000 fine, 6 months in jail or both. An indictable offence is much more serious than a summary offence and carries with it a maximum sentence of five years.
There are some cases that may be suitable for a discharge. For example, if the accused has completed a court mandated treatment program. Your lawyer should be knowledgeable in any court approved programs in the Bowmanville, Courtice and Newcastle region.
Implications in Family Court
A conviction may also affect any proceedings you may have in family court. If you live in the Bowmanville, Courtice and Newcastle area, both your criminal and family proceedings will take place in the Durham Region Courthouse. A domestic assault conviction may affect your custody and access to any children you may have with your partner. Generally, joint custody is only available if the parties are able to communicate. A domestic assault conviction may come with orders that do not allow the parties to have contact which can affect your access to any children you may have with the complainant. Depending on whether the children were involved in the abuse and the nature of the abuse access may be limited or even supervised.
Also known as a section 810 recognizance, a peace bond may be possible when the Crown does not have a reasonable prospect of conviction on the evidence, or where there is a reasonable prospect; it is not in the public interest to prosecute. These cases are rare and require the Crown to establish the views of the complainant, police and other administration of justice officials before seeking the consent of the Chief Federal Prosecutor.
The guideline of the Director issued under Section 3(3)(c) of the Director of Public Prosecutions Act states that generally, a peace bond will be appropriate only where:
a) the complainant is agreeable to the peace bond;
b) the violence involved was minimal;
c) the accused has no history of violence with either this complainant or others;
d) there is a realistic safety plan for ensuring that future violence is avoided,
e) the available information about the accused’s treatment and rehabilitative steps is consistent with the prospect that future violence will be avoided; and
f) there are resources in the community for the effective monitoring of compliance with the peace bond, for example by the police or probation services.
The Crown may also consider recommending a prohibition to possess weapons/firearms when necessary.
If you have been charged with domestic assault in Bowmanville, Courtice and Newcastle, please do not hesitate to call our office for a free 30-minute consultation and ask how we can help you.