Domestic assault charge Ontario

Domestic violence has been getting a rebrand of sorts in Canada, as it is now more commonly referred to as “intimate partner violence” (IPV). In fact, the federal government and its provinces, municipalities, and media have widely adopted this new moniker and its acronym.

IPV has been declared an “epidemic” by over 70 Ontario municipalities, including Toronto. On December 6th, Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, over 100 organizations petitioned Ontario Premier Doug Ford to declare IPV an epidemic. Meanwhile, the federal government’s justice minister recently called IPV an epidemic in a formal response to a coroner’s inquest regarding the IPV-related murder of three Ontario women.

Epidemics are typically notable because of the rapidity of their spread. However, Statistics Canada’s latest report on intimate partner violence recorded 114,132 victims in 2021. The agency stated that this marked the “seventh consecutive year of gradual increase for this type of violence.”

While on the surface, “gradual” may not indicate an epidemic, the Canadian government has been proactively addressing intimate partner violence due to this increase in victim numbers, potential impact on children, and the well-founded belief that such violence within a relationship often escalates if not promptly addressed.

With this increased attention on IPV, Canadian police will usually make an arrest when presented with any evidence that domestic assault has occurred. Crown prosecutors are encouraged to prosecute domestic assault charges aggressively, and judges are compelled to consider intimate relations in the context of an assault as an aggravating factor for harsher sentencing than a similar, non-domestic assault.

If you have been charged with domestic assault in Ontario, the deck may seem to be stacked against you. However, skilled criminal defence lawyers can help persuade the Crown to drop the charges laid against you, or strategize an effective defence against them.

Understanding Domestic Assault

“Domestic assault” is not a distinct criminal offence listed in Canada’s Criminal Code: rather, the Code’s Section 265 definition of assault is considered by the courts a domestic one if warranted by the relationship between the alleged parties to the incident.

Section 265 defines assault as:

  • Direct or indirect application of intentional force against another person without their consent.
  • An attempt or threat by act or gesture to apply force to another person if the alleged victim reasonably believes that the offender can commit the action.
  • Accosting or impeding someone while openly wearing or carrying a weapon or imitation of one.

This definition of assault, which doesn’t require the use of force, is commonly referred to as simple or basic assault, and its maximum penalty if charged as an indictable offence is five years imprisonment, while a summary conviction carries a maximum sentence of two years.

The crime does not have a mandatory minimum sentence, allowing judges broad discretion in their sentencing decisions. However, judges are encouraged to hand down harsher penalties when the charges have a domestic — or intimate partner — component.

Convictions for Section 267, assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm, and Section 268 (1), aggravated assault, carry significantly harsher penalties that range from a respective maximum of 10 to 14-years imprisonment. As is the case with simple assault, when these assaults are committed in the context of an intimate partnership, it generates a stiffer prosecution from the Crown, and likely harsher penalties from a judge, if convicted.

Reasons the Crown Might Be Willing to Drop Charges

Criminal defence lawyers can successfully push Crown prosecutors to drop charges early in the judicial process of any criminal matter if they can first convince them that:

  • Their evidence is too weak to secure a conviction.
  • The prosecution is not in the public interest.

Defence lawyers often have many avenues available to them for pursuing these paths towards dropped charges. If the Crown’s evidence is weak, they are unlikely to pursue the case in the face of a robust defence.

The matter of public interest in a successful prosecution is a subjective exercise – however, a competent defence lawyer can argue that prosecuting a first-time offender, with no domestic disturbance history and who seems to be in an otherwise stable relationship with the victim, is obviously not in the public’s interest.

Both factors have relevance when an alleged simple domestic assault did not cause any apparent physical or psychological harm to the victim, was not committed in the presence of children, and was an isolated incident.

The alleged victim may also provide the Crown with an affidavit in order to assist in getting the charges dropped. Be aware, however, that even if the alleged victim asks the Crown to drop their charges, the prosecutor still has ultimate authority in deciding whether or not to proceed with their case.

However, when a victim seeks dropped charges, it weakens the Crown’s case. In general, the Crown will only continue to pursue such cases if the domestic assault was especially egregious, and/or the alleged assailant has a history of domestic assault-related issues.

Even when prosecutors seem unwilling to drop domestic assault charges, defendants can still take specific actions that may help encourage case dismissal, favourable plea-bargain terms, or lenient penalties. Such actions include:

  • Showing remorse and apologizing to the victim.
  • Enrolling in anger management counselling (if applicable).
  • Entering a substance abuse counselling or treatment program (as appropriate).
  • Offering to sign a peace bond (in cases where a domestic relationship has ended).

Tips for Those Facing Domestic Assault Charges in Ontario

While unstated and unnamed by the Criminal Code, domestic assault carries legal, procedural, and attitudinal implications that aren’t a factor in other assault cases.

When intimate partner violence is suspected or accused, Ontario police and Crown prosecutors take a zero-tolerance approach. What you might consider to be a minor altercation can be construed by them as a significant criminal offence, and as such, it’s important to know what to do if you find yourself facing domestic assault charges in Ontario.

  • When police investigate any “domestic disturbance,” they will not hesitate to make an arrest on any pretext.
  • Even if an intimate partner does not want to press charges, the police can (and often do) make an arrest.
  • A simple threat or aggressive gesture towards an intimate partner can be grounds for an arrest.
  • If arrested, maintain your right to remain silent.
  • Comply with all conditions of your pre-trial release.
  • Retain, store, or make copies of all digital data (emails, social media, text messaging, etc.) that might be relevant to your intimate relationship and/or domestic disturbance.
  • Hire an experienced domestic assault criminal defence lawyer.
  • Always follow your criminal defence lawyer’s advice.

If the police have charged you with domestic assault in the Greater Toronto Area, secure experienced representation from a skilled legal team, such as our team of professionals at Vilkhov Law. Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation.

By |2024-01-12T16:13:03+00:00January 12th, 2024|Domestic Assault|

5/5 - (4 votes)

Criminal Lawyers Association
Toronnto Lawyers Association
Law Society of Ontario
Criminal Lawyers Association
Toronnto Lawyers Association
Law Society of Ontario
Excellent4.9 Based on 132 reviews fromYsabel AtienzaYsabel Atienza ★★★★★ Igor displays a level of professionalism, knowledge and dedication that puts his clients at ease during a very stressful time. His expertise in criminal law is unparalleled. What sets him apart is his unwavering commitment to his clients. He genuinely cares about his clients’ well-being and will go above and beyond for you!Kevin DKevin D ★★★★★ Igor is a great lawyer and has provided valuable guidance throughout my experience with him. He has always been honest and straightforward which I appreciate very much. I would recommend him to anyone looking for a successful outcome.Narmatha SNarmatha S ★★★★★ Igor is a dedicated and intelligent lawyer, known for his commitment to his clients.I've witnessed firsthand his incredible work ethic and professionalism, which sets a high standard in the legal field. His ability to meticulously research cases and articulate arguments convincingly is truly impressive!Fred BalmerFred Balmer ★★★★★ Experience with Vilkhov Law was great, Igor made all my charges get dropped without any issues. I would highly recommend this firm to everyoneDavinder GillDavinder Gill ★★★★★ Ecem KokEcem Kok ★★★★★ My experience with Vilkhov Law was nothing short of exceptional. Facing a daunting legal battle, looking at significant jail time and scared, I sought Igor Vilkhov's expertise based on his stellar reputation in criminal law. From the initial consultation to the trial, every step was handled with precision and care. His deep knowledge of the law and strategic approach gave me confidence throughout.In a pivotal moment during my case, Igor Vilkhov's dedication and expertise truly shone through, resulting in a favorable outcome that exceeded my expectations. His communication was clear and timely, keeping me informed and reassured at every turn.I am immensely grateful to Igor Vilkhov and the entire team at Vilkhov Law for his unwavering support and tireless effort. His professionalism and commitment are second to none. If you find yourself in need of expert legal representation, look no further than Vilkhov Law. He is simply the best.Rhea OXXORhea OXXO ★★★★★ Jessie TeixeiraJessie Teixeira ★★★★★ I would like to thank Igor Vilkhov and his dedicated team for their professional assistance in dealing with my matter. I could not be happier about the way my matter was handled and am very satisfied with the result.Annabella FusaroAnnabella Fusaro ★★★★★ Igor Vilkhov was an amazing Lawyer. I met him through one of his colleagues and one thing I can say he fights for your rights and he doesn’t amazing job. He was so patient and kind with me. I’m very grateful for the outcome of my case. May god bless Igor And the amazing work he does.AnnabellaXuan LinXuan Lin ★★★★★ Hello my name is Leon I got charged with SA in 2021 in relation to a young complainant. I have been looking about 10 lawyer all of then is bad and lie all they care is money never help my case .Until I meet Igor I told him what happened he told me no worry he will try his best for help me . And this year May I won the case I just can't believe it Igor is best lawyer he is legendary . Guy you should believe in Igor he is really good. His preparation was meticulous and was acquitted. He saved my life.ChrisChris ★★★★★ The Best Lawyer In my opinion. A legal Tactician in the modern day criminal justice court systems. Very professional service. Great Techniques and Extremely knowledgable and Highly talented and recommended team.I’m 37 old Newfoundlander who is not well spoken but this was an easy to write.Nikolai Wheeler-BalazevNikolai Wheeler-Balazev ★★★★★ I want to start off this review by thanking Mr.Vilkhov for handling my case, Igor got my case resolved in a timely manor, i had previously been going to court for my case for about a year, and when i had gotten Mr.Vilkhov as my lawyer he had my case resolved and all my charges withdrawn in a matter of days. If anybody is looking for a lawyer i would urge you to go with Mr.Vilkhov, he knows what he is doing and knows how to do it quickly.Shannan HarrisonShannan Harrison ★★★★★ Mr. Vilkhov is an outstanding lawyer, I just avoided a lengthy jail sentence because of him. I literally cannot believe what he was able to do for me. The judge in court praised him for his work, thank you so much.Anoop RAnoop R ★★★★★ One of the best law firms in town! Highly recommended. Just retain them. They'll do the rest.ARRARR ★★★★★ I was falsely accused and charged with a serious offence. All it took was just one phone call from the complainant. As an immigrant, it was a nightmare. Fortunately Igor was the first person whom I contacted and I knew he was the one and I retained him. Beware of the lawyers who try to scare you, make you feel insecure. From the first phone call, he never made me feel insecure. He was confident that he can get the work done. Igor and Daniel promptly attended all my court dates. It took a while to achieve the resolution and finally my case was unconditionally withdrawn. I can't thank him enough. As Igor is a busy person, I was getting updates regularly from Daniel. I would give six stars to Daniel. Igor should never let him go. I would definitely recommend this law firm. You might sometimes feel that Igor is late in responding, but he'll be putting all his efforts behind the scene. Just have faith in him. I wish Igor and Daniel all the best.Brandon ABrandon A ★★★★★ Igor was fantastic to work with. He was always very quick to respond and answered any questions I had at any time during the process. I'm so impressed for his amazing and efficient work - he was able to have any charges against me dropped. I highly recommend Igor to anybody that's currently facing legal trouble. He truly exceeded my expectations and I'm so grateful for everything. Thank you Igor!Maria AgasMaria Agas ★★★★★ I was very impressed with his professionalism, swift responses and attention to detail. He was proactive and always communicated next steps. I’m so happy we came across Igor and his team. Igor is amazing and wonderful lawyer.Cindy LiCindy Li ★★★★★ I cannot express my gratitude enough for the exceptional legal representation provided by Igor. Facing wrongful accusations was a harrowing experience, but Igor's expertise and dedication swiftly turned the tide in my favor. He navigated the complexities of the case with professionalism, demonstrating remarkable intelligence and a deep understanding of the legal system. Thanks to his efforts, the charges were withdrawn in a timely manner, allowing me to move forward with my life. Igor is not just a good lawyer; he is an outstanding advocate for his clients. I wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of top-notch legal assistance.George ArellanoGeorge Arellano ★★★★★ Mr. Vilkhov got my charges withdrawn today after a very stressful time in my life. I hired him because of his reviews and I am not surprised that I got this result. I appreciate him and his team. Igor literally dedicates his entire life for his clients.Latch RamoutarLatch Ramoutar ★★★★★ I am sitting here at 10 Armoury street after my charges were just withdrawn. I cannot thank Igor enough for what he has done for me. This was supposed to be a trial where I was facing a ten year jail sentence. Somehow Igor got my charges dropped. This man is the lawyer you need, hands down. Also a very nice person.Emad MEmad M ★★★★★ Do not blink! Go with him.I know for stressful this process might be an how awful law system might be treating you, also how difficult it might be to trust someone with your “life”.Igor knows what he is doing and he saved my partner and I from false accusations of a jealous individual!He didn’t over charge, he didn’t hold back on any help a lawyer could possibly provide.This man is the best saviour one can ask for in these situations.Christa DuchenoChrista Ducheno ★★★★★ No kidding, if you need an attorney and You want the Best lawyer to defend you and your rights in the legal system I’d definitely recommend you call Igor Vilkhov.I am completely and gratefully satisfied with His professional guidance, knowledge of the complex legal system and most of all for saving my life. I give Igor and his Team my hands heart shout out Thank You for your dedication, I couldn’t have gotten through it without Y’all.Stephanie SchembriStephanie Schembri ★★★★★ Mr.Vilkhov thank you for keeping our family together we are forever gratefulAndreyAndrey ★★★★★ Highly recommend. Fast and reasonablejs_loader


“Caring, honest, and highly knowledgeable.”

Contact Igor for a Free Consultation!

Please contact us online for a free consultation.
Go to Top