Imagine you are driving to a dinner party with your wife. You are running late. You are both irritated with the other. You both believe the other is the cause for being late. You are bickering on the drive over. Your partner gets frustrated and picks up their cellphone and says s/he is going to call the host and cancel. You grab the cellphone to prevent her from doing so. She yells at you to give it back and starts punching you in the arm. You put your hand out to stop her from hitting you because you are driving. In anger you say that she’d better stop hitting you or she’ll regret it. She gets even more upset and demands you pull over and let her out. You are concerned for her safety of dropping her on the side of the road at night and decided to find a parking lot to pull into some distance down the road to try and talk and calm things down.
If at the end of this scenario your partner gets out of the car and calls the police, you could be facing a number of charges. You could be charged with mischief for taking the phone away, depriving her of the enjoyment of her property. You could be charged with assault for trying to stop her from hitting you, as you touched her without her consent. You could be charged with uttering a threat for saying she’d regret it if she doesn’t stop hitting you. You could be charged with forcible confinement for not letting her out of the car when she asked. A simple 15 minute in a car with our spouse could result in a number of charges, all of which carry the possibility of a jail sentence.
Domestic violence cases take all forms. They are not all cases of the husband physically assaulting the wife. Oftentimes an argument that gets too heated or out of hand can result in a number of charges, even if you never strike your partner. Domestic violence cases are treated differently by the Court and by the Crown. If your partner later regrets calling the police and having you charged, they do not have the ability to drop the charges. That is only a choice the Crown can make and is one they do not often make in domestic violence cases.
A domestic violence charge can have a dramatic effect on all aspect of your life. It is important to hire a lawyer early on, who can provide you with the advice and guidance needed to manage the criminal justice system.