Domestic Charges: The Essential Issues You Should Know if You are Charged with Domestic Assault

For people being charged for the first time with a domestic violence offence it is usually a frightening experience as the hope that the whole thing will disappear fades and the reality of the seriousness of the situation sets in. This blog may help you identify what you are up against and what strategy you should take.

What Happens When 911 is Called and Police Arrive at a Domestic Assault Case?

Domestic assault cases typically begin with a phone call to 911 looking for police assistance. Most often the phone call is placed by the complainant/victim but sometimes also by the accused themselves. For those not familiar with how police deal with domestic cases, the expectation is that the police will respond on scene and help resolve the relationship dispute.

What actually happens, however, is that the police will separate the parties and begin to ask questions. They will ask the parties about any assaults, uttering threats and other issues from disputes now and in the past. The police are essentially trying to find grounds to lay charges to either party….or both parties (which is rare). This is the essential task of the police – to lay charges where some evidence exists to do so. Most people facing possible domestic charges such as assault do not have the luxury of conferring with a lawyer who can explain what to do. For example, the vast majority of lawyers will tell a client not to speak to the police. Without this advice, people will try to “talk themselves out of trouble”. However, this strategy often results in the opposite intended results – people will actually provide the police with important information to lay a charge against the person.

What Happens if the Police Decide to Lay a Charge(s) Against an Accused?

If the police lay charges against a husband or wife (or partner etc), then that person (“the accused”) will be removed from the home – this is done in almost all cases – even if the accused simply pushed or shoved their partner. The accused will then be held overnight for a bail hearing that happens the next morning. A bail hearing is a hearing where a judge decides to detain or release a person in custody. Domestic violence cases are taken very seriously by the Judge and the Judge will not release someone accused of domestic violence easily. If the accused is a first time offender with no record, then they are usually released with conditions including no contact with the partner. This means the accused must find somewhere else to live until a Judge decides to remove the no contact condition…..which may be months depending on a number of factors. When released, a judge will give the accused a court date in the future to come back – either with a lawyer or as a self represented person.

If the accused who is in custody has a record – especially for domestic violence – then the accused may also be required to obtain a surety to agree to pledge money and supervise their release in the community before the judge will release him/her. Sometimes the accused is required to live with their surety as a bail condition which may be incredibly inconvenient to their work/family/school schedule depending on the location of the surety’s house.

Some people will have difficulty finding a surety because they have few family and friends in the city. If the Crown Prosecutor requires the accused to obtain a surety to make bail, the accused may have to wait several days in jail as they attempt to find and contact someone to act as a surety.

Whether an accused is released or detained, the next issue is whether the accused should plead guilty or schedule a trial date. I will deal with these issues on a blog in the future.

What to do if You Have Been Charged with a Domestic Violence Offence such as Assault or Uttering Threats?

If the police have arrested you following the charges of domestic assault, you are not free to leave. However, that does not mean you have to tell the police anything.

You should always remain calm and polite in the presence of law enforcement officers. Do not attempt to resist being arrested as this will only make things worse. Obey the police’s instructions. Now isn’t the time to argue with your spouse either.

Anything you say to the law enforcement officers can and will be used as evidence against you. Hence, do not say anything to the police – nothing at all.

Upon arrest, you have the right to an attorney. The police are legally bound to provide you with the facility to call your lawyer. It is highly advised that you contact counsel at the earliest opportunity. You may call Noah Neaman at 778-881-1785 at any time.

Can Domestic Assault Charges be Dropped, Reduced or Beaten?

A question that often arises is can domestic assault charges (or other charges) be beat or reduced etc. The answer to that question depends on numerous factors relating to the charges and incident that led to the arrest. Bottom line is that there are numerous defence strategies that can be applied in assault cases and getting legal representation from a highly experienced criminal lawyer—such Noah Neaman —is crucial for securing a positive outcome in any assault case. Noah Neaman has over 25 years of experience dealing with domestic violence cases and can provide you with a free initial consultation to determine what might be the best strategy for your case. Call Noah Neaman at 778-881-1785 today.


<< Back To All Articles