Montreal Sexual Assault Lawyers

Charged with Sexual Assault : Learn about our services

No one expects to be charged with sexual assault or other sex crimes. These charges can have severe and immediate consequences from the moment of arrest. When facing a sexual assault charge, it may seem like the presumption of innocence is just a theory rather than reality. It can feel like the burden of proof has shifted onto the accused to prove their innocence rather than the prosecutor to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. 

We begin working on your defence right from the first consultation. We recognize that this is the most stressful time in your life. Our team of Montreal sexual assault lawyers is committed to doing everything possible to provide you with some semblance of peace of mind. We know there are two sides to every story, and we’re committed to fighting for you. Let’s Get Started.

What to Do if You Have Been Charged with Sexual Assault

Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent  

If you’ve been charged with sexual assault or another sex crime, it is critical to exercise your right to remain silent and avoid making any statements to the police. 

The role of law enforcement is to gather evidence, not to act as judge or jury. The police provide information to the prosecutor to help them decide whether or not to authorize criminal charges. Therefore, it is crucial that you only discuss your case with your lawyer.

Prepare Your Defence 

Generally speaking, if you have a good recollection of the events in question, it is usually a good idea that you reflect upon your version of events, and especially take mental note of:

  • Potential witnesses;
  • Messages exchanged between you and the complainant;
  • Words that were exchanged between you and the complainant before, during, and after the events in question;
  • Every sexual act that took place (and how consent was obtained);
  • Why you believe that the complainant was consenting; 
  • Any other evidence that may be useful down the line;

Speak To a Lawyer

You no doubt have many questions and are concerned about your future. You need the guidance and support of experienced counsel who have repeatedly helped people just like you.

Contact us today to learn how we can guide you through this challenging time. We are fully prepared to take on your case. Let’s get started!

STEP INTO OUR OFFICE

UNDERSTANDING SEXUAL OFFENCES AND WHAT TO EXPECT

What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault involves any touching of a sexual nature without the other party’s consent. While consent to sexual activity is a defence (and such consent can be communicated verbally or non-verbally), it must be obtained for each and every sexual act. Notably, the absence of “no” is not “yes.” There is no defence of “implied consent” in Canada. Similarly, consent can be voided if obtained by fraud or deceit or if the complainant lacks the capacity to consent.

What is the sex offender’s registry?

In some circumstances, those convicted of certain sexual offences will have to comply with the Sex Offender Information Registration Act (“SOIRA”). The Sex Offender’s Registry is a private police database containing up-to-date offender information. The duration of a SOIRA order varies from ten years to life. Following a recent Supreme Court ruling, the SOIRA provisions have been updated, and SOIRA orders are only mandatory for a certain class of sexual offenders. Specifically, SOIRA orders are only mandatory if 1) an offender is convicted of a serious sexual offence against a minor or 2) they have been previously convicted of a sexual offence.

What are the consequences of being found guilty of sexual assault?

Sexual assault does not carry a mandatory minimum jail sentence. However, given society’s revulsion towards crimes that disregard a victim’s bodily autonomy (especially where that victim is a vulnerable individual, such as a minor), jail sentences are the norm. That being said, the sentence imposed will depend on a variety of factors, such as the nature of the sexual activity, the characteristics of the victim, the number of instances, the presence of aggravating factors (such as the use of violence or the abuse of a relationship of trust or authority), and the profile of the offender.

I’ve been charged with a sexual offence, how can this file be resolved?

Oftentimes, the narrative of the complainant and the accused do not differ except for one key issue: whether consent was obtained and communicated. Our approach will generally be, to begin discussions with the prosecutor to understand what can be done without the need to go to trial. However, given the present legal landscape, the majority of sexual assault cases will end up going to trial.

If you’ve been charged with a sexual offence, the time to act is now. We’ve helped others facing similar situations and will do everything in our power to help you as well. Contact us today for a consultation.

Facing criminal charges in Montreal or surrounding areas? Contact us now—we’re here to help!

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