What are the Consequences of a First Time Domestic Assault Charge Canada?

First time domestic assault charge Canada

Domestic assault not only leaves bruises on the body but also wounds on the heart and mind. Victims can stop this assault by taking the courage to charge the abuser. Canadian legal system treats domestic assault as a grave offence.

Those accused with first time domestic assault charge Canada can face significant legal consequences. Understanding these consequences can help those charged with domestic assault prepare for the legal process and its potential outcomes.

What are the Domestic Assault Charges?

Domestic assault refers to an act of violence committed by one person against another within a domestic relationship. This can include spouses, dating partners, parents, children, and other close family members.

Domestic assault occurs when an individual intentionally uses physical force or threatens to use force that causes harm to another person. It’s a serious offence with significant legal, personal, and social consequences.

Consequences of a First Time Domestic Assault Charge Canada

A first time domestic assault charge Canada can have several consequences, such as;

Criminal Record

A domestic assault charge can result in a criminal record even if the accused is convicted for the first time. This record can have long-term effects on employment, travel, and other aspects of the accused’s life.

Mandatory No-Contact Order

The court will issue a no-contract or restraining order to protect the victim. This order restricts the accused from contacting or approaching the victim. It can disrupt the living arrangements and family dynamics of the victim and the accused.

Potential Jail time

The accused may face jail time, even if it’s the first time, depending on the severity of the assault. Sentences can range from a few months to several years.

Counselling and Rehabilitation

Individuals charged with domestic assault may require counselling, especially if the incident occurred under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

This may include anger management programs, domestic violence intervention programs, or other rehabilitation programs aimed at addressing the issue.


The court may impose probation on the accused without jail time. This includes regular meetings with a probation officer and compliance with certain conditions.

Legal Process of First-Time Domestic Assault Charge

Facing a first time domestic assault charge Canada can be a daunting experience, including serious legal implications. Understanding the legal process can help the accused navigate the system more effectively.

Here is an overview of the steps involved in the legal process;

1.   Arrest and Charge

When police are called to a domestic violence scene, they assess the situation. They can arrest the alleged offender on the spot if they have reasonable grounds to believe that an assault has taken place.

The accused may be taken into custody. Then, the police will file a report and recommend charges to the Crown prosecutor. The Crown prosecutor reviews the evidence and decides whether to proceed with the charges.

2.   Bail Hearing

After the arrest, the accused is usually brought to the court for a bail hearing within 24 hours. A bail hearing determines whether to release the accused on bail before trial or remand them in custody until trial.

3.   Case Preparation

The accused requires a lawyer in this step who can help provide guidance and prepare a defence strategy. The lawyer will provide the defence with all the evidence, including police reports, witness statements, etc.

4.   Trail

If no plea agreement is reached, the case proceeds to trial. Trials may be held before a judge or jury. Both sides present their evidence and call witnesses. After hearing all the evidence, the judge delivers a guilty or not guilty verdict.

5.   Sentencing

If the convict is found guilty, a sentencing hearing is scheduled. The judge considers several factors, including the severity of the assault, the impact on the victim, and any mitigating or aggravating circumstances.

Punishment for First-Time Domestic Assault Charge Canada

The punishment for a first time domestic assault charge Canada varies depending on several factors. This includes the severity of the offence, the circumstances surrounding the incident, and any mitigating or aggravating factors.

If the consequence of the assault is not severe, the accused will be punished for a short period. Otherwise, if the assault causes the victim to suffer the most, the penalty will be severe.

The punishment for domestic assault is jail time or imprisonment.

  • In case of a summary conviction (when the offence is minor), the accused can be punished by six months’ imprisonment.
  • In severe offences, the accused might face up to five years’ imprisonment when the accused is in prosecution.
  • In case of sexual assault that causes severe bodily injuries, jail time might be up to 10 years.
  • In case of an aggravated assault or sexual assault on children under 16 years, jail time can be up to 14 years.

What to Expect if You Are Facing a First-Time Domestic Assault Charge?

If you are experiencing a first time domestic assault charge Canada, you may expect the following:

The Criminal Justice System

The domestic assault cases proceed through the criminal justice system. It’s a complex and time-consuming process involving court appearances, pre-trial processes, and going to trial.

The Role of a Criminal Defence Lawyer

A lawyer can help you understand the charges, advise you on how to plea, and represent your interests in court.

The Burden of Proof

The prosecution takes the burden of proof. The crown prosecutor will try to prove that you committed the crime with all the evidence against you.

Plea Bargaining

There may be opportunities to negotiate a plea agreement. This involves accepting a reduced sentence in exchange for a guilty plea, resulting in a lesser sentence.

How to Get Domestic Assault Charges Dropped in Canada?

The chances of getting assault charges dropped in Canada are very low. It’s mostly up to the crown prosecutor and the judge whether to proceed with or drop charges.

Still, several strategies may help in convincing them to drop the charge. The judge might consider dropping the domestic assault charge if;

  • The accused can convince the judge with words or evidence
  • The judge finds the sentence has no public interest
  • The accused provides a statement to the judge
  • The judge finds no probable cause for conviction


Facing a domestic assault charge for the first time can be overwhelming. Now you know the consequences of a first time domestic assault charge Canada. It is wise to consult an experienced domestic assault lawyer who can help you navigate this complex situation.