Toronto Domestic Assault Lawyer Explains Domestic Court Process

Toronto Domestic Assault Lawyer Explains Domestic Court Process


If you’ve been charged with a domestic assault, spousal violence or domestic violence offence, then you may be wondering what the court process is going to be like.

Andrew Captan, an experienced Toronto Domestic Assault Lawyer, explains the process in this article.

A summary of the list of steps that occur in a standard Domestic Assault Case in Toronto can be laid out as follows:

  • Charging process / Domestic Charges Laid
  • 1st Appearance in Court, which is on or around when Disclosure would be provided
  • Crown pre-trial meeting
  • Subsequent Case Management Court Appearances which occur after the first court appearance and are in place to ensure the Court is appraised of status updates in the case
  • Bail / Undertaking Variations – this typically either occurs outside of court
  • Resolution of case or Trial

Charging Process – Domestic Assault

The police in Ontario will be the ones to “press” the Domestic Assault charges.  You would want to consult with a Toronto Domestic Assault Lawyer either if you receive a phone call from police asking you to turn yourself in, or if you are suddenly arrested for a Domestic crime.

The police will either arrest and charge you for a Domestic offence and release you on an Undertaking to a Peace Officer, or will detain you for a bail hearing.

On your Undertaking, a court date will be indicated that you must attend.  Alternatively, if you are held for bail, once you have been granted (or denied) bail, your case will be remanded to a First Appearance after bail.

First Appearance in Domestic Violence Court

This is an administrative court appearance.  If you’ve retained a Toronto Domestic Assault Lawyer, typically the lawyer, or their team, will take care of these types of appearances for you.  The purpose of a first appearance is to confirm whether disclosure has been received, and whether you intend to retain a Toronto Criminal Lawyer (assuming you have not yet).

Once the Court date has been addressed, the matter will be remanded about 5 weeks or so down the road for a further update.

Crown pre-trial Meeting

In between the first and second court date, provided that you have a lawyer retained already, your Toronto Domestic Assault Lawyer would conduct a meeting with the Crown to discuss your case. That meeting is called a Crown pre-trial. 

Case Management Appearances – Domestic Violence Court

After your first appearance, and after a Crown pre-trial, you will have to address your matter at least a few times in case management court, which is a court where status updates are provided to a Judge or Justice of the Peace in order to ensure your matter is moving in the right direction.  If you’ve retained a Toronto Domestic Assault Lawyer, these types of appearances can be addressed on your behalf without you attending, if you’ve come to that agreement with the lawyer.

Bail or Undertaking Variations

Either outside of court, administratively, or during certain types of court dates, you may request that your bail or undertaking conditions be varied on consent of the Crown – such as attempting to return home; gain access to children; have contact with your significant other (the complainant), etc.

A Toronto Domestic Assault Lawyer can assess the prospect of certain changes to your release conditions, and implement a strategy to have them changed in the right circumstances.

Resolution of Case or Trial

Ultimately, your case will either be resolved without a trial or will proceed to trial in front of a Judge.  In an ideal world for you, your charges would be withdrawn by the Crown, leaving you without a criminal record. But not all cases have that ending.  Other cases involve resolutions that involve guilty pleas, where you are sentenced by a Judge.  If you want to raise a defence to your charges, you can set a trial date and let a Judge determine whether you are guilty or not guilty of the crimes with which you’ve been charged.

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