How can I get my domestic violence charges dropped?

>>>How can I get my domestic violence charges dropped?

Contrary to what many people believe, domestic violence charges will not automatically get dropped if the complaint changes his or her mind and tells the police they no longer wish to charge you criminally. Rather, once a complaint of domestic violence is made to the police and a charge is formally laid, the Crown Prosecutor takes control of the proceedings and the person who made the complaint loses all control over the prosecution of the accused.

In fact, it is possible for a successful prosecution to be carried forward even if the victim will no longer willingly participate in the criminal proceedings. Firstly, the Crown can always subpoena the complainant into court and put him or her on the stand as a witness, even if that person does not want to testify about the offence. Once he or she is on the stand, that person will be compelled by law to tell the truth. Further, if the complainant chooses to ignore a subpoena, under Canadian law the Crown has the power to have that person arrested and brought before the court, or held in custody until they can be brought before the court.

Secondly, in some situations the Crown can seek to have prior statements made by the complainant to the police entered into evidence for the truth of its contents. If the Crown in successful in that application, it may be the case that the statements that the complainant made to the police after the offence can be used to convict you, even if he or she refuses to adopt those statements before the court. Furthermore, the Crown may not even need the complainant’s testimony if they can establish the elements of the offence through eyewitnesses that were present when the crime was committed.

If you do not have a high likelihood of success at trial, there is still a possibility that the charges against you can be withdrawn, or that you can avoid a criminal record with certain resolution options.

How to Get your Domestic Assault Charges Dropped:

A common and effective resolution to a domestic assault charge is a statutory or common law peace bond. A peace bond will require that you abide by certain conditions stipulated by the court for a set period of time. Some examples of the conditions typically included in a peace bond are not contacting or going near the complainant, attending counselling, and keeping the peace and being of good behaviour. If you are able to persuade the Crown Prosecutor to resolve your matter with a peace bond, the criminal charges against you will be withdrawn.

Avoid a Criminal Record with a Discharge:

Alternatively, you may be able to persuade the Crown Prosecutor to join you in an application for discharge prior to trial. A discharge is a sentencing measure that allows you to avoid a criminal record after you have pled guilty to an offence. To get a discharge, after entering your plea you will make submissions to the court that illustrate why you should not receive a criminal record for the offence, and why it would not be contrary to the public interest to allow you to avoid conviction. If granted, you will be ‘discharged’ from the offence as opposed to convicted, and going forward you can always say that you have not been convicted of a criminal offence.

If you are interested in a resolution for your domestic assault charges, you should contact one of our criminal defence lawyers as soon as possible. We have ample experience with domestic assault charges and know what steps to take in order to maximize your chances of securing a favourable resolution.

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All our 30-60 minute free consultations are conducted with one of our Criminal Defence Lawyers and include the following steps:

  1. Gathering of some personal information about you, such as your level of education, occupation, and citizenship status. This information can be crucial for building your defence and seeking a resolution with the Crown Prosecutor;
  2. Careful review of all documents you received from the police. We will explain what each document is, and what you can expect from and need to do for all upcoming appearances;
  3. Critical review of your recollection of events, and any supporting materials you choose to bring with you. This step helps us identify possible defences and avenues for further investigation; and
  4. Discussion of the court process, our fee structure, and what we can do to help.

Beyond these steps, we would be happy to tell you more about us, and answer any questions you may have. If you chose to retain us to help you, we will immediately provide an overview of what steps we plan to take next, and suggestions as to what you should do to improve your chances of a successful outcome.

For the free initial consultation to be as productive as possible, you should bring (or email in advance) the following materials:

  • A written statement (preferably typed) outlining your version of events;
  • All documents that you have been given by the court or by the police;
  • Any disclosure you have received;
  • Photo ID; and
  • Any supporting documents, such as photographs, emails, texts, phone records, medical records, receipts, etc.

Ideally, you will have prepared a copy of these materials for us to keep, but if not, we can always photocopy them during the consultation.

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The cost of a criminal defence lawyer will depend on several factors, including:

  1. how complex your case is,
  2. how serious the charges are, and
  3. how experienced the Criminal Defence lawyer is.

The fees of a competent Criminal Defence Lawyer will typically range into the thousands of dollars. The good news is that only a fraction of that amount is due initially. We offer flexible payment schedules so thefees can be paid in monthly installments.

Additionally, we offer flat rate fees, with no hidden costs. It is our standard practice to review all the costs during the free initial consultation. This means you will know exactly what our services cost at the outset and can make an informed decision about how to proceed.