Simply put, domestic violence occurs when a person is abused by an intimate partner. Intimate partner refers to a current or former spouse, common-law partner and dating partner. The term « violence » must be widely interpreted and include physical or psychological forms of violence. Indeed, we can speak of domestic violence not only in cases of assault, but also in cases of harassment or threats when they are made to an intimate partner.
The possibility of being kept in custody
If a complaint of domestic violence is made against you by the plaintiff or a third party, police officers often detain you following your arrest in order to ensure the plaintiff’s safety. The next day, you will stand in front of a Judge. It is important to have an experienced lawyer who will advocate on your behalf in order for you to be released and be on bail throughout the judicial proceedings.
Conditions upon release
When a person is charged with a criminal offense classified as domestic violence and released upon arrest or appearance, conditions will be imposed on him or her to ensure the protection of the plaintiff. These conditions can have a significant impact on the defendant, particularly when children are involved. It is common for an accused to be limited in the communication or access of his children. One of your lawyer’s duties is to negotiate these conditions so that they are reasonable for you and limited to what is really necessary.
The specific procedure
The procedure in cases of domestic violence is unique in a way that the prosecutor must always meet with the plaintiff from the outset to find out what his or her motives are. It is important to understand that even if the plaintiff states that he or she does not want to continue the claim or go to court, it is the prosecutor who has the discretion to proceed with the case. In fact, in some cases, there may be third parties such as neighbours or police officers who would be willing to testify against you. It would therefore be in the prosecutor’s interest to move forward, despite the plaintiff’s withdrawal.
This is where the need for a defence lawyer who can negotiate with the prosecutor or properly represent you at trial comes into play.
Need a lawyer in Quebec?
Are you being charged with a criminal offense classified as domestic violence? Feel free to hire our experienced criminal defense lawyers. They will be able to offer you the best assistance.