When a relationship is experiencing a period of tension or coming to an end, things can sometimes go badly wrong. Partners who feel hurt, betrayed, or unsupported can cause each other deep pain. When things get bad enough, the law can even become involved.
Legal experts recognize that domestic assault is one of the most complex and sensitive areas in law, in no small part because the parties involved are so involved in each other’s lives.
Navigating domestic assault charges can, for that reason, be a profoundly difficult experience. People who are dealing with these charges need to understand the legal avenues available to them.
This blog will explore some of the factors that make domestic assault charges so complicated, and a few of the things individuals who face these charges can do as they proceed through the court system.
Understanding Domestic Assault Charges
Generally speaking, “domestic assault” is not a specific category of offense, but is the catch-all term used to describe assault against a current or former spouse, common-law partner, or dating partner. The domestic nature of the offense is usually considered to be an aggravating factor, meaning that courts will take it more seriously.
Because of the seriousness of the offense, police are often empowered to charge people with domestic assault based on an accusation without requiring independent evidence. Sometimes, a person charged with domestic assault will be barred from contacting the person laying the charges, which (in addition to adding to the emotional pain of the person being charged) makes an independent resolution nearly impossible.
While charges can be dropped by the person who laid them, attempting to pressure the person who has charged you can only aggravate the problem.
How to Respond to Domestic Assault Charges
The first thing you should do in the event that you have been charged with domestic assault is simply to remain calm and contact a domestic assault lawyer in Toronto who can help you map out the best route forward.
Talking to a lawyer will help you figure out whether or not you are likely to receive bail, and can start exploring the possibility of having the charges dropped. Perhaps just as importantly, a lawyer will help you talk through your options and provide you with an empathetic ear. Domestic violence charges are traumatic, no less for the accused than for the accuser, and having the space to work through what has happened and is essential if a positive result is to be achieved.
Should the case go to trial, your lawyer will provide you with the representation you need to get a successful outcome in court.
Intimate partner violence is an unfortunately common charge, and accounts for a quarter of all violent crimes that get reported to the police.
Domestic assault charges are often made in the heat of the moment, and after the fact the person who laid the charges may have a change of heart. But once the police have gotten involved the matter needs to be dealt with through the formal mechanisms of the legal system.
If you’ve been charged with domestic assault, getting the right legal help is the best way to move forward with the process and achieve a resolution that is fair and just to both parties.