Tag Archives: domestic assault

What You Need to Know About Domestic Assault

Domestic assault is considered a serious criminal offence throughout Canada. While it is a form of assault, Canadian Laws have defined the charge as its own specific offence since it involves assault on a family member, relative or other close relation by the accused. The law distinguishes between normal assault offences and domestic assault offences by examining whether the assault was committed in the context of a preexisting relationship between the person being charged and the victim. If the police and Crown establish such a relationship, then the person is charged with a domestic offence.

Even though domestic assaults are essentially the same criminal offences as normal assaults, the Ottawa courts treat them differently due to the trust created through close, personal relationships. In addition, the person charged with domestic assault can have their life turned upside down since the Crown normally imposes specific terms and conditions as part of the conditions for bail. This could involve not having contact with the accused person’s spouse, partner, or even their children.

One of the main concerns with domestic assault is when someone in a relationship uses it as a means to address other domestic issues and problems. For instance, a couple might be verbally arguing and one person gets so upset they call the police and claim they were assaulted by the other person. At this point, the police are required to conduct a full investigation into the claim. In the event the accused did, in fact, commit any form of assault, they can be charged by the Crown.

Keep in mind domestic assault is the intentional use of force or threat of force against the victim without their consent. If the accused simply verbally threatened to use force on the victim, without their consent, the police and Crown can charge the person with a form of domestic assault called uttering threats. This is also a very serious criminal offence. Uttering threats is making threats against the person, their property or their pets. Threats can be verbal, text messages, or emails.

Even if the complainant later changes their mind, they do not have the luxury of dropping the charges. Once a claim has been filed with the police and the Crown has determined there are grounds for a domestic assault offence, the Crown will proceed with prosecuting the accused.

Further, the complainant does not have to be the person being assaulted. A neighbour, relative, or close friend has the right to contact the police and report suspected domestic assault. Domestic assault is a serious criminal offence which can drastically impact a person’s life. If you have been charged with domestic assault, you need to obtain experienced legal representation from Ottawa criminal lawyer, Céline Dostaler. Call 613-695-8595 today for a complimentary case evaluation.

The Right to a Lawyer Of Choice

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides that anyone under arrest or detention has the right to retain and instruct counsel without delay.

Police have to advise the person under arrest of their rights. In order to speak to a lawyer, the person under arrest must tell the officer that they wish to exercise that right: they must tell the officer that they want to speak to a lawyer.

Once an individual advises they wish to exercise a right, the police must provide a reasonable opportunity to exercise the right, except in urgent or dangerous circumstances. This means that once an individual asks to speak to a lawyer, the police must make reasonable attempts to allow her that conversation.

Many people don’t have a lawyer on call, and don’t know any criminal lawyers. To remedy this situation, police officers often have a list of lawyers who practice criminal law in their jurisdiction, or offer to call an on-call duty counsel to provide free advice. It’s important to note, however, that if an accused wants to contact a specific lawyer, police must make reasonable efforts to find and contact that lawyer on the accused’s behalf. The arrested person is not limited to speaking only with the lawyers on a list, or duty counsel.

Sometimes, people call the first lawyer they can get a hold of, because they cannot research lawyers at the police station. It is important to know that an accused person is not obligated to continue to retain the same lawyer they spoke with at the police station: they should find a lawyer they are comfortable with.

Courts have often reiterated the importance of the right to counsel. If the court does not believe the police respected an individual’s right to counsel, the charges can be dismissed on that basis. If you were not allowed to call your lawyer of choice, contact Celine Dostaler today to discuss your case. Celine Dostaler if an Ottawa criminal lawyer that has successfully defended individuals whose rights to counsel of choice was denied by the police.

Domestic Assaults

The police take allegations of domestic assaults very seriously, and if they feel that they have a “reasonable suspicion” that an assault may have taken place, they will charge an individual. In Ontario, the complainant, or the victim, cannot decide whether or not the accused will be charged. The police will always lay charges if they believe an assault may have occurred. Although the police have an obligation to investigate all crimes thoroughly, it may feel as though they did not to investigate your side of the story: they took your accuser’s words as gold, and did not want to hear the truth. An experienced criminal defence lawyer will be able to work with you, defend your rights, and ensure that you are not found guilty of something you did not do.