It is essential to remember domestic violence is viewed as a criminal offence according to the Criminal Code of Canada. However, in certain situations, there are times when domestic violence cases can intersect across both criminal and family courts.

How Criminal Courts Address Domestic Violence

Criminal courts prosecute those accused of domestic violence as a criminal offence. When a victim files a formal complaint with the police, they are duty bound to fully investigate the claim. Initially, they make take the suspect into custody if they believe the victim’s claim is valid.

Once a formal complaint has been filed, the victim no longer has the ability to drop the charges. Sometimes victims feel remorse afterwards and believe that if they do not drop the chargers they will only make their domestic situation worse. Yet, the Crown’s objective is to ensure the accused is held accountable for their actions.

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Legalized Marijuana for Recreational

When Prime Minister Trudeau took office, his initial goal was to have recreational marijuana legalized by July 1, 2018 – Canada Day. However, there have been delays in the process of passing the law.

Before Canadians despair, the Cannabis Act was passed by Canadian senators back in June, along with some added amendments to the Act. Now the bill has been sent back to the House of Commons, where Parliament will review the amendments and vote on their approval.

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Types of Domestic Violence

In Ontario, there are two different types of protective orders a victim of domestic violence can seek: Restraining Orders and Peace Bonds. It is essential to understand the difference between these two, how they are obtained, and what they entail for the plaintiff, defendant, and any minor children the couple may share.

Restraining Orders

Restraining orders are issued following guidelines contained within the Family Law Act. There is a specific application process and procedure, which all are handled by the Family Law Courts. Anyone that has been the victim of domestic violence can seek a restraining order.

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Some people might mistakenly assume an impaired driving charge is only a minor criminal offence. However, what these people do not realize is the law views this type offence as rather serious. You were behind the wheel of a motorized vehicle and driving while under impairment.

You not only were putting your own life at risk, but also the lives of other pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists on the road. To give you an idea of how serious the law regards impaired driving offences, it is a good idea to review the potential punishments if one is convicted and found guilty of the offence.

According to the Criminal Code of Canada, Section 255(1) is as follows:

Every one who commits an offence under Section 253 or 254 is guilty of an indictable offence or and offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable,

  • Whether the offence is prosecuted by indictment or punishable on summary conviction, to the following minimum punishment, namely,
  • For a first offence, to a fine of not less than $1,000,
  • For a second offence, to imprisonment for not less than 30 days, and
  • For each subsequent offence, to imprisonment for not less than 120 days;
  • Where the offence is prosecuted by indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; and
  • If the offence is punishable on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term of not more than 18 months.

As evident based upon the Criminal Code, even for a first-time offender, there is a fine of at least $1,000. It is also important to keep in mind, aside from fines and potential imprisonment periods, there are several other consequences of driving under the influence. These could include, but may not be limited to:

  • License Suspension/Revocation
  • Driver Education Courses
  • Increase Insurance Rates
  • Loss of Time from Work
  • License Reinstatement Fees
  • Interlock Device Installation and Monitoring Fees
  • Vehicle Towing and Impound Fees

A conviction for an impaired driving offence is also recorded on your criminal record. This could make it more difficult to travel abroad. Some countries will prohibit you from entering their country even when the only offence on your record is for impaired driving.

Hopefully, now you can see that an impaired driving offence is a serious offence you should be concerned about. Even though you might feel like the prosecution has a solid case against you, this is not always an accurate assessment.

In prior cases, some of my clients’ rights were violated in some manner, so this provided a viable strategy to defend against their charges. In other cases, the clients were not actually impaired due to alcohol or drugs.

For these reasons, it is always in your bests interests to consult with a qualified Toronto criminal defence lawyer to discuss your different options and strategies. Please feel free to contact me, Jeff Hershberg, at 416-428-7360 to arrange a consultation appointment today.


Domestic Assault: What to Do If You Are Charged and Arrested

Domestic assault is a common criminal offence where arguments can escalate and turn physical when involved in a relationship. A person does not have to be legally married to the other to file a complaint of domestic assault. Domestic assault applies to any type of relationship between people, such as brothers and sisters, parents and children, cohabiting couples, and recently dating couples.

While assault laws are meant to help seek justice and protect injured parties, complaints for domestic assault are sometimes misrepresented by the complainant. It is not unheard of where one person will get upset because their loved one did or did not do something they wanted.

They might get into an argument and things could escalate. If one person loses their temper at this point and physically assaults the other, then they have committed a criminal offence. However, if the other person simply walks away, until things cool down they have done nothing wrong.

Unfortunately, this is where the law can sometimes be abused. The other person is still angry and fuming so they call the police filing a complaint of domestic assault. At this point the police are required by law to investigate the claim.

They may self-infect bruises, cuts, scrapes, or other injuries to make it appear like they were assaulted. When the police show up, if it appears as though assault occurred, then they could arrest the suspect. Granted, they will talk to the suspect to hear their side of things, but even after that, if they have doubts, they could still arrest the person.

Upon being arrested and charged for domestic assault, you will be held for a period of time in jail prior to your bail hearing. During your bail hearing, the court will determine if you should be released or held until your case is fully resolved.

The Crown’s lawyers are present to ensure the terms of your bail release are to their satisfaction. In some cases, release will not be granted if the Crown’s lawyers feel the person is a potential threat and may cause further crimes upon release.

After being arrested and charged and prior to your bail hearing, you do have the legal right to consult with your own criminal defence lawyer in Toronto. Having a lawyer present during the bail hearing can make the process easier.

In many cases, the person charged with domestic assault has never had any prior legal issues. This could be the first time they have seen the inside of a jail cell, as well as their first time in criminal court. All of this can be very overwhelming and it can be tempting to just plead guilty to the charges and be done with it.

However, that is never a good idea and you will want to exercise your legal rights to achieve the most favourable outcomes possible. If you, a friend, or family member has been charged with domestic assault, please feel free to contact Toronto criminal defence lawyer, Jeff Hershberg at 416-428-7360 for a consultation today!