Domestic Violence Lawyer

In Canada, there are several types of domestic violence offences with varying consequences. Domestic violence offences may include the following:

Jason Wuttunee | Jason Wuttunee Domestic Violence LawyerDomestic violence prosecutions usually involve alleged common assaults between spouses or intimate partners, but they also include any alleged crime of violence perpetrated against a family member, spouse, or intimate partner. The range of offences include uttering threats, sexual assaults, aggravated assaults, and homicides. The Courts treat domestic violence as more aggravating than violence between strangers. This is because an individual who assaults his or her domestic partner, in so doing, betrays the trust inherent in the relationship between the parties. Theoretically, the breach of trust should result in higher sentences than might otherwise be imposed for similar crimes between strangers, all other things being equal.

The most common offences charged in domestic violence cases are as follows:

  • Section 266 – Common assault.
  • Section 264.1(1) – Uttering threats.
  • Section 267(a) – Assault with a weapon.
  • Section 267(b) – Assault causing bodily harm.
  • Section 267(c) – Assault involving choking, suffocation, or strangulation of the complainant.

Penalties for these kinds of offences can range from conditional discharges to lengthy prison sentences depending on the gravity of the offence committed and the personal circumstances of the offender. The goal of any skilled defence lawyer will be to assist the client in avoiding a criminal record, either by way of a full acquittal, or by assisting the client in building a case for a peace bond, a conditional discharge, or a disposition involving an unconditional withdrawal of the criminal charges.

Peace Bonds


Jason Wuttunee Profile Picture | Jason Wuttunee Criminal LawyerPeace bonds are preventative orders imposed on an accused person requiring them to abide by certain conditions for a period up to 12 months for statutory peace bonds and longer in the case of common law peace bonds. The consequences for violating a peace bond are that the accused can be arrested and charged criminally for the breach, and the state can pursue a pre-determined sum of money from the accused.

The foundational condition in any peace bond is that the accused keep the peace and be of good behaviour.

The Crown will sometimes exercise its discretion to resolve a domestic violence case by way of a peace bond. This is a good result for the accused because it means the avoidance of any criminal record. The Crown withdraws the criminal charges upon the accused entering into the peace bond.

Depending on the relationship between the parties, the Crown may ask for conditions prohibiting the accused from having contact with the complainant or from attending at or near his or her place of residence, business, worship, etc. The Crown can also request conditions requiring the accused to attend for various types of counselling or treatment and to refrain from possessing or consuming alcohol and drugs or from possessing weapons and firearms.

The circumstances of the case and the relationship between the parties often dictates which conditions will be imposed.

Who presses charges?

People often mistakenly believe that the complainant “presses charges” against an accused person and that the complainant has the power to decide whether charges should be dropped. This is totally incorrect in law.

Police are responsible for advancing criminal charges against an accused person. Although they often take the complainant’s wishes into account when deciding whether to lay a criminal charge in a domestic assault, they have a duty to protect the public and will often lay charges against an accused person against the wishes of the complainant.

Once the police lay a criminal charge, the decision on whether to continue a prosecution rests solely with the Crown Prosecutor. The Crown has discretion to terminate a criminal prosecution at any time. How the Crown chooses to exercise its discretion in a particular case generally rests with an assessment of the following two questions:

  1. Is there a reasonable likelihood of conviction?
  2. Is the prosecution in the public interest?

This assessment requires the Crown to understand the nuances of the evidence which the police have collected and the nature of the relationship between the parties.

Bottom line, an accused requires an experienced criminal lawyer who will scrutinize the Crown evidence and who can assist in obtaining the most favourable result in the circumstances.

Jason Wuttunee will assist you in avoiding a criminal record for domestic violence

Jason Wuttunee is a Calgary criminal lawyer who will assist you in avoiding a criminal record for a domestic violence matter. He has almost 15 years experience as a lawyer with 11 years experience as a Crown Prosecutor handling hundreds of criminal cases.