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Toronto Criminal Lawyer

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Toronto Domestic Assault Lawyer

Toronto Domestic Assault Lawyer Michael Juskey has extensive experience defending these types of allegations.  Domestic assault charges most commonly arise from disputes between family members as well as those in intimate relationships.  One party may call 911, the police will attend the residence, and in most cases somebody will be arrested.  The Criminal Code of Canada requires that the police bring you to bail court within 24 hours.  In many cases the party facing domestic assault charges will be held in custody for a bail hearing the next day.  The arrested party will also be prohibited from communicating with the complainant and, among other conditions, not allowed to attend the family residence.  Domestic assault cases are often very serious situations with extremely difficult consequences.

Police officers and Crown Attorneys pursue domestic assault charges with a particular level of severity given the unique family issues that are usually at play in these situations. These cases are usually heard in designated domestic assault courtrooms where you will find specialized Crown Attorneys with the dedicated resources to prosecute domestic crimes. The most commonly laid charges in this context are:  Domestic Assault Simpliciter, Domestic Assault with a Weapon, Domestic Assault Causing Bodily Harm, Aggravated Domestic Assault, Uttering Threats in the Domestic context, Domestic Forcible Confinement and Domestic Criminal Harassment. If you are facing criminal charges contact Toronto domestic assault lawyer Michael P. Juskey for dependable advice and a strong defence of all domestic allegations.

Michael Juskey was extremely professional and efficient at handling my case. Since day one he was very realistic and when it came time to it all, he over-delivered. I would recommend anyone to a Michael as he is a young , hard working and resilient lawyer that really helped me out as I was cleared of my charges. I greatly appreciated his expertise. Thank you Michael!
– A.S.

What Happens on my First Appearance?

If you have been charged with Domestic Assault you will be given a court date.  This is know as your First Appearance.  Your First Appearance will be outlined in your release documentation and will contain a date, time, courtroom and courthouse address.  In most cases the courthouse will be in the same region where any offence(s) are alleged to have occurred. If you have been charged with an indictable offence, the police will also require that you provide them with your fingerprints and photographs, pursuant to the Criminal Records Act.  Failure to Attend your First Appearance or your fingerprint/photograph date is a serious criminal offence.  It is of utmost importance that you attend for your fingerprints and photographs. If you hire a lawyer, your attendance may not be necessary in court.  At our firm, each of our clients signs what is called a Designation of Counsel, which allows Michael P. Juskey to appear in court for you on the First Appearance and thereafter.    

The First Appearance is strictly administrative in nature and it is uncommon for anything of substance to occur.  The Canadian criminal justice system does not require that defendants be ‘arraigned’ on their first court appearance.  An arraignment is when a defendant is required to enter a plea of ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’ with respect to the allegations before the Court.

When you or your lawyer attend the first court appearance, the crown attorney will provide Disclosure.  In most cases the matter will be adjourned for several weeks to allow the defence to review these materials.  Toronto domestic assault lawyer Michael Juskey will attend court for you and fight vigorously to achieve the best result in your case. 

What is the PAR (Partner Assault Response) Program?

The PAR (“Partner Assault Response”) program is a specialized counselling program that deals with domestic violence and abuse.  The PAR program is an initiative of Ontario’s Domestic Violence Court and offers community based group sessions for individuals who are facing domestic assault charges.  The Ministry of the Attorney General’s Ontario Victim Services funds the program, and it is designed to enhance victim safety and hold offenders accountable.   The program is a form of Early Intervention, and may result in your charges being withdrawn, stayed, or you receiving an Absolute or Conditional Discharge.  The program is offered in many locations and languages and consists of 10-12 group counselling sessions.  If you are considering resolving your domestic assault charges it is very likely that you will have to complete PAR at some point.

Should I sign up for the PAR Program?

If you are asking yourself whether or not you should enter the program, you need to hire a criminal lawyer immediately.  A Toronto domestic assault lawyer can advise as to the best course of action in your case depending on the facts.  It is very important to understand that the PAR program does require a defendant to acknowledge responsibility for some or all of the facts that led to the criminal charges.  If you did not commit a crime, you should not participate in the PAR program.  Our firm’s approach when it comes to domestic allegations is to hear your side of the story and get the full picture first.  It is possible to negotiate resolutions with the crown attorney that do not involve the PAR program or involve an alternative to it.

How Long Does the PARS Program Take?

The PARS program can be onerous for some individuals.  The schedule is fixed and very strict.  If you show up late for sessions you may be refused entry.  This may have an effect on your PARs report, which is provided to the court upon completion or non-completion.  The PARs program typically takes approximately four months to complete, but that may depend on the service provider and how busy they are.

What is the Cost of the PARS Program?

There is no fixed cost to complete the PARs program.  The cost depends on your income.  If your lawyer advises you to complete the program, you will be asked about your income during the intake process.  You may be required to provide proof of income.  This sliding scale for fees ensures that the program does not present a material hardship to individuals who are unemployed or simple unable to pay.

What is a Peace Bond?

A peace bond is a court order that requires an individual to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for a specified amount of time (usually 12 months).  Keeping the peace and being of good behaviour simply translates to not getting into trouble with the law.  These court orders often carry other conditions which can include: not to attend a certain place, no contact directly/indirectly with a person(s) and not to possess any weapons.  This applies to both types of peace bonds.

A peace bond does not result in a criminal conviction and most commonly signed in exchange for the withdrawal of criminal charges.  If you are facing charges, signing this document will not result in a finding of guilt but may have negative repercussions in family law.  It also may appear on a Vulnerable Sector Search after the term has expired.

What is a Common Law Peace Bond?

Our common law has traditionally permitted judges to bind individuals to keep to peace where the judge has apprehended a breach of the peace.  There must be a basis for this apprehension which is usually put on the record in court.  Common law peace bonds have a wider scope can last longer than 12 months if the Court deems it appropriate.

What is a Section 810 Peace Bond?

Statutory peace bonds under section 810 of the Criminal Code of Canada require a sworn complaint.  The person who makes the complaint is referred to as a “complainant”.  The complainant must have a fear for his/her safety (or a loved one or their property) and that fear must be a reasonable one for a Court to make this order.  Statutory peace bonds under section 810 are far more common and cannot exceed 12 months in duration.  This is typically a very good result for an individual who is facing criminal charges, but every case and every client is different.  Signing one of these orders may place restrictions on an individual’s liberty.  There is no substitute to hiring a Toronto domestic assault lawyer to advise you of your options and to always act in your best interest.  Call 416-428-2760 to reach Michael.

What Happens if I Breach the Conditions?

If you breach the conditions of a common law peace bond, you may be charged with the criminal offence of Disobeying a Court Order (Criminal Code of Canada section 127).  This is a hybrid offence which means the prosecution can elect to proceed by summary conviction or indictment.  If the crown proceeds summarily, the maximum punishment is a $5,000 fine and/or 6 months in jail.  If the crown proceeds by indictment, the maximum punishment is two years in jail.

If you breach the conditions of a section 810 peace bond, you may be charged with Breach of Recognizance (Criminal Code of Canada section 811).  If the crown elects to proceed by indictment the maximum penalty is four years in a penitentiary.  If the crown proceeds by way of summary conviction, the maximum sentence is a $5,000 fine and/or 18 months in jail (super-summary offence).

Recent Successes:

R v S.M.
S.M. was charged with domestic assault after an incident at his home. Our office conducted an investigation and provided the crown with additional witness statements that the police neglected to take. As a result, the crown conceded that they would have had a difficult time proving the charge beyond a reasonable doubt at trial. Accordingly the charge was withdrawn. No criminal record.

R v V.J.
V.J. was charged with assault (x2) and choking stemming from a domestic incident. Despite the fact that he had no criminal record, V.J. was facing jail time given the seriousness of the allegations. The crown was of the position that they had a reasonable prospect of conviction given the evidence. V.J. maintained his innocence from the very beginning and a trial date was set. After a 3-day trial, the Court concluded that the complainant was not a credible witness and that the crown had failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. V.J. was acquitted of all charges. No jail. No criminal record. Full vindication.

R v G.S.
Client was charged with domestic assault stemming from an argument with his wife. Shortly after retaining our firm, the client’s Recognizance of Bail was varied, allowing him to return home. The criminal charge of assault (Criminal Code section 266) was eventually withdrawn. No criminal record.

R v K.H.
My client was charged with assault (x2) and forcible confinement stemming from two altercations with his ex-girlfriend. The crown was seeking a suspended sentence and probation and eventually offered my client a conditional discharge throughout the course of resolution discussions. At trial an acquittal was entered on the forcible confinement charge after the evidence was heard. The trial judge held in a reserved judgment that there was an air of reality to my client’s claim of self-defence which left the court with a reasonable doubt as to his guilt. Not guilty of all charges. No criminal record.

If you are a First Offender our law firm will do everything possible to secure a withdrawal of the charges.  Michael offers professional guidance and strong legal representation for all domestic violence charges:

Criminal Harassment
Uttering Threats
Forcible Confinement
Assault with a Weapon
Assault Causing Bodily Harm
Aggravated Assault
Forcible Entry
Attempted Murder
Failure to Attend Court
Failure to Comply (with Recognizance or Undertaking)

Frequently Asked Questions:

How Will a Criminal Record Affect Me?
What Are the Stages of  a Criminal Case?
What Happens if I get Arrested?
What is a Bail Hearing?
What is Disclosure in a Criminal Case?
What is a Crown Pre-Trial?
What is a Judicial Pre-Trial?
How Does a Criminal Trial Work? 

​A domestic assault charge can turn your life upside down. It is imperative that you retain a criminal defence lawyer to protect your constitutional rights and ensure the best possible result. Whether it’s a bail hearing, trial or early resolution, Toronto domestic assault lawyer Michael P. Juskey will work with you closely to achieve the results you desire. If you or a friend are seeking a defence lawyer in Toronto with extensive experience defending criminal charges, call now for a free initial consultation.

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