Domestic Assault Charges

Calgary Criminal Defence Practices

Have you been charged with a domestic assault?

Calgary’s Domestic Assault Firm

Allegations involving domestic assault charges are dealt with in a specialized courtroom equipped with social workers, probation officers and Police Officers. Such charges are so prevalent that Alberta Justice has assembled a specified group of Crown Prosecutors in order to deal with such matters.  Charges receiving a “domestic” classification typically involve disputes between boyfriends/girlfriends, husbands and wives. That said, it is not unusual for altercations involving siblings and parents to receive a domestic characterization.

Unlike many criminal charges, domestic assault charges are unique, as the complainant does not always wish to have the file prosecuted.  While this is often the case, an accused will none the less be released on conditions which prohibit him/her from attending the matrimonial home, having contact with the complainant, or restricting contact with children of the relationship.

While Every Case Is Different, The Goal Remains The Same, Ensuring The Best Possible Result For Our Clients.

Given the consequences that flow, having counsel with the experience to navigate these waters is of paramount importance. Our counsel appears in Domestic Court daily, maintaining a firm understanding of this court’s unique process. Understanding that there is often a strong prospect for reconciliation, our office looks first at amending the release conditions in order to have our clients return home.

Once the no-contact conditions have been deleted, our focus turns to the defence of the allegations. While trials do take place, we are often able to negotiate favorable resolutions without having the need for a family member to testify. While every case is different, the goal remains the same, ensuring the best possible result for our clients.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a domestic?

  • Charges that are deemed to be domestic in nature are matters that stem from allegations involving family members as well as couples who are in a relationship. Domestic allegations are so prevalent that both Calgary and Edmonton have specified courtrooms and prosecutorial units in order to deal with these charges. The Criminal Code provides that domestic allegations are to be dealt with more severely as they involve a breach of trust, a statutorily aggravating factor.

How do I get my release conditions changed?

  • When an individual is charged with criminal offence, the accused is entitled to the least onerous form of release possible. This means as few conditions as possible. That said, persons charged with a domestic allegation will routinely be taken before a Justice of the Peace where particular conditions are put in place. Two of said conditions are a “no contact order” and a “no go” order. These orders prevent the accused from communicating with the complainant (the alleged victim) and going to their place of residence. These conditions are problematic as the complainant often wishes to have ongoing contact, while the “no go” clause will compel the accused to find a new place to live. In these cases, amending the conditions quickly is a priority for defence counsel. Conditions can be amended with the consent of the Crown. Should the Crown not agree to a condition’s amendment, then counsel must make an application in the Court of Queen’s bench to do so.

My partner doesn’t want to press charges, why am I still being prosecuted?

  • Frequently, the police are called to a domestic complaint as an argument has ensued between the parties. It is common for the caller to seek the assistance of the police in order to diffuse the situation. That said, the caller seeks only that, not to have their partner be charged criminally. Unlike what is often depicted in the United States via television and films, complainants do no get to determine whether they wish to “press charges.” In Alberta, should the authorities arrive and come to learn that a Criminal Code allegation has taken place, a charge will be laid. This charge will be accompanied with conditions that prohibit the accused from contact with the complainant as well as from attending the complainant’s home. In the end, the decision to prosecute lies with the Crown Prosecutor. In making this decision the Crown will consider whether there is a reasonable likelihood of conviction and whether the prosecution is in the public’s interest. It is at this stage that the wishes of the complainant are considered.

What is a peace bond?

  • A peace bond is a type of resolution where the client’s criminal charges are withdrawn upon them agreeing to abide by specified conditions for a set time frame. Peace bonds are often used to resolve files in domestic courtrooms throughout the province. Typical conditions involve the client participating in domestic violence counselling. While each case differs, it is also common for there to be a no-contact, no go condition regarding the complainant. Statutory peace bonds are governed by section 810 of the Criminal Code. This sections allows a presiding judge/justice the ability to place the accused on conditions should they be satisfied on reasonable grounds that the complainant has an ongoing fear for their safety.