Domestic Assault – Legal Process


Domestic Assault Charge? The Mystery of the Legal Process Unraveled.


Being charged with ‘domestic assault’ has undoubtedly brought a lot of extra stress into your life.  But the road ahead may be a long one and the best way to prepare to deal with it is to understand the court process.  The typical ‘domestic assault’ case will involve not one but several court appearances.  Once you have been charged with ‘domestic assault’ you will be given a date to appear in court.  This is not your trial date.  You are not expected to plead guilty on this date.  It is a date that you must, however, attend.  On this date, your lawyer will usually obtain the ‘disclosure’ from the Crown Attorney.  Disclosure consists of the evidence that has been gathered by the police in the case against you.  Such disclosure typically consists of witness statements, photographs, 911 call recordings, police officer observations, etc.  Your lawyer may be able to obtain none, some or all of the disclosure on the first court date.  For various reasons sometimes the provision of disclosure becomes delayed.  If there is any disclosure missing your lawyer will follow up with the Crown Attorney.  Once your lawyer has obtained the disclosure he or she will go through it and then review it with you.  Following this, he or she will have a meeting with the Crown Attorney’s Office.  This meeting is referred to as a ‘pre-trial’.  The purpose of this meeting is to discuss issues relating to the potential resolution of the case before trial, any outstanding disclosure, and matters relating to trial.  Issues relating to bail and release conditions may also be discussed.  This is the stage at which ‘plea bargaining’ takes place as well.  If there is a possibility of the case resolving without the necessity of a trial, this is when it is typically discussed.  Following this meeting your lawyer will meet with you to discuss the results of his or her pre-trial discussions with the Crown.  At this meeting your lawyer will review your options with you.  Following this, at the next court date, the case is typically either resolved or set down for a trial date.  Of course, the path that each case takes depends on its own particular circumstances as well as your concerns and your lawyer’s approach to the matter.  There are no hard and fast time lines but where the case is to be resolved without proceeding to trial, the case may take 2 to 4 months to conclude.  In a situation where the case proceeds to trial, it may be anywhere from 6 to 12 months before the case is concluded.  There are many factors that can affect how this process unfolds.  To get the best understanding of your situation, consult an experienced domestic assault lawyer at the earliest stage possible.


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