Can I Take Back Domestic Assault Charges I Made Against My Spouse or Partner?

sexual-related criminal offence

I get this situation come up quite a lot in my day to day practice. There is a domestic incident whereby one spouse is charged with an assault against their spouse or partner. It could be as minor as a shoving match or as serious as a weapon being used in the assault. Someone called the police and the police came and arrested the spouse for the alleged assault. The arrested spouse (I say spouse but could be partner, boyfriend, girlfriend, etc.) would then be held for a bail hearing or released from the police station after processing. They would likely have certain conditions such as no contact with the complainant (the alleged victim of the assault).

This can be a problem for many reasons that the complainant did not realize when he or she called the police initially. For example, if the couple has children together and the complainant relies on the arrested spouse to care for the children, this will be next to impossible as the arresting spouse cannot be around the complainant. The complainant also advises that they deeply love the accused and did not mean to have him/her charged. So on many instances I get calls from clients who want to know how they can take back assault charges that they made for these and numerous other reasons. The first principle however is for you to understand that complainants (spouses, boyfriends, or girlfriends) do not charge anyone when police are involved. (I am not referring to private informations being laid). In the case of the police laying charges against an individual, the individual is not the one who charges the complainant. It is the state of Canada (Regina versus X, or R. v. X) versus the individual accused.

Therefore, it is impossible or makes no sense to even have such a discussion because the complainant never charged the accused in the first place – it was the Country of Canada that did and the Country of Canada is not a person. As a complainant you can have influence or try to persuade the crown and/or police why the charges should not have been laid to begin with, but this is not the same thing as taking back the charges. A complainant in such a case needs to be careful because it is possible that they gave a statement under oath – also known as a KGB statement. If so, then reversing or trying to take back a statement that was made under oath could very well lead to perjury charges or mischief charges which can be worse than the underlying charge for which the accused is facing. Perjury is a serious offence against the administration of justice.

If you find yourself charged with a domestic assault or want advice about a complaint you made to the police which lead to criminal charges against your spouse, please call Baratz Law for a free confidential consultation at 416-937-3777 or email at

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