Montreal Domestic Violence Lawyer
What Is Domestic Violence?
While domestic violence is not a particular crime within the Criminal Code, it essentially entails any violent offence against an intimate partner. Domestic violence charge typically takes the form of: assault (s. 266), assault with a weapon (s. 267(a)), assault causing bodily harm (s. 267(b)), choking (s. 267(c)), aggravated assault (s. 268), uttering threats (s. 264.1), forcible confinement (s. 279(2)), criminal harassment (264(1)), etc.
Abiding By Conditions When Charged With A Domestic Violence Offence
When charged with a domestic violence offence, it’s extremely common for police (or the court) to give conditions by which you must abide. You likely will have to move out of your home (if you live with the complainant) and you won’t be able to communicate with them directly or indirectly or be in their presence. This can be extremely difficult, especially if you have a long history together and your lives are intertwined (and if you have children together - who may also be mentioned in your conditions)
What Happens If You Breach Your Conditions?
If you fail to follow your conditions, you could be arrested for breach of conditions and given additional charges; this could result in you even being detained pending trial or viewed as an aggravating factor in sentencing.
Modification Of Domestic Violence Conditions
If the complainant wants your conditions changed and/or there has been a material change in circumstances since your initial arrest so as to render your current conditions either oppressive or obsolete, you can certainly attempt to have your conditions modified. This can be done either with the consent of the prosecutor or by an application to the Superior Court.
What Happens If Convicted Of A Domestic Violence Offence?
Section 718.2(a)(ii) of the Criminal Code explicitly lists domestic violence as an aggravating factor in sentencing, making lenient sentences more difficult to obtain (although, not impossible). While there are no mandatory minimum sentences for assault (so discharges are available), the sentencing directives tend to act as de facto mandatory minimums, as serious or lengthy instances of domestic violence can result in harsher sentences.
What Defences Are Available For Domestic Violence Offences?
Generally speaking, given the nature of the allegations, the most common defences in this context are that the events in question never took place (they were fabricated by the complainant) or that you were acting in self-defence.
Charged With A Domestic Violence Offence - Now What?
- If you’ve been charged with a domestic violence offence, it’s absolutely vital that you exercise your right to counsel immediately. You should further invoke your right to remain silent and refuse to answer any questions. Generally speaking, if you have a good recollection about the events in question, make sure you write down your version of events (in as much detail as possible), take note of any potential witnesses who can corroborate your account, and keep ahold of any exculpatory evidence (such as text messages exchanged) that can help you down the line. If you happen to have any injuries, you should take photographs of them.
- If you’re being investigated for domestic violence, have been criminal charged or just have questions about your rights and obligations under the law, contact S. Zalman Haouzi Avocat today for a consultation!