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Navigating Domestic Violence Charges: What You Need to Know

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Domestic violence is an extremely serious issue, andif affects a shocking number of Canadians every year. But due to the intimate nature of domestic violence, the criminal justice system is not always well calibrated to deal with it. For individuals who find themselves faced with domestic violence charges and want to clear their names, it can be hard to know how to start.

In an attempt to respond to what many perceive to be a history of legal indifference to the pervasive reality of domestic assault in Canada, laws in many parts of the country have been changed to reduce the amount of discretionary power the police have when laying charges.

Unfortunately, this has not always had the desired effect. If the police are called, events that transpire in the heat of the moment and do not represent a pattern of behaviour can quickly move beyond the control of those involved. In some cases, this has led to people feeling that the legal system has made it harder to achieve the ultimate goal: reconciliation between parties.

For those who have been charged with domestic violence, the experience can be bewildering and difficult to understand. If you are currently dealing with a domestic violence or assault charge, here are a few things you need to know:

Negotiating Domestic Assault Charges Requires Good Legal Support

The law is a profession, and just like in other professions, lawyers tend to focus on particular aspects of the law. Just as you wouldn’t go to a cardiologist if you were suffering from a throat infection, it is important to find legal counsel that understands and has expertise in domestic violence law.

This is especially important if you need help with a domestic assault charge —the laws covering domestic violence are extremely complex, and you want to make sure that your legal counsel knows the system inside and out. A good lawyer will offer empowerment through communication, and will translate your personal story into a cogent defense.

Successful Outcomes Rely on a High Degree of Trust

Domestic violence cases are always personal, and behind every call placed to the police in the heat of the moment is a particular story of pain, stress, and aggravation. Trials exist to bring these stories out into the open, to hear all sides so that the judge can make a responsible, reasoned decision based on the facts and the law.

It is extremely difficult to mount a successful defense if you cannot trust your lawyer, and if you aren’t confident that your lawyer can convert that trust into courtroom advocacy that garners results. Make sure that when you look for a lawyer, you find someone who you can trust to listen to your story with an open mind, and work with you to clear your name.

Despite recent changes to the law, most Canadians understand that their legal system is not always good at helping either the victims or the accused in domestic violence cases. Years of lax enforcement have been replaced with a rigid system that is not always sympathetic to the human realities behind domestic disputes, and it is all-too-common for people going through a domestic assault case to feel that their voices are not being heard. This is why it is important for those dealing with domestic assault charges to find a lawyer who understands the issues and has the sensitivity to help you navigate the process and reach a happy conclusion.