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Domestic Offences

Domestic Violence Lawyers

Our criminal defence team will advocate for you against domestic offence charges to seek the best possible outcome in your circumstances.

A domestic offence refers to a variety of charges that arise from a family member or person in an intimate relationship making an allegation. This includes various types of assault, uttering threats, or criminal harassment. Any allegation of unwanted physical contact or threat of violence and harm could be considered reasonable grounds for arrest. A charge of domestic assault or domestic violence can result in life-altering consequences, including incarceration if you are found guilty.

The lawyers at Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence will lead you through the court process. We understand the importance of protecting your reputation.

A domestic charge relies heavily on the complainant’s testimony. Our defence team will listen to your full story and make certain you receive fair treatment.


What is a domestic assault charge?

Your assault charge may be classified as a domestic assault charge if you have a domestic or intimate relationship with the accuser. This may include a spouse, partner, or family member. The court may treat domestic assault charges with greater severity than assault charges between parties that are not related. This is due to the sensitive nature of domestic assault charges and complex consequences on family dynamics, particularly children.

See “Cases” on our website to view how we have successfully resolved similar cases and prevented the client from receiving a criminal record.

What are the best defences to a domestic assault charge?

The charge of domestic assault is usually based on allegations made by the complainant. Often other circumstances are uncovered during review of the disclosure.This may include civil lawsuits between the parties, child custody disputes or divorce. Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence Firm will thoroughly exhaust all options applicable to your case that would result in no criminal record. These may include having charges withdrawn, entering into a Peace Bond, or seeking an Absolute or Conditional Discharge. If these options are not available for your matter, your lawyer will prepare a vigorous defence to proceed to trial and allow your voice to be heard.

The complainant of the assault changed their mind and does not want to press charges. Can they have the charges dropped?

The complainant can contact the Crown’s office, Victim Services or the police and inform them that they wish to drop the charges against the accused. But this will not happen automatically. It is the police that lay charges based on the statement of the complainant or witnesses. Further, if the accused coerces or forces the complainant to drop the charges, the accused can be charged with obstruction of justice. This is a very serious offence.

Occasionally, the Complainant is no longer available or refuses to attend trial. The Crown may pursue a conviction even without the Complainant’s court testimony by using the statement(s) previously given to police. Alternatively, if the Complainant refuses to attend, the Crown may issue a warrant for the Complainant.

The complainant was hitting me at the time of the alleged incident but I was the one charged. What can I do?

Often, the first person to call the police will be considered the complainant. You can still be charged with domestic assault even if you were also hit during the alleged incident.

Included below are general guidelines that you can follow after an incident:

  • Take photos of your injuries and the scene of the event.
  • Save all text messages, social media messages, and statement by the complainant.
  • Write down all the details of the event and any previous incidents of violence with the complainant.

If you have been charged, it is crucial that you consult the lawyers at Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence before you speak with the police. Your lawyer will explain this offence as described in the criminal code and outline your best options moving forward for your defence based on your specific situation.

The complainant is contacting me. What should I do?

Often when you are released from police custody, you will have a strict set of conditions to follow while your matter is before the court. This usually includes a ban on communication with the complainant. Even if you receive a message or call from the complainant, you must not respond if a no contact condition has been put in place. It is important to remember that if you reply, you would breach your release conditions and receive a further charge and possible criminal record.

Included below are general guidelines to follow if a complainant contacts you:

  • Do not respond to the complainant. Police and/or Victim Services would have already informed the complainant to not have contact with you.
  • Save all communications sent by the complainant. This is especially important if these messages include threats against you, attempts to discuss the charges or statements wishing the charges could be dropped.
  • Do not lose this communication. Send all proof of communication to your lawyer at Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence and ensure that you have saved these messages to your iCloud, Google Drive or other device.

Your lawyer will be experienced in navigating these situations and advise how these unprompted messages can be used to your advantage in cross examination and defence of your case. If you have any questions about your assault case, call Roulston Urquhart today for a free consultation to review your options.

The complainant wants me to move back into our shared home but I still have the release condition that I can not return home. What should I do?

You cannot return to the family home if you have a release condition stipulating that you cannot attend this residence. Your partner inviting you to return home does not override the court order. If you return to the residence, this could result in a breach of your conditions. It is very important for your file that you save all text messages, voicemails and communications to document your partners message. Do not lose this communication. You should send all this documentation to your lawyer at Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence. We will analyze your information and negotiate with the court to have the condition amended or removed if you wish to return home.

I can’t see my kids because the complainant is the other parent. What can I do?

Your release conditions should include an exception to facilitate contact with your children. If this visitation was not specified, your lawyer at Roulston Urquhart can negotiate with the Crown or make an application on your behalf. A third party must be suggested to facilitate the contact with your children. Your lawyer will argue that although you are in a conflict with the mother or father of your children, this should not prevent you from seeing them.

Could the Crown withdraw my domestic assault charge?

The Court will consider the circumstances of the alleged incident when considering a possible withdrawal of your domestic assault charge. The lawyers at Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence have been very successful in negotiating resolutions for these types of charges.

A possible resolution for a domestic assault charge is accepting a peace bond. A peace bond is not a guilty plea. Entering into a peace bond requires an acknowledgment that there has been an apprehension for the breach of the peace and that a peace bond is required to prevent any further breach. By accepting a peace bond, the client does not admit the alleged facts, only that there was an apprehension for the breach of the peace. A peace bond is an undertaking or commitment to abide by a set of conditions for a set time period. These conditions are case specific. Your lawyer at Roulston Urquhart will negotiate these conditions with the Crown Prosecutor and work to represent your best interests. The Justice presiding over the peace bond will make the final determination of the conditions enforced. This may include counselling, updating your probation officer and other conditions. If the conditions are followed for the specified period then the charge is withdrawn and will not appear on your criminal record.

For more serious matters, and when a resolution can not be agreed upon, your lawyer will take your matter to trial. The lawyers at Roulston Urquhart Criminal Defence will thoroughly prepare your argument and discuss strategy to seek an acquittal.

What are the potential outcomes when facing a domestic assault charge?

The potential outcomes of a domestic assault charge include:

  1. Charges withdrawn avoiding a criminal record,
  2. A peace bond, where charges are withdrawn with no criminal record,
  3. An absolute/conditional discharge, after a period of probation which results in no criminal record,
  4. Probation with a criminal record,
  5. Conditional sentence order (also known as house arrest), or
  6. A jail sentence for very serious matters.

The lawyers at Roulston Urquhart prioritize achieving an outcome for clients that avoids a criminal record. We are aware of the potential damage a domestic assault charge causes to your employment opportunities, child custody, immigration status and personal reputation. We will focus on protecting your interests and achieving the best outcome possible.

Relevant Cases

Our past cases prove the practical and effective results in successfully defending and negotiating criminal charges. We will provide you with a step-by-step plan to defend your charges and ideally resolve before trial. Our criminal defence lawyer’s goal is to protect your criminal record and your freedom.


R v E.T. [Calgary Provincial Court]

Offence: Domestic Assault

Result: Charges Withdrawn & No Criminal Record

The client was charged with assault against his former domestic partner. Tonii Roulston reviewed the file and entered into negotiations with the Crown Prosecutor. Tonii Roulston successfully advocated for the client’s charges to be withdrawn upon completion of counselling. The client avoided a jail sentence and does not have a criminal record.

R v G.P. [Pincher Creek Provincial Court]

Offence: Careless use of a Firearm, Domestic Assault, Possession of a Weapon for Dangerous Purpose and Multiple Breach Charges of Failing to Appear.

Result: Conditional Discharge

Our client was charged with numerous offences that could have resulted in an extensive serving sentence. In an effort to mitigate the seriousness of the charges, Tonii Roulston evaluated the personal challenges that our client was experiencing and took a firm position that there was an additional and more effective sentencing option that would better suit the interests of our client. Tonii Roulston was successful in negotiating a conditional sentence that prevented our client from being convicted of these charges.

R v M.R. [Calgary Provincial Court]

Offence: Domestic Assault

Result: Peace Bond

The client was charged with domestic assault. Tonii Roulston negotiated with the Crown Prosecutor and secured a peace bond for her client. The client avoided a lengthy jail sentence and does not have a criminal record.

R v C.M. [Strathmore Provincial Court]

Offence: Domestic Assault

Result: Peace Bond

The client was charged with a violent domestic assault. Tonii Roulston successfully argued numerous applications to protect the client’s right to a fair trial. Tonii Roulston then commenced negotiations with the Crown Prosecutor. Tonii Roulston secured a peace bond for her client. The client avoided a lengthy jail sentence and does not have a criminal record.

R v L.M. [Calgary Provincial Court]

Offence: Domestic Assault

Result: Charges Withdrawn & No Criminal Record

The client was charged with two counts of domestic assault. Tonii Roulston reviewed the file and entered negotiations with the Crown Prosecutor. The charges were withdrawn with completion of counselling. The client had no convictions and no criminal record.

R v C.T. [Alberta Provincial Court]

Offence: Assault Causing Bodily Harm

Result: Not guilty of assault

Our client was tried for assault causing bodily harm. At trial C.T. testified that she was acting in self-defence. The Honourable Judge P.J. Mason found C.T. not guilty of assault.