Charged With a Sexual Assault? Remain Calm. A Criminal Defense Lawyer Will Guide You Through the Next Steps.
Sexual assault is viewed with considerable severity by the Crown. If you are facing charges of sexual assault, it’s important to remain calm and get in touch with an experienced Newmarket sexual assault defence lawyer as soon as possible to help you get the justice you deserve.
Semyonov Law’s team of experienced lawyers have extensive expertise gleaned through years of representing clients at all court levels. We work around the clock to prepare you for the prosecutor’s questioning and strengthen your defence in court.
This article will explore what sexual assault is and what potential charges you can face if you are convicted.
What is Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault can be defined as any unwanted sexual act done by one person to another that violates a person’s sexual integrity and dignity. This can encompass a variety of behaviours including inappropriate touching, groping, kissing or rape.
Sexual assault hinges on the concept of consent. Sexual activity is only considered legal when both parties give their consent. Consent is defined in Canada’s Criminal Code in Section 273.1(1) as the voluntary agreement to engage in the sexual activity in question. The responsibility for ensuring there is consent is on the person who chooses to initiate sexual activity.
The Criminal Code of Canada outlines the definition fo what behaviour constitutes an “assault” in Section 265:
(a) without acquiring the consent of the other individual, he/she uses force intentionally to that other individual, either directly or indirectly;
(b) he/she tries or threatens, through an act or gesture, to exert force to the other individual, if he/she has, or causes that other individual to believe on reasonable grounds that he/she has the ability to affect his/her purpose; or
(c) while openly wearing or carrying a weapon or upon the understanding thereof, he/she engages in accosting or impeding another individual.
The Criminal Code of Canada also outlines 3 primary types of sexual assault, with each one carrying their own corresponding punishments:
Sexual Assault: an assault of a sexual nature that violates the sexual integrity of the victim. This involves minor physical injuries or no injuries to the victim. Sentencing is a case-by-case basis.
Sexual Assault with a Weapon (Section 272): when committing sexual assault, the perpetrator also carries, uses or threatens to use a weapon and causes bodily harm. This carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in jail.
Aggravated Sexual Assault (Section 273): in committing a sexual assault, the perpetrator wounds, maims, disfigures or endangers the life of the victim. This conviction can result in a maximum jail time of 14 years.
Another subset of sexual assault is sexual violence. Although sexual assault itself is not always violent, it can escalate into sexual violence, which is any sexual act or attempt to obtain a sexual act by violence or force.
Moving Forward Once Your Trial Date is Set
A trial date set today, for example, would mean that the trial itself is likely to take place 6-8 months down the line, if not a complete year. It is quite a lengthy process, as such, having a lawyer by your side eases the stress and gives you plenty of opportunity to prepare.
On your behalf, we will file the necessary pre-trial applications, which may include the paperwork to have evidence thrown out, Charter applications, evidentiary applications, and the likes.
At this time, we will also assess the complainant’s psychiatric records and other third-party applications, check if your rights were breached at any stake, and work out other legal and factual details.
When your day in court arrives, the defence team will conduct a cross-examination of witnesses and highlight evidence that helps your defence, whether that entails pointing out inconsistencies, bases, weaknesses or improbabilities in the Crown’s version of events.
These stages are crucial to your overall defence and we cannot stress enough how important it is to prepare well. Big cases could call for hundreds of hours of prep work. You need a reliable and experienced lawyer who can bring about the best results for your defence.
If you are convicted of sexual assault charges, you face a high possibility of jail time.
Generally, any person who is convicted of sexual assault will face jail time for all but the most minor incidents. This is done to deter such behaviour; the courts are trying to send a message that violating the sexual dignity of others will not be tolerated
Anyone who commits a sexual assault is guilty of two primary types of offences:
– An indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or
– An offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 18 months
However, these are only rough numbers; punishment generally depends on the type of sexual assault committed. The length of jail time will depend upon the nature and severity of the assault committed, whether the accused has a prior criminal record for any other offences and the accused’s background or character. If the accused is a person of previous good character, this can help reduce the jail term.
In addition to the sentence passed down by a judge, offenders will be required to register in the National Sex Offender Registry. They must provide information such as their address, phone number and make of their vehicle for identification purposes. A convicted person will also be required to submit a DNA sample to assist in future criminal investigations and will be unable to cross the border.
The Benefits of Contacting a Criminal Defence Lawyer Immediately
Contacting a trusted sexual assault lawyer in Newmarket as soon as possible is highly advisable since sexual assault charges are treated very seriously in court. Your lawyer can explain the process, provide support, have evidence that was obtained not pursuant to the law disregarded and protect your rights.
They possess the legal knowledge and expertise to help strengthen your case and navigate you through the complex legal system, preparing you effectively for the prosecutor’s questioning.
Even if you aren’t convicted, a sexual assault charge can have a lasting impact on your life. If you are facing sexual assault charges, you will need an experienced lawyer who will fight for your rights.