Committing assault against a family member is a more serious charge than an assault charge involving a friend or a stranger. Abusing a child or a spouse is seen by the law as a special and egregious breach of trust. The Crown takes these charges very seriously.
An assault is any act in which one person touches another with the intent to apply force and does so without the other person’s consent. It also covers any instance where threats of force or violence are issued to coerce a person into doing what you want. Many domestic violence cases are also sexual assault cases, covering any instances where one person touches another in a sexual way without another person’s consent.
Sadly, domestic dispute allegations also plague divorces. There are false accusation cases where one spouse accuses the other of domestic violence in order to gain an edge in a custody dispute. If you’ve been falsely accused, it’s important to realize that innocence alone cannot protect you.
The team at Moose Jaw Criminal Lawyer is here to help you defend against any and all assault charges. We can help reduce or eliminate the damage a domestic violence charge can do to your career, reputation, housing prospects, and more.
Penalties for Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is really just a class of assault charge. That means you can be charged with common assault, assault with a weapon, assault causing bodily harm, or aggravated assault. If the crime was sexual in nature you can be charged with sexual assault instead.
However, the fact that the charge is a domestic one will typically mean the Crown assigns harsher sentences. This also means that even threats, perceived threats, or alleged threats issued against your significant other, romantic partner, or ex-significant other or romantic partner can be very serious indeed.
In Saskatchewan the penalties can result in up to fourteen years in prison for a first offense. If this is your second domestic violence charge you can be sentenced with life in prison.
The judge will make the determination based in part on the severity of the abuse and the effects of it. If your spouse had to seek emergency medical care, for example, then your sentence is likely to be harsher than if you are merely being accused of slapping your spouse, or making a statement that can be perceived as a threat. Assault against children will also be treated far more harshly than assaults against your adult romantic partner.
Keep in mind that Clare’s Law is in effect in Saskatchewan. This means that law enforcement officers can share information in order to proactively protect people from abuse. That means that if convicted, any potential partner will be able to go the police and ask them to release any information about past violent or abusive behavior. Police may even volunteer the information if they believe a new romantic partner is at risk.
A conviction might well impact your future romantic and social life in addition to all the other consequences that could be levied against you, such as the inability to secure employment or housing, or to travel freely to the United States or other countries. You may even lose access to your home, as the judge may order you to go no-contact with your family and allow you just one visit to your family home, under police escort, in order to retrieve your belongings.
You need a good criminal defense lawyer by your side as you face these charges.
Resolving Your Domestic Violence Case
We try to resolve your case pre-trial wherever possible.
The accuser can’t recant and get the charges dropped. Only a Crown prosecutor or judge may drop or dismiss domestic violence charges.
Often, we try to negotiate for a peace bond. You may have also heard peace bonds referred to as “restraining orders.” They require you to stay away from the accuser while generally making promises to keep the peace and remain on good behavior. A peace bond can keep you out of jail, and if you adhere to the conditions of the bond for a set period of time (usually one year) the Crown withdraws the charges against you. This means keeping you out of jail and keeping your criminal record free and clear.
When a peace bond isn’t possible we try to resolve your case through other avenues.
Defenses Against Domestic Violence Charges
The defenses against domestic violence charges are the same as any we’d bring forth in an assault case. If bodily harm was not involved, that may mean consent is a valid defense. If the accusation revolves around threats we may be able to show that you did not mean the words as a threat. If your spouse assaulted you, then we can show that you acted in self-defense. We also may be able to show that any harm that you did to your spouse was done on accident.
Crafting your legal strategy is not a one-size fits all proposition. We will explore every avenue for getting your charges dropped, dismissed, or reduced, and are fully prepared to defend both your freedom and your good name at trial.
Why choose us?
Our team brings decades of criminal defense experience to the table. This experience will serve you well when you’re facing a domestic violence charge.
We work diligently to bring your case to the best possible outcome, and remain committed, responsive, and empathetic throughout the process. We’ll dig deep into the evidence, advise you on your options, and help determine the right course of action as you navigate Saskatchewan’s justice system. We’re known for being tough trial lawyers who leave no stone unturned.
We’re also more affordable than you think, especially when you weigh the cost of our services against the long-term consequences of a domestic violence conviction.
If you or a loved one needs help, contact Moose Jaw Criminal Defense Lawyer at (306) 634-7777.