Sexual Assault Charges
Calgary's Sexual Assault Defence Lawyers
Being charged with a sexual assault or other types of serious sexual offences is a nightmare for a person who maintains their innocence. Andre Ouellette, Mike C. Gilchrist, Peter Hoare & Sadaf Raja have the experience and compassion you require to minimize the stress in your life and ensure that the legal system does not treat you unfairly. If you are charged with a sexual offense, only the top lawyers will suffice- Call Ouellette Hoare Claxton.
What Constitutes a Sexual Assault?
Canadian law considers any assault which is sexual in nature to be a sexual assault. The court examines the type of contact, the context in which it occurred and other circumstances in establishing if the assault was sexual in nature. Moreover, a sexual offence can only be formed if the alleged victim did not consent on the activity in question.
Typical Allegations of Sexual Assault may include:
- Unwanted touching of a sexual nature (clothed or otherwise)
- Sexual Activity with a person who is unconscious or unable to form consent
- Forced Oral Sex, intercourse or digital penetration
- An unwanted kiss or striking of the buttocks
Sexual assaults are serious offences with strict penalties if you are convicted. Sexual offense convictions will typically involve mandatory minimum jail sentences in addition to registration on national sex offender (SOIRA) and DNA databases. The procedural rules and complicated directives for evidence around sexual offences are often confusing for an unrepresented individual.
How do Calgary Criminal Lawyers Defend your Sexual Assault Case?
We understand that there are multiple sides to the same story. In many cases, we are able to deal with the allegation before you are charged to ensure that you never face the inside of a courtroom. In the event that we cannot have the charges dismissed, we will vigorously defend you in a trial, by challenging the Crown’s witnesses and other evidence and presenting your case in a trustworthy, honest, and compelling manner.
In their case, the Crown must first establish beyond a reasonable doubt that an assault was committed. If it is shown that the alleged victim gave consent, or if there is reasonable doubt as to whether they consented, the accused must be acquitted. In the event that the prosecution is able to prove an assault occurred, they must also establish that the act violated the sexual integrity of the alleged victim (as per Section 271 of the Criminal Code of Canada). Usually this requires the Crown to present qualified medical evidence. Ultimately, if the judge has any reasonable doubt- based in evidence or testimony- they must acquit the accused.
If the police have contacted you as a person of interest in a case of sexual assault, it is important to contact an experienced criminal lawyer now.
What are the Penalties if I am Found Guilty of Sexual Assault?
In cases of sexual assault, the Crown will almost universally request a jail sentence. Peter and Mike have the dedication and experience you will require to argue for the minimum sentence range for you case. We will portray a truthful and detailed version of your character to the sentencing judge and reduce the impact that a guilty verdict may have on your future. Some of the maximum punishments include:
- Registration under the Sexual Offender Information Registration Act (SOIRA), this makes your name accessible by criminal search to Canadian Police Services and, designates you as a sexual offender for 20 years.
- Up to 10 years in a Federal Penitentiary
- Surrender of a sample of your DNA (i.e. blood sample) to be housed at the National DNA databank
- A lifetime weapons ban, including but not limited to firearms
- Up to 3 years of probation
Penalties will also typically increase if the following aggravating factors are involved. In these instances, there can be no errors in your representation and only the top lawyers will suffice.
Aggravating Factors for Sexual Assault in Canada
- predatory sexual behavior
- forcible confinement
- age of the victim and knowledge of true age
- degree of vulnerability of victim (inarticulate, easily manipulated, disabled)
- relationship of trust or offender was in position of authority
- degree of invasion of sexual integrity, degree of violence or force used
- repeated acts of violence
- whether a weapon was involved
- manner of interference (attempted acts, kissing, touching outside of clothes, touching inside of clothes, digital penetration, oral sex, full intercourse), whether there was penetration (digital or penile) / if so, whether there was risk of STDs
- likelihood of rehabilitation, likelihood of re-offense