Conditions Of Release And The Range Of Convictions For Domestic Assault

The accused should be very careful to read and review his conditions of release.

The complainant will probably not be told these conditions and can unknowingly cause serious problems with the accused’s bail commission. Often the terms of the release state that there should be no direct or indirect communication between the accused and the complainant. That applies even if it is the complainant who calls the accused. Most people think, well, you can speak as long as they call you, but the reality is you cannot communicate. If a husband is charged and his wife calls, he needs to hang up the phone. The accused is breaching his bail commission by speaking to her, and under the law, she is counseling him to breach his bail commission by even inviting him to talk and that is a criminal offense.

Often, the accused person is given one trip to collect their property. Here you have to assess the situation. Is the couple ending their marriage or relationship or is this just a little interruption? If the relationship is over, then they need to get their goods and move on. If it is a brief interruption then they need to “chill out” and find a place to live for a month or so. If the situation is hopeful, we will try and resolve it to try and get people back to their homes. Hopefully they will learn from it and it won’t happen again. Very likely there will be some anger management courses in their future, and perhaps couples’ counseling.

Range of Convictions

If an accused pleads guilty early on, the Crown will allow for a discharge, which means you don’t have a criminal conviction and you will be allowed to return home immediately as long as you agree to counseling and counter measure courses. If you don’t agree to plead guilty, then you take a chance at the trial.

Another solution is a peace bond, which does not require pleading guilty. The charge is actually withdrawn, and you enter into a number of conditions quite similar to your bail conditions.

If you are found guilty and you get a conviction, you can get a fine, you can get probation, or you can go to jail.

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If you, or someone you care about, is dealing with criminal law issues in the Ottawa, Ontario Region, contact Engel and Associates for a consultation.

This article is taken from a September 11, 2007 interview with Bruce Engel, Criminal Lawyer with Engel and Associates, an Ottawa, Ontario Criminal Law Firm. Note that laws vary from province to province. Please consult with a lawyer in your own area to be sure of the laws and specific issues in your own jurisdiction.