About 40% of Canadian women have reported experiencing some form of sexual assault. While anyone can be charged with sexual assault, 99% of accused sexual perpetrators are men. However, many perpetrators do not consider themselves as perpetrators. In fact, only one in three Canadians know what sexual assault is, according to Sexual Assault Centre statistics. Although, contrary to popular belief, only 2-8% of reported sexual assault claims are false claims, according to the same statistics. How can someone be accused of sexual assault? A person can accuse someone of sexual assault:
- If a person is sexually touched, kissed, or fondled without consent;
- If the person was threatened into engaging in sexual acts;
- If a person is incapacitated (i.e. asleep, unconscious, very drunk or high on drugs) at the time of sex and could not give consent;
- If a person was tricked or manipulated into having sex;
- If a person was physically forced into having sex; or
- If the person was a minor (under 16).
If you or someone you know has been charged with sexual assault, consult with an experienced criminal lawyer to talk about options for a strong legal defence.
What is the Penalty for a Sexual Assault Charge?
Even if there was no actual injury in the sexual assault, sexually touching, kissing or having sex with someone without their consent is clearly defined as a sexual assault. In Canada, the potential penalties for sexual assault depends on the type of sexual assault that occurred. There are different levels of sexual assault in Canada with escalating jail terms:
- Sexual Assault: Sexual assault is an assault (i.e. where a person without the consent of another person, applies force intentionally to that other person directly or indirectly) which is committed in circumstances of a sexual nature such that the sexual integrity of the victim is violated. For example, a sexual assault could range from a momentary unwanted touching of a person’s buttock to a serious rape charge. The maximum penalty is 10 years in prison if the crown elects by indictment. If the complainant is under the age of 16 years, the maximum prison term for an indictable sexual assault is 14 years and the minimum jail term is 1 year. Assuming the crown elects summarily, the maximum term of imprisonment is 18 months. If the complainant is under the age or 16 years, the maximum prison term for a summary conviction sexual assault is 2 years less a day and the minimum jail term is 6 months The sentence imposed will vary depending on the severity of the sexual assault.
- Sexual Assault with a Weapon/Threats/ Causing Bodily Harm: This type of more serious sexual assault has a penalty of up to 14 years in jail. If a restricted firearm or prohibited firearm is used in the commission of the offence, the minimum jail sentence is 5 years. In any other case where a non-restricted or non-prohibited firearm is used in the commission of the offence, the minimum sentence is 4 years in jail. If the complainant is under the age of 16, the maximum jail term is imprisonment for life and the minimum penalty is 5 years in jail.
- Aggravated Sexual Assault: If the accused wounds, maims, disfigures or endangers the life of the complainant, the penalty is far more severe. The maximum possible penalty is imprisonment for life. If a restricted or prohibited firearm is used in the commission of an aggravated sexual assault, the minimum jail term is 5 years. In any other case where a non-restricted or non-prohibited firearm is used in the commission of the offence, the minimum sentence is 4 years in jail. If the complainant is under the age of 16, the minimum penalty is 5 years in jail.
How can a Criminal Lawyer Help Win a Sexual Assault Charge?
The goal of the criminal lawyers at Kruse Law is to build a defence for those accused of sexual assault by either creating a reasonable doubt that the sexual acts were consensual or that they did not happen. This is accomplished by effectively challenging the alleged victim’s credibility and reliability and any other evidence presented at trial. Our team is professional, experienced and knowledgeable in defending all types of sexually related crimes. We are committed to working hard on your case in your best interests. If you or a loved or someone you know has been charged with a sexually related crime in Ontario, contact us at 1-800-699-0806 for a free consultation or visit us online and complete the consultation form. For information about our firm please, visit our homepage and learn more about how we can help you.