I HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH UTTERING THREATS TO MY SPOUSE—NOW WHAT?
Uttering threats charges tend to arise from incidents that take place in the family home between married couples or common-law partners. The Police and the Crown Attorney’s office automatically classify these cases in terms of domestic violence. This classification generally means that the police will not use their discretion and that the Crown will take a very firm approach to the accusation. Often, the complainant will immediately regret calling the police, but the Crown will not easily drop these charges despite requests by the alleged victim. The purpose is to protect victims of domestic violence, and the police and the Crown take an especially stern approach to these domestic uttering threats cases because of concerns that symbolic threats lead to serious forms of harm, such as physical violence.
WHY DO THE POLICE AND CROWN TAKE A STERN APPROACH?
The punishment sought by the Crown can seem to be totally out of proportion to the allegation. While the case is in the court system, the accused is usually forced to move out of their family home and not communicate with the spouse. The accused faces the prospect of going to jail and having a criminal record. In these situations, Bernstein Law Group schedules what is called a resolution meeting with the Crown, to attempt to vary bail conditions and allow for the accused to move back home and communicate with the spouse. The situation is especially urgent when children are involved.
The police and Crown’s office take their stern approach to uttering threats cases to demonstrate that they are responding to warning signs, especially in the context of domestic relationships. They strive to protect the public. As such, they have a duty to contribute to the creation of safe environments for those in dysfunctional relationships.
WHAT IF MY SPOUSE DOES NOT WANT TO PRESS CHARGES ANYMORE?
Generally speaking, once the police are called and attend at the residence, it is no longer in the complainant’s hands to make decisions on how to proceed with the report. The police will make a decision as to whether they have enough evidence to lay the charges. This evidence may sometimes just consist of a police officer's note reflecting that an apparent threat had been made. A 911 recording can also be used to prosecute the case, even if the 911 call was made by a complainant who later recants their story.
Recanting a 911 narrative is also complex because it is a criminal offence to falsely accuse people of crimes. This is known as Public Mischief. Furthermore, it is illegal to mislead the police, known as Obstruction of Justice.
If the complainant does wish to reconcile, and not move forward with the charges, this may work as a good negotiating tool with the Crown. The Crown may be less likely to vigorously prosecute a case when the complainant does not feel scared and does not wish to pursue the prosecution. The police and Crown, furthermore, are aware that in the vast majority of cases the complainants do not want to proceed with the charges and want to regain contact right away. This is particularly true of domestic uttering threats accusations that take place amidst or shortly after a temporary, heated dispute.
CALL OUR OFFICE TODAY
The lawyers at Bernstein Law Group are experienced with defending Utter Threats charges. There are options that are available to us that may allow you to return home as soon as possible and avoid a criminal record. In order to gain the best results, you may need to enroll in an anger management course or an early intervention program. If you find yourself in the predicament mentioned above, contacting our office immediately for a free consultation of your case is a good step. All criminal charges are serious. At Bernstein Law Group, your lawyers are on your side every step of the way.
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