The consequences of a criminal record can be huge, and unfortunately, even if you are innocent, if you have been charged with a criminal offence it is always recommended that you seek legal advice. Domestic violence allegations run a broad spectrum, and include any act against a partner or relative – including damage to their property or joint property. Due to the nature of domestic charges and the circumstances surrounding them, there are very strict guidelines on how to deal with them. Crown attorneys are only allowed to withdraw the charges on very specific occasions. The victim in a domestic assault case does NOT have the choice of whether their partner is charged with an offence. Once an incident is reported to police, it is mandatory that a charge be laid. This is to protect vulnerable people in a dangerous and violent domestic situation who may otherwise be pressured not to proceed with the charges.
Typically, immediately following a charge for a domestic related incident, the bail conditions (or conditions of release) of the accused will include an order not to associate with the victim. This means that they may have to find another place to live, and may even be prevented from seeing their children, regardless of whether the partner wants the charges withdrawn. This is another reason it is crucial to seek immediate legal advice, so that release conditions can be examined and potentially altered. Without varying the release conditions, a breach can result in another criminal charge.
If you have been charged with domestic assault or any other criminal charge, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. If you are in need of assistance, please call to set up an appointment.
Ron Ellis is a criminal defence lawyer based in London, Ontario and practices criminal defence law all over Southwestern Ontario, including Grand Bend, Sarnia, Woodstock and Kitchener.