Have you recently been charged with domestic assault? Are you looking for advice on what to do next? Bodily harm of any kind is a serious matter that has many negative ramifications. As a result, it’s important to know how to manage the situation properly in order to move past it.
Your best course of action would be to immediately look into some Calgary assault defence services. However, aside from that, there are a few other things you can do to best prepare yourself And it all begins…
Prior to the Trial
When the police respond to your domestic assault call, they possess the authority to apprehend and charge you or your partner (depending on the circumstances). This is taken on a case-by-case basis.
The authorities will conduct an investigation through questions and inquiries, and once they have gathered enough information on what has transpired, they will then proceed to either arrest you or your significant other, or in some cases, no one will be arrested. Again, this is all based on what has taken place within the context of the situation.
Additionally, only the Crown Attorney and the police have the authority to determine if the charges will be taken to court.
When they initially receive a domestic assault call, police might incarcerate and detain you for a night in prison. From that point — unless you have a serious conviction — a judge will typically release you until your case goes to trail. Furthermore, the judge may also add the stipulation to your release that you vacate the home and find another place temporarily; cutting all forms of communication from your spouse.
This is referred to as a “no-contact order”, and it applies to all forms of communication whether direct (talking to them in person) or indirect (text, email, phone call, social media etc). Additionally, if any minors were present during the domestic abuse, then the no-contact order is applicable to them as well. You must adhere to this order; failure to do so will result in additional charges.
During the Trial
At this point, having an experienced criminal defence lawyer is paramount. With such an attorney by your side, it may be possible to divert the charges if you agree to take part in counselling, therapy, anger management, etc. This can be done discreetly and privately, however, many other times, it is court-ordered for you to attend such a program. Upon completion, you will be allowed to return home to your spouse — provided they want you to return.
Additionally, there are some cases where your attorney can organize therapy sessions prior to your trial. If this is the case, you may be permitted to return home upon being registered for the program. And based on the severity of the offence as well as the progress you’ve made once the program is complete, you may or may not have the charges dropped.
If you are convicted of domestic assault, the violence toward the victim is what is known as an aggravating factor. Consequently, this evidence will play a determining role for the judge when deciding on your punishment.
The variables of the situation will also contribute to the judge’s final decision. For example, if there were no severe injuries, alcohol wasn’t a factor, and this was your first time being prosecuted. Then the decision may be a bit more lenient (a small fine, attend therapy, etc).
However, if alcohol was a factor, the victim sustained alarming injuries, and you’ve been charged with domestic assault several times, then the judge will most likely dispense a harsher sentence such as incarceration.
If a guilty conviction is passed, your spouse, significant other, family member, etc, will take part in the terms of your conviction. For instance, they may get a restraining order against you, suggest you attend therapy, or push for a longer sentence.
Upon receiving a guilty conviction, you have to adhere to the orders and stipulations issued by the judge. Failure to do so will be punishable with jail time. Additionally, there may be further conditions associated with your conviction. You may have to:
- Attend recovery programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous
- Refrain from any contact with your spouse or family member(s)
- Participate in counselling, therapy, or anger management
- Report to a probation officer
Furthermore, you will be notified by the judge on the length of time that these stipulations will remain in place.
Dealing with these kinds of matters is never easy. However, it’s infinitely harder when you feel like you’re on your own. If you’ve been charged with domestic assault and are in need of some guidance, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today for a free consultation.