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Domestic Assault Charges and the PAR program

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It has now become standard practice throughout the criminal courts of Southern Ontario to offer an Early Intervention Program for many people facing a domestic assault charge.  For those courthouses that do offer such a program, each will typically have its own particular way of administering it and selecting eligible candidates.  In a nutshell, here is how it works:  If you have been screened for the Early Intervention Program, your case will be adjourned to a day of the month when the Early Intervention Program is being administered.  You will typically be required to sign up for a 16-week anger management program called the Partner Abuse Response or ‘PAR’ program.  You will most likely be required to pay to participate in the program.  Once you sign up for the program, your bail will most likely be changed to allow you to have contact and/or go back home with the written and revocable consent of your partner (the complainant in the case).  This will allow you to communicate and live with your partner while you go through the PAR program.  Your new bail may also contain a condition that you attend the PAR program so that failing to do so could result in a further criminal charge of breaching your bail.  You will be given a court date 16 to 20 weeks away to allow you to complete the PAR program.  Once you have completed the program, the final outcome of your case will be determined.  In some cases, the Crown may see fit to offer a Peace Bond upon successful completion of the PAR program.  In others, the Crown will offer either a conditional discharge or an absolute discharge upon successful completion of the PAR program.  Either form of discharge requires a guilty plea (which must usually be entered at the time of signing up for the PAR program) and will result in a criminal record.  Whether or not the Early Intervention Program is a good idea for you depends on your personal circumstances.  It is best to consult an experienced criminal lawyer before proceeding with this option.

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