Email Phone (905) 525-0005 LinkedIn Facebook Twitter
Monthly Archives: December 2015

Dealing with Domestic Assault

What domestic assault? What are the related criminal consequences?

Domestic violence can take many forms. It need not be simply physical, and can include, among other acts, psychologically or emotionally abusive actions, and threats against a partner, children, pets, or property. Though men are commonly accused of committing these acts of domestic assault against  women, domestic violence does not discriminate. It can occur in situations where the woman is the abusive partner, or in same-sex relationships.

There are no criminal charges that deal directly with domestic assaults. Instead, these acts fall under the established assault provisions in the Criminal Code. An individual may face assault charges even if their victim does not experience physical injury, as the criteria for assault specify that use of force or a threat to use force are sufficient to quality the offence.

When criminal charges are incurred related to a domestic assault, the case will progress within the court system through the Domestic Violence Court (DVC) Program. The DVC Program is made up of specialized courts dedicated solely to domestic matters. Aside from addressing the criminal charges in these situations, the DVC Program emphasizes and promotes counselling services for all parties involved.

Moving Forward

It is important to note that domestic issues can be a cyclical process, not only in the sense that they can occur several times within established relationships, but in the sense that these issues can exist throughout generations within a family. While there are ample services for victims of domestic abuse, finding services for those accused of abusive behaviour is not as easy. It is not uncommon to find that abusers have themselves been victims in the past, and would also benefit from counselling services.

In Hamilton, the PAR Program offers programs that address issues domestic abusers face in their own lives. PAR stands for Partner Assault Response, and the counselling PAR provides stresses identifying past and current sources of anger and how to manage such anger in productive and peaceful ways.

Non-Custodial Options

An accusation of domestic assault does not automatically mean that the individual convicted will face time in custody. In domestic cases, it is possible that an individual’s charges will be dropped if they agree to enter into a peace bond. A peace bond is a court order where the individual promises to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for a maximum of one year. There may be additional criteria included in the peace bond, such as conditions that mandate staying away from a certain person or a certain area.

Peace bonds are especially beneficial because they do not give the accused individual a criminal record unless that individual violates the conditions of the peace bond. This is a much less disruptive option for domestic issue resolution.

Finally…

The lawyers at Smordin Law understand the intricacies of dealing with domestic matters. These matters are sensitive and can become especially complex because they involve individuals who have close familial ties. It is important to retain a lawyer in domestic matters, as a lawyer can ensure that individuals have the best chance at a resolution that is most beneficial for all parties involved. If you are facing charges that stem from a domestic situation, contact Smordin Law to discuss your next steps.

Sources:

http://lawfacts.ca/criminal/peace-bonds

http://www.parprogram.ca/par-program/what-do-you-learn

https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/family/violence.php

http://www.cleo.on.ca/en/publications/handbook/what-peace-bond

http://www.cleo.on.ca/en/publications/handbook/what-charges-might-be-laid

https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/ovss/programs.php#domestic

Smordin Law Criminal Lawyers
41 King William St. #200
Hamilton, ON
L8R 1A2
Tel: 1 (905) 525-0005
Toll Free: 1 (844) 525-0005
Fax: 1 (905) 525-5716
www.smordinlaw.com

domestic assault




Being a Surety: What You Need to Know

What is a surety? What are the responsibilities of sureties?

a Surety is a person who makes a promise to a judge or justice of the peace that they will supervise an individual who is accused of a crime and released on bail. They undertake to ensure that the accused is following the conditions of their release, which may include attending all court appearances, avoiding certain people or places, living at a certain address, and remaining sober.

If the accused breaches the conditions of their bail, sureties must inform the police. This is a key responsibility that sureties have.

Sureties also pledges a certain amount of money, called a “recognizance”. This amount of money differs from case to case, but what remains the same is that the surety must be able to prove that they can provide that sum of money if need be. If the accused breaches the conditions of their bail and the surety does not contact the police, the surety may be required to pay the amount of recognizance to the court.

Essentially, a surety is “the eyes and ears” of the court.

Who can be a surety?

Acting as a surety is a voluntary position, and sureties are generally assumed to be individuals who have close ties to the accused, either through familial, romantic, friendship, or community connections. There are certain conditions a person must meet if they wish to do this.

Sureties must be legal adults (over the age of eighteen) and must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents. It is preferred that sureties not have a criminal record, but a minor offence, or an offence committed a significant time before the individual chooses to act as a surety should not be a major hindrance. Victims of the accused’s alleged offence cannot act as sureties.

How do you become a surety?

Potential sureties may appear in court on the day of the accused’s bail hearing. During the hearing, they will be interviewed by the the accused’s counsel and by the Crown regarding their background, their personal connection to the accused, and their ability to provide adequate supervision. The judge or justice of the peace may interject from time to time for clarification. As bail hearings are a type of trial, potential sureties are required to swear or affirm that they are telling the truth before taking the stand.

If approved, their duties begin immediately. Sureties’  duties can end for a variety of reasons, including when the accused’s matters have concluded or resolved, or if the accused gets re-arrested. If the surety chooses to no longer be a surety, the accused will be returned to custody. An approved person can choose to end their involvement in the matter at any time, and do not need a reason for doing so.

Sources:

https://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/about/pubs/sureties.php

http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/glossary/?id=53#results

Smordin Law Criminal Lawyers
41 King William St. #200
Hamilton, ON
L8R 1A2
Tel: 1 (905) 525-0005
Toll Free: 1 (844) 525-0005
Fax: 1 (905) 525-5716
Smordin Law Website

surety




Crown Attorney – What you need to know.

Who is the Crown Attorney?

Criminal proceedings represent cases where the state, Canada, is proceeding against an individual or group of individuals, the accused(s). The Crown, or Assistant Crown Attorney, is a direct representation of a specific province or territory, and handle criminal cases on behalf of the Ministry of the Attorney General. They are called “Crowns” because they represent our official head of state, Queen Elizabeth II.

In the United States, the equivalent of a Crown Attorney would be called a “prosecutor”. There are also prosecutors in Canada, both at the federal and provincial levels. Federal prosecutors handle cases on behalf of the Department of Justice, and deal with matters that include tax and drug offences. Prosecutors can also handle matters that fall under certain Ontario-only legislation, such as The Highway Traffic Act.

All Crowns or prosecutors are either lawyers or students articling (completing the lawyer licensing process) with the Crown’s Office.

crown attorney

What is the Crown’s role in criminal proceedings?

A Crown’s duty is to act in the interests of the jurisdiction, meaning they pursue the case against the accused.

Crown Attorneys review police disclosure (evidence) and decide whether or not it is appropriate to lay charges against the individual accused of misconduct. The Crown Attorney does not specifically investigate cases, but may request further investigation from police services. The Crown is responsible for completing a screening form, which is a document that the accused receives as part of their disclosure package. The screening form will outline the sentence the Crown will argue for should the case proceed to trial. The screening form may also specify the sentence the Crown will argue for if the accused pleads guilty to the offence. It is important to note that the Crown is not the ultimate decider of what sentence the accused may receive. That responsibility belongs to the judge or justice of the peace.

Defence counsel and the Crown Attorney will meet at several stages of a criminal proceeding. They will interact when defence counsel receives disclosure for the accused, they will meet prior to a guilty plea or trial, and if a matter goes to trial, they will argue for their respective sides in court proceedings.

Why Smordin Law

Smordin Law offers a unique advantage, as Sandee Smordin was a federal prosecutor, and thus has experience on both sides of criminal proceedings. This ensures that your representation is the most effective it can be. If you are facing criminal charges, contact Smordin Law to explore your options.

Sources:

http://lawfacts.ca/node/119

http://www.victimsinfo.ca/en/investigation-to-charge/prosecutors-role

Smordin Law Criminal Lawyers
41 King William St. #200
Hamilton, ON
L8R 1A2
Tel: 1 (905) 525-0005
Toll Free: 1 (844) 525-0005
Fax: 1 (905) 525-5716
www.smordinlaw.com




Bench Warrant? Understanding Criminal Law Terms

What is a Bench Warrant?

A bench warrant is a order that a judge or justice of the peace issues against a person who has not appeared for their court matter, or has failed to remain in attendance at their court matter. The warrant is issued to a police officer, and is a type of arrest warrant.

The fact that a judge or justice of the peace issues a bench warrant does not necessarily mean that the individual against whom the warrant is issued will automatically be arrested. If the judge or justice of the peace orders a bench warrant to hold (also called a bench warrant with discretion), that the warrant will be rescinded if the individual is present at their next court date.

Bench warrants serve as a method to ensure that the individual appears for all further court dates, and in addition, serve as a method of punishing those who repeatedly fail to appear for their dates. If a bench warrant is issued against someone, any police officer in Ontario can arrest them and transport them to the location where the warrant was issued.

Bench warrants, like other warrants, do not “expire”, so it is important to address them as soon as possible. This is why it is imperative that individuals retain counsel for their criminal matters. Retaining a lawyer means that warrants can be dealt with expeditiously and efficiently, while ensuring that the individual’s rights are best protected.

bench warrantIn most cases for minor offences there is a pick-up radius placed on a warrant.  Fro example, if a person had a bench warrant issued in Hamilton, Ontario based on a Fail to Appear for a mischief under 5000$ charge, and then a year later they were arrested in Dawson City, Yukon for another alleged offence, the bench warrant from Hamilton would probably not be acted upon based the expense of return the accused to the city of Hamilton.  In accordance with with most police force protocols the accused would be held in custody until the jurisdiction with the warrant in the system confirmed that the accused was outside the “pick-up radius”.

 

Sources:

http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/glossary/?id=469

http://jfcy.org/en/rights/warrants/

Smordin Law Criminal Lawyers
41 King William St. #200
Hamilton, ON
L8R 1A2
Tel: 1 (905) 525-0005
Toll Free: 1 (844) 525-0005
Fax: 1 (905) 525-5716
www.smordinlaw.com




Most Popular Posts