People charged with domestic offence often have one question: “What is the punishment for domestic violence in Canada?”

Domestic assaults are taken more seriously than other forms of assault. It is a lot more difficult for someone to escape a criminal conviction from domestic violence charge than a regular assault.

Prosecutors are more reluctant to drop the charges in a domestic situation. When sentencing a person for an offence in a domestic assault case, the law says the courts are to consider the domestic setting as fact that makes the offence worse.

If you are found guilty of a domestic assault you can be sentenced to up to five years in jail.

Is there non-custodial punishment for domestic violence in Canada?

In some cases of minor assaults for first time offenders, it is possible to get a sentence that does not involve jail time or a criminal record. There are domestic violence programs that are sometimes offered at the prosecution’s discretion. Completing and participating in these programs will improve your chances of receiving a lighter sentence. Sometimes completing this program can also result in you dealing with your domestic assault charges without getting a criminal record. In rare cases, it may even be possible for a lawyer to negotiate the withdrawal of your charges in exchange for certain courses of action on your part such as paying restitution or attending counselling independently. However because of the serious approach that courts and prosecutors take to domestic assault charges, these types of resolutions are rare, especially without an experienced lawyer.

The prosecutor decides who will be given a chance to complete the programs that leave you without a criminal record. As a result, it is important that you have a criminal defence lawyer that can represent you and convince the prosecutor to allow you to participate.

Lakin Afolabi LPC blog material is screened for authenticity as of the date of posting and accurately reflects the law to the best of our knowledge. Because the nature of the legal landscape is ever-changing we do not guarantee the future accuracy or completeness of this blog material past the date of posting. This material is not a replacement for advice received from our team of legal professionals. Any action you take upon the information on this website is strictly at your own risk.