Sexual Assault

Sexual offences include sexual assault, sexual offences against children, human trafficking, and pornography offences. These offences are among the most difficult to defend in part because of the presence of vulnerable witnesses and the serious societal stigma arising from convictions for these offences. Defending sexual offences often includes third party records applications, hearsay applications, publication bans, and other complex legal issues. Sentences for sexual assault and related offences are usually high and can include lengthy jail sentences. These sentences often include ancillary orders under provincial legislation like ‘Christopher’s Law’ or other restrictions. Misha has extensive experience in defending sexual offences including sexual assault, pornography offences, child sexual offences, and others.

What is Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault is non-consensual contact with another person in circumstances where the sexual integrity of the victim or complainant is violated. While sexual assault can include a wide variety of behaviour, in most cases an accused person, upon conviction, will be added to the sexual assault registry. Related offences include aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault with a weapon.

What is the Penalty for Sexual Assault? Is there Jail Time?

The maximum penalty for sexual assault is 10 years of jail time according to the Criminal Code of Canada.  There are a several other possible outcomes for criminal charge of sexual assault, including probation, fines, and the possibility of having your charges withdrawn. A conviction for sexual assault, however, often carries additional burdens and stigma that other offences, even serious offences, do not. People convicted of sexual assault and related offences are often subject to both federal and provincial orders that require extended reporting to police and staying away from certain places.

What happens if you're charged with Sexual Assault?

Anyone charged with Sexual Assault has a right to counsel. The police must inform you of the reason for your arrest and must make reasonable efforts to assist you to speak with your counsel of choice. Typically, if you are brought to a police station, they will give you an opportunity to speak with your lawyer of choice in a private room.

Depending on the seriousness of the offence and the circumstances of the case, the police may release you from the station or may hold you for a bail hearing. If you are held for bail, they will advise you so that you may make arrangements to contact a lawyer and assist you in contacting your friends or family to act as sureties for your bail. You have a right to be brought before a Justice or Judge within a reasonable time, but in any event within 24 hours of your arrest.

At your bail hearing, your lawyer and the Crown will argue about whether you should be released from custody and, if so, what reasonable terms of bail should be imposed. Any person charged with a crime has a right to a reasonable bail.

Contact our office if a friend or family member has been charged with an offence, or if they are being held for bail.

Why shouldn't I just plead guilty to Sexual Assault?

Pleading guilty to a criminal offence can bring many significant consequences in addition to the fact of the criminal conviction. Criminal records can create barriers to employment, can make it impossible to join professional organizations, or make volunteer opportunities difficult. Depending on the type or length of the sentence, deportation or other immigration consequences may follow. Child custody or access may also be affected by a finding of guilty. Ancillary orders may include reporting requirements under the Sexual Offender Information Registry or prohibitions on attending public parks or other places. Defences may not be immediately obvious and a skilled lawyer may be able to find a complete or partial defence to your charges. Pleading guilty is a very serious decision that no one should make without proper legal advice. Don’t plead guilty to ‘get it over with’. Call our office today if you are considering pleading guilty.

First Time Sexual Assault Charges

The criminal justice system often recognizes that people make mistakes. Some mistakes are bigger than others. People charged with offences, including Sexual Assault, for the first time are usually treated somewhat differently from people with long criminal records. Experienced counsel can assist in obtaining great results for first time charges. This may include diversion before trial or favourable plea agreements. Contact our office to discuss your case and what to expect.

Sexual Assault Legislation

Section 271 of the Criminal Code Covers this Charge

Source: Canadian Criminal Code, Section 271

Sexual assault

271 Everyone who commits a sexual assault is guilty of

(a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years or, if the complainant is under the age of 16 years, to imprisonment for a term of not more than 14 years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of one year; or

(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 18 months or, if the complainant is under the age of 16 years, to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years less a day and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of six months.