Should You Hire a Criminal Defence Lawyer for a Sexual Assault in Edmonton?
Sexual Assault is a very serious crime and both police and prosecutors aggressively pursue these allegations. If you’ve been accused of or charged with sexual assault, your personal and professional reputations are at stake. If convicted of a sexual offence, jail, a criminal record and a sexual offender designation are almost certain consequences.
Hiring an experienced criminal defence lawyer as soon as you’re questioned, detained or arrested is crucial. Guilty or not, a criminal defence lawyer can be the difference between going to jail and having your charges dropped or dismissed.
Canadian law defines sexual assault quite broadly. According to the Criminal Code, sexual assault includes any physical contact for a sexual purpose, where the other person does not consent. The Criminal Code establishes a number of different sexual offences, increasing in severity, including sexual assault causing bodily harm, sexual assault with a weapon and aggravated sexual assault.
The basis of many assault cases is whether or not consent was given for the sexual activity. Without consent, what would have been normal and legal sexual activity becomes sexual assault.
Consent is a crucial aspect of sexual assault cases. It is a verbal or physical agreement to have sex with someone. Consent is the agreement to engage in the sexual activity in question. The presence or absence of consent determines whether sexual activity between two individuals is legal. Silence, assumption and/or inference is generally not sufficient to establish or prove consent.
The presence or absence of consent can make or break a sexual assault defence. The defendant’s ability to prove consent goes hand in hand with proving their innocence. Defence lawyers often use consent to build a compelling strategy for an acquittal or to have a defendant’s charges dropped.
Why Hire a Criminal Defence Lawyer?
The law takes sexual assault very seriously. Anyone found guilty faces imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years, if indicted. The usual sentence for a sexual assault where sexual intercourse occurred is three years jail. Those found guilty of sexually assaulting a person under 16 years old will be subject to a minimum punishment of one-year in prison and upwards of five years jail where intercourse took place. Additionally, all convicted offenders must register in the National Sex Offender Registry for a minimum period of 10 years.
Support During Police Interviews
Facing the police alone during questioning and interrogation can be intimidating. Officers are trained to pursue information to build their case. An experienced criminal defence lawyer familiar with interrogation techniques can guide you through the process and help you avoid self-incrimination. They will also advise you of your rights and responsibilities. In certain circumstances, they can get your charges dropped.
Lower Chance of Imprisonment
Going to jail is a frightening prospect. A defence lawyer can help you avoid prison, even if you are guilty. With their knowledge and experience in sentencing laws and the criminal process, they can present a solid argument that can help you avoid imprisonment and other severe consequences.
Less Damage to Your Reputation
Your reputation can be significantly affected by a sexual assault charge. There can be negative fallout from just an accusation, even if you’re found not guilty. Our experienced criminal lawyers will examine the evidence and ascertain its merit. They may be able to uncover flaws in the evidence and have your charges dropped early in the process.
The criminal process is complicated; however, having a reputable lawyer can make the difference between a damaged reputation and getting your good name restored.