Assault charges are amongst the most commonly occurring matters in Ottawa’s criminal courts. Penalties can range from a conditional discharge to years in prison, depending on the facts of the case. The consequences of a criminal conviction for a violent offence can be devastating. Many employers see these as crimes of moral turpitude and a criminal charge can also make finding employment difficult. Moreover, the stigma that attaches to violent offences can have an impact that lingers for years, even after the matter is disposed of. Security clearances can be compromised, as well as the accused’s ability to travel abroad. Thus, for first time offenders, the goal is to spare the client a conviction, or alternatively, a criminal record.
Ottawa Assault Charges
A large portion of assault charges are of a domestic nature. In Ottawa, an entire courtroom and Crown team is dedicated to prosecuting domestic charges. Typically, the accused faces charges of assault, assault causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon, criminal harassment, mischief, choking to overcome resistance, aggravated assault or even attempted murder. For most accused, the most immediate problem will be the bail conditions that require them to reside away from their home and not to contact their partner, spouse or significant other. These conditions are in place whether or not the victim spouse requests them. Much to the accused’s dismay, despite a uncooperative complainant, the prosecution will proceed. The system will be completely inflexible, preferring long-term statistics over the accused’s current reality. It is unfortunately not unusual for one spouse to attempt to drop the charges.
In Ontario, once the complaint is made the domestic Crown policy is to prosecute the matters to their fullest. In this respect, strenuous bail conditions are upheld ostensibly for the protection of the complainant and the public. Regardless of the underpinnings of the current domestic prosecution policy, the reality is that being charged will be a life changing event. Therefore, having a criminal lawyer on board at the earliest opportunity is essential. Often the matters can be expedited to ensure as small of an interruption in the accused’s life as possible. Ideally, a criminal record can be avoided with proper collaterals and familial support.
Alternatively, where the complainant is attempting to use the criminal justice system as leverage in a family law matter, a trial will need to be set. If you have been contacted by the police or have been charged with a domestic assault, contact Paul Lewandowski immediately.