How a Domestic Violence Lawyer in Calgary Can Help You

What is Domestic Violence?

There are several Criminal Code offences that could be classified as domestic violence offences, depending on whether they occur within a home or family. One of the most common domestic violence charges is assault (section 265 of the Criminal Code). Other Criminal Code charges that may be classified as domestic violence offences include:

  • assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm (s. 267);
  • criminal harassment (stalking) (s. 264);
  • uttering threats (s. 264.1); and
  • sexual assault (s. 271).

There are more serious offences, such as murder and attempted murder, that may also be seen as domestic violence offences.

What Happens If You Are Charged With Domestic Assault?

In serious cases of alleged domestic violence, you may be remanded into custody and held in prison until your trial, which is a process that may take over a year. In the vast majority of cases however, you would be released on bail.

Bail conditions can be quite strict and place numerous restrictions on your liberty. Often in domestic violence cases, you may be required to stay away from the family home, even if you are the legal owner of the property. Other common conditions include abstaining from contact with the complainant (the alleged victim) and other potential witnesses. In domestic situations, this may limit your ability to see your children and other family members. If the bail conditions are too restrictive, a domestic violence lawyer may be able to petition the court into reducing the conditions.

If you are eventually found guilty, whether by pleading guilty or being found guilty after a trial, the punishments range from discharges to prison time. The specific punishment in a given case will depend on how serious the offence in question was as well as if you had a previous criminal record and other aggravating and mitigating factors. In a case where you are a first-time offender who commits a minor assault (e.g., a single shove), you may receive a fine or probation order. In a more serious case involving more violence or if you are a repeat offender, a prison sentence is a strong possibility.

How a Domestic Violence Lawyer Can Help

If you are charged with a domestic violence offence, hiring an experienced domestic violence lawyer in Calgary can help you manage the situation to achieve the best possible outcome. Some of the ways a domestic violence lawyer can assist you include:

  • Help with bail conditions. A lawyer can assist in obtaining manageable conditions of release, either by negotiating with the Crown prosecutor or making submissions to a judge.
  • Defend against the charges. There are several ways to defend a domestic violence charge. In addition to challenging the factual basis of the offence, there are specific arguments (e.g., self-defence) that may apply in your situation. Additionally, an experienced criminal defence lawyer will ensure your Charter rights have been protected and seek to exclude evidence if any Charter violations have occurred.
  • Propose a lenient sentence. The Crown prosecutors are often willing to enter into plea bargains and offer a more lenient sentence in exchange for a guilty plea. Even if you are found guilty at trial, a criminal defence lawyer can make submissions on your behalf and present mitigating factors such as your remorse and rehabilitative efforts. Hiring a defence lawyer can help you receive the lowest prison sentence possible, including avoiding prison all together.

An example of how a criminal lawyer can help is the case of R. v. Briere, 2006 ABPC 149, where the accused was charged with the aggravated assault of his wife. During a physical altercation, Mr. Briere threw one punch, which caused his spouse to suffer facial fractures. The defence counsel for Mr. Briere successfully raised a case of self-defence, noting the complaint threw a glass of wine at the accused, scratched and kick him, and directed insults at him in the moments leading up to the assault. The defence also noted that the complaint launched a civil lawsuit to recover a large sum of money from the accused just prior to the statute of limitations running out, a factor that the judge found concerning.

During the skillful cross-examination of the complaint by the defence counsel, the complaint became evasive, and prone to exaggerating the accused’s actions and downplaying her own. In the end, the trial judge found the accused acted in self-defence and acquitted him of the charge.

Call Dennis Kolba Criminal Law Office for a domestic violence lawyer in Calgary

If you or someone you know if facing a domestic violence charge, call Calgary criminal lawyer Dennis Kolba. He has over 10 years of experience defending clients who have been criminally charged. Call today at 403-464-3013.

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