Domestic Offences

Violent offences are charges that arise as a result of claims of violence or a threat of violence.

Violent offences we often assist our clients in defending include:

  • Assault
  • Domestic Assault
  • Assault causing bodily harm
  • Aggravated Assault
  • Sexual assault
  • Manslaughter
  • Murder

Your charges may be categorized as domestic if you have a close relationship with the person who complained to the police. This could be your wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend or anyone related to you. Domestic charges could result in higher sentences. 

Roulston Urquhart always looks at options which result in no criminal record. These may include having charges withdrawn, Peace Bond, Absolute or Conditional Discharge, or preparing a vigorous defence at trial. 

See “Cases” on the Roulston Urquhart website to see how we have successfully resolved similar cases without a criminal record.

There are many defences available for someone charged with a domestic assault.

The charges against you are based on allegations made by the complainant. The Complainant is your girlfriend, wife, husband, boyfriend or someone related to you that you have a relationship with.

These are only allegations; that doesn’t mean that they are true. The prosecution of domestic allegations usually relies upon the complainant’s testimony. Often, these complainants have hidden motives, such as civil lawsuits, child welfare matters, or divorce.

The lawyers at Roulston Urquhart will analyze what the complainant alleges happened and expose the truth through vigorous cross examination. We will also ensure you have the opportunity to tell your side of the story.

The complainant can call the Crown’s office, Victim Services or the police and tell them that she wants the charges dropped. You cannot tell her to do this. If you tell the complainant to drop the charges, you can be charged with obstruction of justice. We strongly advise against you doing so.

Your wife or girlfriend wanting the charges dropped or not wanting to proceed could result in the Crown prosecutor having some problems proceeding with the charge. But just because the complainant changes her mind and doesn’t want you to be charged it doesn’t necessarily mean the Crown will just withdraw the charges. Sometimes, the Crown will prosecute the assault even if the complainant wants the charges dropped or recants their allegations. This is because even when a complainant changes their mind about pressing charges, the Crown can still subpoena the witness to come to the trial date. This means they may be required to testify at your trial, even if they don’t want to. The complainant will also be required by law to answer the Crown and the Court’s questions truthfully, or else they can be criminally charged with perjury. 

Sometimes, the complainant is no longer available or refuses to show up for trial. In some cases, the Crown could pursue a conviction even without the complainant’s testimony in court by using the statement(s) that they previously gave to police. In other cases, if the complainant refuses to attend, the Crown may issue a warrant for the complainant if he/she has been subpoenaed. In other circumstances, the Crown may be unable to prosecute your case. This will depend on the various circumstances.

If the complainant changes their story, they can also be charged with public mischief. 

Roulston Urquhart deals with these situations all the time and as you can tell there different scenarios to consider. We can discuss what steps need to be taken to ensure that you’re protected.

Often, the person who calls the police first is the person who the police side with. Sometimes, the accused/client is being charged even though they are the one who is being hit and has been hit in the past by the supposed victim. 

Here are some steps you can take:

  1. Take photos of your injuries and of the scene where it happened
  2. Save all text messages, emails, Facebook or other social media messages, videos and any other statements from the complainant
  3. Write down what happened and all past incidents of violence against you by the complainant.

We can assist you in filing a complaint against the complainant, which may result in a private prosecution against that person.

It is crucial that you consult the lawyers at Roulston Urquhart before you speak with the police if you’ve been charged. Roulston Urquhart will walk you through how to deal with this situation and use it to the best of your advantage in defending these charges.

In most cases, after you are released by police, you will be under conditions that will ban you from contacting your wife or girlfriend (the complainant), even if you live in the same home. It is important to remember that you are the one who is under these conditions of the Court, not the complainant. Even if she contacts you and you reply, you would be breaching your conditions of release and could get a criminal record - or worse, you could end up in jail.

So, what do you do?

  • Do not respond. She has been told by the police and/or by Victims Services not to have contact with you. Even if she gets mad that you aren’t responding, you cannot respond.
  • Save all text messages, voicemails, and any communication. Particularly, if she is making threats against you or trying to discuss the situation.
  • Do not lose this communication. Send all proof of communication to your lawyer at Roulston Urquhart and save to iCloud, Google Drive, or another device.

Roulston Urquhart has extensive experience with Crown negotiation and can help you have your no-contact condition changed.

  • You cannot go back in the home if you have a condition that says you cannot attend that residence, even if she asks you to. This could result in a breach of your conditions.
  • Save all text messages, voicemails, and any communication. Specifically, the communications where she says she wants you back in the home.
  • Do not lose this communication. Send all proof of communication to your lawyer at Roulston Urquhart and save the communications to iCloud or Google Drive.

Contact the lawyers at Roulston Urquhart. They can negotiate or make an application on your behalf to have the no-go condition deleted or amended so that you can go back home.

Your release conditions should include an exception to facilitate contact with your children.If they don’t, we can:

  • Negotiate with the Crown so you can have contact, or 
  • Make an application on your behalf so that contact can be made with the complainant for the sole purpose of ensuring you get to see your kids, or,
  • A third party will be suggested to facilitate contact with your children.

The lawyers at Roulston Urquhart believe that just because you are in a conflict with the mother/father of your children, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get to see your kids.

The simple answer is ‘maybe’. The lawyers at Roulston Urquhart have been very successful in negotiating these charges without a criminal record in the following ways:

  • We can negotiate on your behalf to resolve your matter by way of Peace Bond. A peace bond is an excellent outcome because your charges are withdrawn immediately. For the next year, you will be under Court order to attend various types of counselling and other less onerous conditions. This outcome results in no criminal record.
  • Sometimes, the Crown may withdraw the charges after you attend domestic violence counselling. This requires significant negotiation by the lawyers at Roulston Urquhart with the Crown. The lawyers at Roulston Urquhart will advise you every step of the way.
  • For more serious matters, the lawyers at Roulston Urquhart will negotiate with the Crown to try to get the best resolution possible. In the alternative, if we go to trial, we will help you prepare and strategize your case to have the best chance at an acquittal.

The legal consequences depend on a number of factors, including your criminal history, the nature and extent of the charges and your personal circumstances. 

The potential outcomes of a domestic assault charge are:

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

The lawyers at Roulston Urquhart make best efforts to ensure our clients come out of this situation without a criminal record. We do whatever we can to minimize any damage that could harm your future, travel, employment, custody or immigration status. We will strategize with you to ensure the best outcome.