Domestic Assault Lawyers2024-05-09T12:13:15+00:00

Being charged with assault is already serious , but when you are charged with domestic assault, there are additional challenges that you will face. Having a domestic assault lawyer in your corner will help ensure your case is on the right track.

What is domestic assault?

Domestic assault refers to assaultive crimes committed against someone you have a domestic relationship with. Most often, domestic assault occurs between romantic partners.

As a form of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), domestic assault can take place in various settings, including marriage or dating, regardless of gender and sexual orientation and whether or not partners live together or have an intimate relationship.

Definition of Domestic Assault by Criminal Code of Canada

It is not defined in the Criminal Code of Canada. Assault, however, is defined under section 265 of the Criminal Code as the intentional application of force, either directly or indirectly, to another person without their consent. Even attempting to assault or threatening to assault another person through your actions can constitute an assault if the other person believes, on reasonable grounds, that you have the ability to assault them.

Meanwhile, an assault will be viewed as domestic violence when committed against the offender’s intimate partner or a member of the family. Section 718.2 of the Criminal Code identifies such instances as aggravating circumstances to be considered by the court when imposing a sentence.

What to Do if You Get a Domestic Violence Charge?

Considering the gravity of the consequences of conviction and the zero-tolerance policy for IPV in Ontario, domestic assault charges should not be taken lightly. Once a 911 call for domestic assault has been made, it is up to the police to decide whether to lay the charges, even if the other person changes their mind and does not want to press the case.

When you get a domestic assault charge, the police will inform you of your rights to remain silent and the right to retain a lawyer. Your best strategy is to invoke these rights, remain silent and search for a domestic violence lawyer near you as soon as possible to start working on your defence.

Experienced Toronto defence lawyers can fight your domestic assault charges. Call 647-977-5852 or reach out online for a free review.

Why Is It Vital to Hire a Domestic Assault Lawyer to Defend You?

Having a domestic assault lawyer by your side is instrumental in all stages of the criminal process when facing charges. During this stressful period of your life, your lawyer will help you navigate the legal system, advocate for your release on bail, evaluate the prosecution’s case and allegations against you and help you mount a strong defence.

Domestic Assault Penalty in Ontario

A conviction for domestic assault charges in Ontario can have far-reaching consequences for anyone’s life beyond sentencing, including reputation, employment, housing and social opportunities.

  • Sentence for an indictable offence. For aggravated domestic assault, for example, offences involving a weapon or bodily harm, the Crown may choose to prosecute the charges by indictment. In cases where the prosecution proceeds by indictment, the maximum penalty for the most serious form of domestic assault could be up to 14 years in prison.
  • Sentence for summary offence. For less severe cases of domestic assault without aggravating circumstances, the prosecution may proceed with the case summarily. In summary conviction proceedings, the maximum penalty for domestic assault is two years less a day or a fine of up to $5,000.
  • Criminal record. When someone is convicted of domestic assault, they will face the consequences of having a criminal record. Having a criminal record in place, your conviction of domestic assault will be visible to your employer, landlord or border control during a background check before it can be expunged.
  • Probation. For non-aggravated cases of domestic violence, the judge may impose probation with counselling as a form of lighter sentence. Although probation comes with a formal conviction and criminal record, it has a less disruptive effect than a prison sentence, maximizing the liberties of the accused.
  • Restraining orders. When someone is involved in domestic assault charges, they may face no-contact or restraining orders preventing them from communicating with the complainant, their family or other persons. These restrictions can be applied at any stage, including arrest, release on bail as well as after sentencing.
  • Community service. In non-aggravated cases of domestic violence, for example, with first–time offenders, the court may impose community service in addition to or instead of other penalties such as jail time, probation or fines.
  • Counseling or treatment. This option is an alternative court process allowing those involved in domestic violence against their intimate partner to take responsibility for their actions and receive counselling. Before someone is accepted into counselling, they must plead guilty to domestic assault.
  • Surrender of firearms. A conviction for domestic assault charges is often followed by an order to surrender firearms as a measure to protect the complainant and the public.

Levels of Domestic Assault

There are several levels of intimate partner violence charges in Ontario, which define what the penalties are for domestic assault.

  • Simple domestic assault. A domestic assault which does not result in notable physical or psychological harm to the victim and does not involve any object which can be classified as a weapon is the least serious of this type of offence. At the same time, a conviction for domestic assault not involving weapons or bodily harm can result in up to five years in prison for an indictable offence.
  • Domestic assault with a weapon. Due to a wide definition of weapon in the Criminal Code of Canada, any object used to injure or intimidate the victim can fall under this definition, escalating charges to domestic assault with a weapon. Those convicted of domestic assault with a weapon face a maximum sentence of 10 years in indictment proceedings.
  • Domestic assault causing bodily harm. When domestic violence results in bodily harm, which means a notable injury beyond minor injuries like marks or light scratches, the maximum sentence is 10 years in prison if charges are prosecuted by indictment.
  • Domestic aggravated assault. This type of assault, which leads to wounds, maiming, disfigurement or danger to life, is considered the most serious among domestic assault charges. These criminal charges are prosecuted by indictment and can result in imprisonment of up to 14 years.

Defending Domestic Assault Charges

In all criminal matters, including domestic assault charges in Canada, building an effective defence should start as early as possible, preferably immediately after or even before the arrest.

Arrest and Bail

When you are arrested on charges of domestic violence, you will likely be held in custody pending a bail hearing. Retaining a domestic abuse lawyer before the trial would significantly increase your chances of release on bail and allow to start working on the defence strategy without delay.

Analyzing evidence

During the pretrial stage, your lawyer would request all evidence (referred to as “disclosure”) the Crown has against you, regardless of whether the prosecution plans to use it in court. Involving a lawyer in assessing the evidence allows for a comprehensive disclosure, as there are certain elements that the Crown will only release to the counsel.

Choosing the Mode of Trial

If your criminal matter proceeds to trial by indictment, your domestic violence lawyers will advise you on electing the mode of trial, which can have a significant impact on the outcome of your case. You will have the option to choose:

  • trial by a provincial court judge,
  • trial by judge alone in the Superior Court,
  • trial by judge and jury in the Superior Court.

Defence Strategies to Contest the Charges

While no two criminal charges are the same, there are certain defence strategies available under the circumstances. The most common defences to contest domestic assault charges in Ontario include:

  • Factual innocence. With this defence strategy, the domestic violence lawyer raises reasonable doubt about whether the assault occurred. This can be achieved by contesting the testimony and evidence in the absence of visible injuries, the presence of delay in claiming assault and other similar circumstances.
  • Self-defence. When claiming acting in self-defence, the accused needs to prove that they had grounds to believe in the existence of the threat and acted to protect themselves against another person, including an intimate partner. For this defence to be valid, the accused needs to prove that their action was reasonable or proportionate to the perceived threat, including the nature of the threat, physical capabilities of parties to the incident and other factors.
  • Consent. Although the judges have been resistant to recognizing consent in domestic assaults, the existence of consent in an altercation in the absence of notable bodily harm can be used as a defence to domestic violence charges.

Trusted Domestic Violence Lawyers

When facing allegations of intimate partner assault, you need the best domestic violence lawyers to contest the charges. Zero tolerance and “mandatory charging” policies applied by police and the Crown to domestic abuse cases call for the application of the most effective defence strategies tailored to your individual circumstances.

At Vilkhov Law, we have built a reputation as experienced domestic assault lawyers in Toronto and in other cities across Ontario. Our domestic assault lawyers have decades of combined experience in defending against domestic violence charges of all levels, including domestic assault with bodily harm, domestic assault with a weapon and aggravated domestic assault.

Igor Vilkhov, a principal lawyer at Vilkhov Law, has provided legal defence for domestic assault across the Greater Toronto Area. A passionate advocate of the presumption of innocence, Igor is known as an experienced and empathetic lawyer who vigorously defends his clients inside and outside the courtroom.

A seasoned criminal lawyer, Joel Prajs draws upon his extensive background in defending a wide array of criminal charges, including violent offences. With a significant background in bail hearings and bail review, Joel provides effective legal support and defence at all stages of criminal proceedings.

Domestic violence lawyer Igor Vilkhov
Domestic assault lawyer Joel Prajs
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FAQ About Domestic Assault Charges

How long do domestic assault cases last in Ontario?2024-05-08T19:07:25+00:00

After the arrest, the police are under obligation to bring you in front of a judge for a bail hearing in 24 hours. The bail hearing is followed by pretrial hearings and examination of evidence, which can take several months before trial. On average, an overall timeline can range from 12 to 15 months.

What if I am trying to get a divorce and am charged with a Toronto domestic assault?2024-05-08T19:06:45+00:00

Trying to get a divorce and facing charges of domestic assault in Toronto is a double-barreled problem. Your partner may be making assault allegations against you to gain leverage in divorce proceedings or take control of the property. You will benefit from consulting an experienced domestic abuse lawyer and developing an effective defence strategy tailored to your circumstances.

What is a peace bond, and why are they offered in spousal violence cases?2024-05-08T19:05:52+00:00

A peace bond is a type of resolution in domestic assault cases where the accused is not required to admit committing an assault. By entering into a peace bond, an accused agrees to fulfill the restrictions imposed by the court until the expiry of the bond, after which the criminal charges are dropped.

What are possible defences against domestic assault charges?2024-05-08T19:05:07+00:00

There are various defences against domestic assault charges which can be applied depending on the circumstances. These include an argument about the absence of assault, acting in self-defence or presence of consent in the altercation, which did not result in bodily injuries.

How can I change my bail conditions?2024-05-08T19:04:25+00:00

Changing your bail conditions can be an uphill battle due to stricter restrictions imposed on those accused of domestic assault. Hiring an experienced domestic violence lawyer maximizes your chances of being released on the most lenient bail terms.

What happens to a person charged with domestic assault?2024-05-08T19:03:38+00:00

When someone is charged with domestic violence in Ontario, the police will inform them about their Charter rights to remain silent and retain legal counsel, arrest them and place them into custody until a bail hearing. The police will bring the person for a bail hearing to court within 24 hours, where the judge will decide about the bail conditions. The bail hearing is followed by a pretrial appearance, examination of evidence and trial.

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Excellent5.0 Based on 125 reviews fromJessie 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. 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Knowledgeable and helpful. 10/10 would recommend :)GLORIS SPENCEGLORIS SPENCE ★★★★★ Working with Igor and his team during a very unpleasant situation has been a blessing. Even though the legal process was a lengthy one, they were there to answer the questions and concerns we had.Thankfully, it's all over and settled and hopefully we'll not need his services again, but it is reassuring to know that if the situation should every arise where legal counsel is needed, Vilkhov Law Professional will be there in my corner.Thank you.Scott K.Scott K. ★★★★★ I would like to give Igor 5 stars for handling my serious case for the last 11 months of my life. In December 2022, I was wrongfully accused of 2 serious charges under my name however, Igor took care of it from the beginning and finally all of those wrongful charges are withdrawn and now I feel much better and at ease. I am very glad that Igor could help me throughout the hard process and bring out the best result possible! 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