Has There Been an Increase in DUI and Other Criminal Activity During COVID-19?

It can’t be ignored that despite stay at home orders and rising cases of COVID-19, crime and DUI remained about the same, if not more. Businesses and individuals both local and elsewhere are feeling the effects of a slower economy, but law enforcement may be seeing an increase in some criminal activity.

Has Crime Changed?

Closed-door crime has had a recent rise. There are more reports of domestic violence and abuse because more people are staying indoors and are forced to be together more than usual. Other crimes such as shootings and robberies have gone down but car theft has seen a perplexing increase. Law enforcement speculates that it could be because people are not tending to their vehicles as much, giving thieves more opportunities to steal cars. The police also report that calls to their department have decreased overall.

How About Burglaries and Breaking and Entering?

Commercial break-ins and burglaries have seen a slight increase. With businesses closed down, criminals are taking it as an opportunity to rob stores and other businesses, often those that do not have security measures in place. On the other hand, home burglaries and break-ins are experiencing a sudden drop.

Is it True That More People Are Committing DUI?

Although drinking and driving have always been a common crime, it is baffling if it is to have as many cases during the pandemic. COVID-19 caused businesses to shut down. Bars, restaurants, clubs, and gatherings are now at a halt, giving people fewer opportunities to get drunk. This observation of fewer cases of DUI cases is not just seen in Ontario. The same observation is evident in other major population centers in North America but this does not mean that a DUI charge can be taken lightly.

Pandemic or not, criminal charges are prosecuted to the full extent of the law. If you know someone who needs a criminal defence attorney or a DUI lawyer in Toronto, rest assured that Calvin Barry is available to take cases. Calvin Barry is a criminal defence attorney in Toronto with decades of experience championing the law.


Understanding Domestic Violence Charges in Canada

The police reports that there is a surge in the number of domestic violence charges in Canada as people are forced to stay home following weeks of the pandemic, but what constitutes domestic violence and who may be charged with it?

Domestic violence and related charges are taken very seriously in Canada due to the close-relationship and proximity of the people involved. Oftentimes, the police, courts, and the prosecutors will take a strict approach and make sure that the accused is met with serious consequences even when the victim decides to recant some statements. The consequences are usually those with life-long effects even when the accused is not found guilty of the offence.

What Falls Under a Domestic Violence Charge?

It is a common misconception that domestic violence is only about physical violence. The fact is that a threat to property also falls under domestic violence although there is no direct physical harm to the victim. If another person interferes with the use of another’s property or utters threats to do so such as threatening to destroy a cellphone or punching a wall, these actions will also fall under domestic violence and may result in a charge. Domestic charges may also result from verbal threats of damaging a property, like in the case of threatening to slash someone’s car.

Related Charges to Domestic Violence

Other non-violent behaviour can result in criminal harassment charges if they are not filed under domestic violence. Words or any form of communication that can make another party reasonably fear for their safety can result in a charge. Don’t forget too that the police can charge based on accusation alone.

Remember that the authorities apply a zero-tolerance policy for domestic violence. A simple act such as holding your partner’s hand while trying to explain your side while in an argument may result in a charge. It is best to consult a domestic violence lawyer if you think you may be charged or if you’ve been arrested for a charge. What is important is to talk to a criminal defence lawyer as soon as possible if you’re the accused because a single wrong move can mean years of jail sentence and facing other life-long consequences. Contact Calvin Barry if you’re looking for a domestic violence lawyer in Toronto. Talk to Calvin Barry today!

Common Questions About Domestic Assault in Canada: Part 2

Domestic assault may be a confusing topic to navigate for a lot of people. If you’ve seen our part 1 of the common questions about domestic assault in Canada, read on for more answers to your questions below.

What Can Be Done if Bail Conditions Prevent an Accused to Go Home or See His/Her Children?

A bail variation can be procured with the consent of the Crown Attorney. Allowing the abuser to return home or have contact with the victim and family members is usually difficult to obtain and will likely involve an agreement with the abuser to enter an Early Intervention Program. A highly skilled domestic abuse lawyer will be able to help and can make a world of difference in getting access to loved ones again.

What is the Early Intervention Program?

Also referred to as PAR or Partner Assault Response program, the Early Intervention Program is a 14-sessions program that provides counselling on anger management, relationships, and domestic violence. A guilty plea is often required to join this program. This program is a requirement when availing of bail variation. After the program is completed, the judge can grant a discharge or the Crown Attorney can ask for withdrawal of charges.

What is the Meaning of Written Revocable Consent?

This is a written consent from the abuse victim saying that they are giving consent to resume contact with the abuser. Once given, the alleged abuser must carry a copy of the Written Revocable Consent at all times. Note that the victim can revoke the consent whenever they want by informing the police.

Can Charges Be Dropped if the Other Party Does Not Show Up in Court?

This is not the case. The Crown Attorney will subpoena the absent party and issue a warrant of arrest if the other party still refuses to come to court. Previous statements on record can be used as well for the trial to push through.

What is the Best Defence Against a Domestic Assault Charge?

The best defences are to have a clear records of facts and to hire a domestic assault lawyer to champion your side. Witnesses may have a huge impact on the outcome of the charge especially for proving non-tangible details that are relevant to the case.

Do you need a domestic assault lawyer in Toronto? Contact Calvin Barry today! Calvin Barry will answer your domestic assault questions and help you develop a better understanding of where you stand whether you are the victim or the accused party in domestic abuse.


Common Questions About Domestic Assault in Canada: Part 1

Domestic assault in Canada has garnered some extra attention in recent weeks due to reports that there has been in increase in cases due to people being stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you want to know some facts about domestic assault in Canada and want some answers to your questions, then read on below.

What is Domestic Assault in Canada?

Domestic assault is not listed as a specific offence in the Criminal Code of Canada. It is only tackled under sections of the criminal code that talks about the different types of assault and described as an alleged assault that occurs within a domestic relationship.

What is the Meaning of Domestic Relationship?

Domestic relationship pertains to an intimate relationship between two individuals of the same sex or the opposite sex as spouses, common law partners, or boyfriend/girlfriend.

What Makes a Domestic Assault Charge So Serious?

Both the police and the Crown Attorney’s office take domestic assault allegations seriously because it is often prevalent in a given society, it involves a huge power imbalance in relationships where the abuser is a man and the abused is the woman, it can have a significant impact on the children living in the home, and it carries a significant risk of violence escalation if not addressed in an appropriate and timely manner.

What Happens After the Police Are Called for an Alleged Domestic Assault?

The police will interview the victim, witnesses, and the accused to investigate the assault. If reasonable grounds are found, an arrest will be made followed by a bail hearing. Any injuries that the victim suffered will be photographed and treated before a formal statement is taken. The police will also assess if there are safety issues for the victim and see if the victim and children involved can be connected to the Children’s Aid Society and the Victim Witness Assistance Program.

Are Charges Always Made by the Police?

This is done if the police found reasonable ground to do so.

What Constitutes Reasonable Grounds for a Charge of Domestic Assault?

If the gathered facts are enough to give an ordinary person reason to believe that assault has occurred, then that is enough to charge someone with domestic assault. The facts could be from witnesses, the victims, or what officers have personally observed.

Do you have more questions about domestic assault in Canada? Contact Toronto lawyer Calvin Barry for more in-depth answers by an experienced domestic abuse attorney. Calvin Barry has decades of expertise dealing with charges of domestic abuse and violence.

What Happens After a Charge of Domestic Assault in Canada?

Both the family and criminal courts in Ontario treat domestic violence as a serious issue with severe punishments. As such, it is best to act as though you are expecting the worst outcome when charged with domestic assault and seek advice from an experienced criminal lawyer as soon as possible to make sure that proper actions are taken on your behalf.

What to Expect as an Accused for Domestic Assault?

Charges of domestic violence requires a court appearance; the first of which means that the accused will appear before a Justice of the peace and the Crown prosecutor will present documents that may be used against the accused. After this, a return date will be scheduled to continue the prosecution proceedings.

When you appear in court as an accused for domestic violence, you have to make sure that you hire a criminal lawyer for your defence and be in court at least half an hour before your scheduled time. Your lawyer will be able to advise you as well as brief you on the things you can expect to follow. If a charge is your first case, you may be eligible for a PAR or a Partner Assault Response program which may cause the Crown to withdraw charges after your completion of the program. A peace bond may be possible too depending on circumstances. What is certain is that there will be non-contact conditions and geographic restrictions, the details of which can be better explained as it applies to your specific case by your lawyer.

Other Legal Matters

You may expect that there will be a restraining order and possible clauses on protecting children (if there are any involved) such as custody provisions and the child support details. Know that a charge of domestic violence or domestic assault does not excuse one from parental duties.

Were you or someone you know charged with domestic assault in Canada? Contact a criminal lawyer right away! Calvin Barry is a criminal domestic assault lawyer in Toronto who has been defending domestic violence charges successfully. Contact Calvin Barry today.


Rising Incidents of Domestic Violence in Toronto During COVID-19 is Alarming, Police Say

As the weeks pass by with key cities in quarantine, more and more people are having a challenging time staying indoors and coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. While there is the good news that overall crime rate dropped 13% when comparing March 2020 to March 2019, there is a marked increase for domestic incidents such as domestic violence, stunt driving, and vehicle theft.

Rising Numbers of Crime

Authorities are concerned about the rising numbers of certain crimes since the start of the COVID-19 epidemic. Below is a breakdown:

  • 45% increase in commercial breaks and enters
  • 44% increase in vehicle theft
  • 22% increase in domestic incidents
  • 60% increase in stunt driving incidents of people driving above the speed limit or more than 50 kilometres per hour

York police spokesperson Andy Pattenden told CBC Toronto that the above numbers are truly troubling, saying that the marked increase in domestic incidents could be attributed to more people staying home and thus, spending more time in closed quarters for extended periods of time. Empty streets due to social distancing and closed businesses were cited as possible reasons for the increase in stunt driving and breaking and entering. Pattenden added that the authorities are hoping that people can be more patient and look forward towards the future when the threat of COVID-19 would be finally over, even if it may take longer than anticipated. Note that the numbers shared above are not yet the official statistics according to the police as they are unaudited.

Impaired Driving and Fraud on the Decline

Because of the limited movement of people, some crimes are decreasing. The police reports that fraud and impaired driving are seeing an overall decrease since the onset of COVID-19, although the numbers of COVID-19 scams may askew perception. Below are the unofficial figures for the crimes that have decreased in number since the onset of the pandemic.

  • 32% decrease in traffic violations
  • 29% decrease in impaired driving
  • 16% decrease in overall frauds
  • 13% decrease in weapons offences such as shooting

Adapting to COVID-19 Changes

The York police said that they are trying to adjust to the changing crime statistic so that they can provide better service to the Toronto community. Part of the changes the police are adapting to are complaints about stores staying open, with people making up to 200 calls a day to report non-essentials businesses that are staying open or to report people who are not maintaining physical distance and failing to isolate themselves. There are no charges filed for reports like these, but the police are also trying to come up with ways to work with the community to adjust to new provisions related to COVID-19.

More Help on the Way

Some good news is that Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey announced that the province will be providing $2.7 million in funds to help victims of domestic violence, stating that they recognize that the home is not always the safest place for those who are experiencing domestic violence in these trying times. Another $1.3 million was also allocated to upgrade technology so that courts and tribunals can operate remotely and be better equipped to handle the changing patterns of criminal activity related to COVID-19.

Have you been charged with domestic violence? Contact us today and let us walk you through how our team of lawyers may be able to help you.

Article Source: Haywood Hunt & Associates Inc.

Why Hire a Lawyer When Facing Charges of Domestic Violence and Domestic Abuse?

Charges of domestic violence and domestic abuse are treated with zero-tolerance Crown policies in Ontario. With the stigma and assumptions faced by those accused of domestic violence or domestic abuse, it is best to be fully informed before making key decisions on how to proceed. A small step can lead to a big mistake, which is why the best initial step is to hire a lawyer who is experienced in handing cases of domestic violence and domestic abuse to ensure that things are handled properly.

Domestic Abuse and Domestic Violence in Canada

When the Crown determines that a situation is of a ‘domestic’ nature, the approach to the case gets a higher degree of seriousness. While this is good news for a victim in such a case, the person charged will face increased difficulty getting bail, going back home, and possibly going back to work. This is because it is a common belief that an abuser will probably hurt the victim again and often with increased severity. This concern is very real and valid but can make life very difficult for the accused who was not yet proven guilty.

Why Hire a Domestic Abuse or a Domestic Violence Lawyer?

Charges of abuse come with a multitude of legal issues which can give rise to more issues and life-long consequences if not addressed effectively as soon as they crop up. An experienced domestic violence lawyer will be able to explain what to expect, what not to do, what can be done as part of the defence, and how to get bail as soon as possible. A good lawyer will also be able to resolve matters as discreetly as possible so that both parties can go back to normal life soon with the least amount of negative long-tern consequences.

Were you or someone you know accused of domestic abuse or domestic violence? Contact Calvin Barry right away! Calvin Barry is a defence lawyer in Toronto with years of court experience and handling charges of domestic abuse and violence.

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre Warns of the Following COVID-19 Scams

Covid-19 seems to be everywhere and so are fraud attempts and scams that are related to it. It isn’t new that fraudsters typically take advantage of times when people are confused to create more mayhem and cash-in from fear. Creative fraudsters do not care about what happens tomorrow, they only care about benefitting themselves and will exploit any avenue to do so, even the outbreak of Covid-19.

Covid-19 Scams

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and local police departments have been performing COVID-19 fraud investigations and are warning people about the rise of fraudulent activity, particularly those that are related to Covid-19 which are spreading faster than the virus itself. The warning talks about fraudsters profiteering from consumer’s uncertainties, misinformation, and fears. Below is a list of Covid-19 related scams to watch out for.

Quick Covid-19 Tests

Note that testing for Covid-19 is only done by hospitals because they are the only ones authorized to do so. Beware of fake kits and swabbing procedures that are being sold for a premium.

Essential Products Hoarding and Selling

This activity has many faces. Some consumers have hoarded essential products to sell later at a much-inflated cost. Some people are taking advantage of consumers who are stocking up by knowingly selling fraudulent or expired products at a bargain. There are people selling products that they claim can ward off the virus or provide a miracle cure. Even U.S. Federal agencies have warned the public about this and government agencies are clarifying that no such product exists yet.  And lastly, some scam artists create ads selling products that do not exist and they do not intend to send once payment has been made. It is best to be wary of products that are priced too high or too low or are promising results that are too good to be true.

Fake Anti-Covid-19 Filters and Cleaning Services

Believe it or not, some scheming heating and cleaning companies came up with fake services that offer Covid-19 filters and other similar claims just to drum up business.

Fake Calls About Hydro/Power Disconnection

Fraudulent individuals started making calls to people claiming their hydro or power could be disconnected if they do not pay them or agree to a special deal, claiming that the victim is behind with his/her bills.

Fraudulent CDC and WHO People

The World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will never offer to sell access to a list of infected people nor offer tests for sale.

False Calls from Public Health Agency of Canada

Fraudsters are pretending to be from Public Health Agency of Canada and calling people to tell them that they’ve tested positive for Covid-19; and that to get access to a prescription and treatment, they will have to comply with providing their credit card and health card numbers.

Phishing Emails from Fake Government Agencies

Some scam artists are sending phishing emails that look like they are from government agencies. The emails are asking for personal details such as financial details and other sensitive data.

This list just contains some of the most common scams that are related to Covid-19. Know that anything that could be too good to be true and cannot be verified through reliable sources are likely to be scams or misinformation. If you’ve fallen victim to what you think may be a Covid-19 scam, be sure to report to the proper authorities.