Domestic Assault FAQs

Domestic Assault 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions:

  • How long will my bail conditions last?

    Bail conditions, once in place, last until the end of the case unless they are changed.  Some conditions can be changed easily while others cannot.

  • Can I get my bail conditions changed?

    Yes.  Bail conditions can be changed either with the consent of the Crown Attorney or by successful application to the court.

  • My bail conditions say that I cannot have either direct or indirect contact with my spouse. What does that mean?

    Direct contact typically involves communication such as face-to-face conversation, telephone calls, and e-mails.  An example of indirect contact is passing a message through a mutual friend.  Of course, this is not an exhaustive list.  You should seek the advice of a qualified domestic assault lawyer regarding any questions about your bail conditions.

  • Will a conditional discharge result in a criminal record?

    Though a conditional discharge will not result in a conviction, it will appear on a criminal record check for a period of three years – it will result in a criminal record.

  • What is the PAR or Early Intervention program?

    Many of the courthouses in Ontario now offer an early resolution program.  The programs vary from courthouse to courthouse.  Most of them require that you plead guilty and complete a 16-week Partner Abuse Response (PAR) program at your own expense.  In exchange the Crown often agrees to ask the judge to grant a conditional discharge.  However, the details of the program and the specific outcome of the case may vary from case to case and jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

  • What is a Peace Bond?

    A Peace Bond, in the context of a domestic assault charge, can be imposed upon an accused person by the Court either under the common law or by authority of the Criminal Code.  In some instances, the Crown will offer to withdraw the domestic assault charge in exchange for the accused person entering into a Peace Bond.  A Peace Bond does not result in a criminal finding of guilt.  It is in place for a specified period of time and has conditions attached to it.

  • Can my spouse withdraw the domestic assault charges?

    No.  Once the police become involved and the matter is before the courts, the matter is out of her hands.  However, the Crown may take into consideration the wishes of the spouse in deciding whether to proceed with the criminal charge or not.

  • What if I go to trial and my spouse doesn’t show up?

    Just because your spouse does not attend for your trial does not mean that your case will be dismissed.  The Crown may seek and be able to obtain an adjournment in order to get your spouse to court to testify, in which case your matter may be further prolonged.  The Crown may also have other means of proving your case, such as through the use of a videotaped statement or other witnesses, in which case your trial will still proceed.

  • How long is my domestic assault case going to last before it is concluded?

    That depends on a variety of factors including in which courthouse the matter is proceeding, whether the matter is proceeding to trial or is being resolved without a trial, whether there is a delay in the disclosure process, and various other factors.  Typically though, the time range for a domestic assault case is anywhere from a couple of months to close to a year.  Of course, there are exceptions.

  • I just plan on going to court on the first day and pleading guilty to the domestic assault charge. Is this a good idea?

    A finding of criminal guilt can have consequences (some of which you may not have anticipated) that can last a lifetime.  Though it may be tempting to ‘get if over with’ as quickly as possible, it is strongly recommended that you seek the advice of a qualified domestic assault lawyer.

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