Sexual Assault Lawyer

Sexual Assault

From Sexual Assault Lawyers

If you are being charged or investigated for sexual assault in Vancouver, you should not be left to navigate the criminal proceedings alone. Accusations of sexual offences can have severe consequences ranging from jail time, house arrest, and probation to reputational damage and a criminal record. Your ability to find work in your chosen field, obtain certain occupational license, and even travel freely could be inhibited. However, sexual assault cases can be won, especially when you have a lawyer as dedicated as Georges Prat.

A female is depressed by the sexual assault activity

What is Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault is considered a particularly heinous crime that can attach severe stigmas to the accused. Not only can sexual offences lead to a criminal record, house arrest, and jail time, but the fallout can follow you for the rest of your life. As such, consequences as severe as these require strong legal representation. Georges Prat is prepared to represent you no matter the severity of charges.

Sexual assault charges include, but are not limited to:

  • Sexual activity, intercourse, or contact that was forced (physically or by threat)
  • Sexual activity, intercourse, or contact that was not consented to
  • Sexual activity, intercourse, or contact conducted against a person who could not consent (e.g., if the victim was extremely drunk, drugged, or disabled)
  • Sexual activity, intercourse, or contact initiated by a person in a position of power or authority where the victim could no longer truly consent to the activity
If you involve in a sexual assault with a knife, you might lead to prison

Sexual Assault with a Weapon

If you carry, use, or threaten to use a weapon or imitation weapon when committing sexual assault, you may be charged with sexual assault with a weapon. Sexual assault with a weapon is an indictable offence that could lead to a prison sentence of up to 14 years.

If sexual assault causes bodily harm it might go into the prison

Sexual Assault Causing Bodily Harm

If you injure the victim during non-consensual sexual activity, you may be charged with sexual assault causing bodily harm. This form of sexual assault is an indictable offence and could be punishable by up to 14 years served in prison.

Aggravated Sexual Assault

This is more severe than the aforementioned sexual assault causing bodily harm, as aggravated sexual assault means you have wounded, maimed, disfigured, or endangered the life of the victim. An indictable offence, if you are accused of aggravated sexual assault, you could face a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Sexual Assault and Consent

Consent by all parties is required for sexual activity to be considered legal, according to section 273.1 of Canada’s Criminal Code. This means it is the responsibility of all parties involved to ensure they have consented to the sexual activity before it takes place. Consent can be withdrawn at any time by a person’s words or conducts, at which point the sexual activity must immediately cease.

If an individual is intoxicated, they can consent to sexual activity as long as they still have the mental capacity to consent. Also, consciousness is required throughout the entirety of the sexual activity for it to be legal.

“Consent” that is obtained through threat, force, fear, or authority is considered invalid.

Age of Consent to Sexual Activity

Laws for age of consent apply to all forms of sexual activity, including kissing, touching, and sexual intercourse. In Canada, the age of consent for sexual activity is 16 years. There are exceptions for those close in age, with 14 and 15-year-olds being able to consent to sexual activity with partners that are less than five years older than them, and for 12 and 13-year-olds with partners less than two years older than them. In all forms of consensual sexual activity, there must be no abuse of authority, trust, or dependency between partners.

Sexual Assault in the Criminal Code of Canada

Sexual assault is defined in s. 265 of the Criminal Code, the same as an assault, except there must have been a sexual nature to the contact. Whether contact is considered “sexual” depends on the circumstances. The BC Court of Appeal has said that for an accused convicted of a penetrative sexual assault the sentencing range is between 2-6 years in custody. 

Sexual assaults, like non-sexual assaults, have their upgraded counterparts: sexual assault causing bodily harm, sexual assault with a weapon, and aggravated sexual assault.

You can find some of the firm’s case results for sexual assault HERE.

Sexual Assault Charges in BC

Following an allegation of sexual assault, the police will delegate charges to Crown Counsel, as they are responsible for laying charges in BC. Should the allegation of sexual assault be considered credible, Crown Counsel will proceed with the prosecution. This investigation does not require the cooperation of the complainant. However, it is recommended that they seek legal advice to navigate the proceedings and best communicate with Crown Counsel.

Sexual Assault Bail Conditions

As long as you do not have a history of violence, the court will typically be satisfied with releasing you from custody as you await trial. However, that will depend on the seriousness of the allegation and the circumstances surrounding them. If released, you will typically need to avoid contact with the complainant, not go near the complainant, surrender all weapons and firearms, and more.

Sexual Assault Penalties

The penalties you face for sexual assault charges will depend on the facts of the alleged assault. The type of sexual assault (e.g., causing bodily harm, with a weapon, aggravated) and the manner of the assault (physical or emotional) will affect your sentence. When determining the sentence, the Crown Counsel will look at your personal history and the extent of the sexual assault.

Defending Sexual Assault Charges

Sexual assault charges can put your future at risk. Not only could you face jail time, but your career, personal life, and reputation could be compromised by being accused of sexual offences. That’s why sexual assault allegations require immediate legal action. While the circumstance of your case affects the outcome, the lawyer you choose to represent you has an equally significant impact on your sentencing. Sexual assault lawyer, Georges Prat, will use his professionalism, passion, and perfectionism to help you attain top results.

Peace Bond

When a sexual assault case is less severe, the Crown will occasionally agree to resolve it with a peace bond. Entering a peace bond is not an admission of guilt. Rather, it is an acknowledgement that the complainant had grounds to fear the threat of sexual assault, or the welfare of their child, romantic partner, or property. In turn, Crown Counsel will withdraw all charges and you will not be left with a criminal record.

Conditions of a statutory peace bond may include:

  • Keeping the peace and being on good behaviour
  • Not consuming alcohol and non-prescription drugs
  • Avoiding all forms of contact or communication with the complainant
  • Avoiding the residence, workplace, school, place of worship, and other commonly frequented establishments of the complainant
  • Surrendering any weapons and firearms
  • Attending counselling
  • Regularly reporting to a probation officer

Sexual Assault Trial Defences

If your case is taken to trial, there are several defences to sexual assault charges that may be utilized, including:

  • Consent

    There are times when sexual assault allegations are falsely accused by complainants who did consent to the sexual activity in question. In these cases, it is the duty of the Crown Counsel to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the complainant did not consent to the sexual activity. This involves examining the case evidence, discerning the credibility of the complainant, obtaining witness testimony, evaluating video footage, etc. to fight the charges set against you.

  • Honest Belief in Consent

    Intent of sexual assault is an important factor in terms of whether someone is guilty of it. Therefore, if you can demonstrate that you truly believed you had received consent from the complainant and took steps to ensure their consent throughout the sexual activity, you may have defence for mistaken consent. However, if you consumed drugs or alcohol that impaired your judgment, have a reckless perspective surrounding consent, or the consent in question was ignored, guessed, or assumed, this type of defence won’t be successful.

  • Alibi

    It must be demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt by the Crown Counsel that you were present, committed or intended to commit the sexual assault in question. If you have an alibi that can be corroborated by eyewitnesses, video footage, or by other sources to prove you were elsewhere during the time of assault, this can be a powerful form of defence.

Sentencing

If your sexual assault case results in sentencing, Georges Prat can negotiate the terms of your sentencing with the Crown Counsel. As your sexual assault lawyer, Georges can help you minimize the severity of your sentencing.

BOOK A FREE CONSULTATION

Schedule a free consultation with Vancouver lawyer Georges Prat.

Call 604.445.2543