In Ottawa, an entire courtroom and Crown team is dedicated to prosecuting domestic charges. Typically, the accused is faced with charges of assault, assault causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon, criminal harassment, mischief, choking to overcome resistance, aggravated assault or even attempted murder. The penalties for these offences range from a conditional discharge to potentially decades in prison. For most accused, the most immediate problem will be the bail conditions that require him to reside away from his home and not to contact his wife or girlfriend. These conditions are in place whether or not the victim spouse requests them. Much to the accuseds dismay, despite a uncooperative complainant, the prosecution will proceed. The system will be completely inflexible, preferring long term statistics over the accuseds 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. More realistically however, they are used as leverage by the Crown to attempt to squeeze out a guilty plea at the earliest opportunity. Regardless of the underpinnings of the current domestic prosecution policy, the reality is that being charged will be a life changing event. 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 accuseds life as possible. Despite harsh Crown positions, often 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. Below are a sampling of cases that Mr. Lewandowski has dealt with in the domestic charge context.