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Toronto domestic assault lawyer: why experience matters.
Domestic assault charges turn lives upside down. Like a strike of lightning, one phone call to the police leads to a cascade of disastrous and seemingly irreversible consequences: criminal charges, nights spent in custody, difficulty making bail, a looming criminal case, the prospect of a criminal record, mounting legal fees.
And that's just the beginning...
As an experienced domestic assault lawyer, I've watched the tidal wave of domestic charges shake my clients to their core. What hurts most is the endless barrage of legalities that aim straight for the heart. Bail conditions almost always prohibit contact term between victim and defendants. However long or peaceably they've been married, however minor or misunderstood the allegations may have been, they risk going to jail if they talk.
Homes are vacated, even if the defendant holds the lease or continues to pay the bills. Friends and relatives, previously unaware of any domestic violence, are called upon to act as sureties or to offer their home. If children are involved, the Children's Aid Society can enter the mix, adding to the mountain of stress already being experienced by mother and father alike. Worse still, bail orders may include the children and restrict contact with them if they are alleged to be witnesses.
Compounding issues in the domestic assault context is a legal culture that is too lax on protecting liberty, and too zealous on enforcing rigid rules. To counteract decades of being soft on domestic violence, police now abide by a "must-charge" policy, often with absurd results. As the Toronto Police Service makes plain, "charges are laid in all cases where reasonable grounds exist," even if there is zero prospect of a criminal conviction - even if the allegations are minor, or the victim simply wanted the defendant to get some help.
Ontario domestic charges have become too routine. Rather than exercise their experience and judgment to keep the peace, police are forced to view domestic disputes through the narrow prism of black letter law and policy. The results can be bewildering, and sometimes even tragic.
Silly disputes leading to a single slap can lead to a legal nightmare. Every day items, as basic or as harmless as chewing gum or water, are often interpreted as "weapons". Worst of all, I've seen this no-holds-barred policy re-victimizing real victims: by charging women who, for a brief moment, decided to flee domestic violence by taking a stand.
A solution to decades of under-charging? More like cutting one's nose to spite the face.
For all this, an experienced domestic assault lawyer knows that we are still just at the beginning of the legal nightmare. Let's not forget, for example, Canada's broken bail system, which results in men and women being held in custody for far too long, far too often, and without the necessary legal justification; or the pervasive myths and legal misunderstandings that have filled our clients' heads even before they've sat down for an initial consultation. "So she wants the charges dropped - that's it right?" Actually, it's just the beginning.
Toronto Domestic Assault Lawyer: What to Look For in Counsel
If you've been charged with a domestic assault or other domestic-related incident, you've come to the right place. Shayan Shaffie has successfully handled hundreds of domestic cases - as both prosecutor and defence.
As an experienced domestic assault lawyer, he understands the sensitive dynamics at play across all levels of a domestic case: from the fraught emotional state of clients; to the perspectives and concerns of prosecutors; to devising the strongest possible trial strategies for obtaining a successful verdict.
Shaffie Law has a proven track record of obtaining exceptional results in domestic assault cases. Historically a majority of our domestic cases have concluded by way of a complete withdrawal of the charges, or the issuance of a peace bond as a final means of resolution. Although each case is different, these outcomes typically occur at the "pre-trial" stage of the domestic case - that is, without the need of waiting months or years for a trial date.
An effective Toronto domestic assault lawyer must be part story-teller, part counsellor to his client, and one hundred percent resolute advocate. We encourage you to call or write us if you want to discuss your domestic charges with us.
Get the right advice. Call Shaffie Law today.
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To my valued clients...
I’ve been a determined criminal lawyer since the day I graduated from the University of Toronto law school. I was an Assistant Crown Attorney in the first few years of my career. Today, I’m a staunch defender of my clients. It’s what I do best.
I’ve watched the criminal justice system shape the lives of tens of thousands of good people. Some of them had made an honest mistake. Others were going through extreme personal challenges. Many had been wrongfully accused. Every last one of them had an important story to tell.
I used to believe that success in this profession meant studying and emulating the great lawyers of the past. But with each hard-fought victory I realized that greatness isn’t something that can be imitated. It's earned: through sheer hard work, belief in your clients, and a basic conviction that the criminal justice system wasn't made to serve lawyers, judges or even the police. It was made to serve justice itself. It was made to serve you.
I think about this every time I walk into a court of law.
My philosophy is simple: I believe in the presumption of innocence, and I do what it takes to protect it.
I know what you’re going through, and I’ve helped others get through it.
Let’s talk to see how I can help,
Domestic Assault Charges: Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Do you take Legal Aid for domestic cases?
A. Shaffie Law prides itself on delivering staunch, conscientious, and thorough criminal defence services to each and every one of its clients.
Clients who are accepted on a Legal Aid basis are treated with as much respect and attention as those retaining out of pocket. For this reason, we pay very special attention to the circumstances of each prospective client and their case in order to ensure that funding won't pose an obstacle to providing a full defence.
As a general matter, we do not accept Legal Aid for domestic cases. This is because they are so heavily involved. Domestic cases require a sensitive, contextual teasing out of the parties' history; clients must be adequately informed and prepared at all stages of the process; bail is often a thorny, and sometimes repeated issue; and negotiations with Crown Attorneys, who decide which cases to drop or take to trial, often take months before gaining serious momentum. If the case does proceed to trial, enough time must be allotted for preparing witnesses and researching the murky area of many of the legal arguments often raised by prosecutors.
If you've been charged with a domestic assault and cannot afford a lawyer, we encourage you to call us just the same. We offer complementary consultations and, if we determine that we are unable to accept your case, we may refer to you another trusted lawyer who can.
Q. How much experience does Shayan Shaffie have in conducting bail hearings?
A. Shayan Shaffie has handled hundreds of domestic cases ranging from minor to extremely serious. He has a proven track record of achieving exceptional results, including the withdrawal of charges, without the need of proceeding to trial.
Q. What will a domestic case cost me?
A. We work closely with our clients to arrive at a fee that is sensible, fair, and promises the highest level of representation based on our clients' needs and realistic expectations.
The majority of domestic cases cost between $4,000 to $6,000 plus HST for what we term "core pre-trial legal services". These services include reviewing the case; obtaining missing evidence; working with our clients to understand their story; developing a cogent defence strategy; attending court on our client's behalf, so they can get back to their regular lives; negotiating with prosecutors, often multiple times; discussing the case with a judge; and representing our clients in court if they wish to resolve.
If the matter proceeds to trial, a separate retainer will be discussed for that purpose.