Contact Posner Craig Stein LLP right now if you have been arrested for or charged with sexual assault. You do not have to face the criminal justice system alone.
Sexual assault charges are serious and can have long-lasting consequences. If someone brings allegations of sexual assault against you, it can ruin your reputation, tear apart your family, and lead to harsh penalties such as a prison sentence and being required to register as a sex offender.
Based on decades of experience defending sexual assault cases, Posner Craig Stein LLP will develop a solid strategy to defend you against the charge you face and advocate for your freedom. We have over 85 years of combined experience representing clients in sex offence cases. Let us put our knowledge and skills to work for you.
For a free consultation with a criminal lawyer in Toronto, call our firm or contact us online today. We will protect your rights and fight for your future.
If you have been convicted of sexual assault, the effects can infiltrate every aspect of your life. You risk losing your job, going to prison, losing your reputation in the community and being stripped of basic rights and freedoms.
You need a defence lawyer to guide you through the complicated legal process. Posner Craig Stein LLP provides our clients with strategic and sophisticated advocacy. We understand how frightening potential imprisonment, fines, and other punishments are. When you hire us, we will offer the emotional support and legal services you need during this challenging ordeal.
Every client’s case is unique, and we approach each one with fresh eyes to determine the right strategy to reach the desired result. We will get to know you and work to meet your needs at every step. You can count on us to stand with you until the end.
In Canada, sexual assault can be defined as any sexual contact that is not consensual. According to the Supreme Court of Canada, sexual assault does not only depend on whether the action causes contact with a specific body part. Instead, it depends on whether the sexual activity violates the sexual integrity of the victim.
Sexual assault is divided into different levels based on the severity of the offence, the part of the body the defendant touched, the words and gestures that accompanied the act, and other relevant factors. A Level 1 sexual assault is an assault involving circumstances of a sexual nature that violates the victim’s sexual integrity and causes either no injury or minor physical injury.
Higher levels of assault exist based on different aspects of the crime. A Level 2 sexual assault is defined as sexual assault with threats to a third party, use of a weapon, or that causes bodily harm. A person commits the offence while committing sexual assault if they:
A Level 3 sexual assault is also called “aggravated sexual assault.” A person commits the crime of aggravated sexual assault if they disfigure, wound, main, or endanger the victim’s life while committing sexual assault.
The victim and perpetrator can be a man or woman. They can be opposite sexes or the same sex. Even a spouse can be charged with committing sexual assault against their husband or wife.
The Crown must prove these elements beyond a reasonable doubt to secure a conviction for sexual assault:
To understand what it takes to be convicted, an understanding of each element of sexual assault is required.
Understanding the Intentional Application of Force
The force used by a defendant while committing a sexual assault need not be violent such as acts of forced intercourse. It can be a gentle touch, or involve groping or rubbing. It can even involve indirect contact, such as using an object to touch the victim. The application of force needs to be intentional. Accidental or involuntary touching does not amount to a sexual assault because it is not intentional.
Understanding the Absence of Consent
Consent concerns the victim’s state of mind during the crime. Consent is specifically voluntary and cannot result from fraud, threats, coercion, or the abuse of a position of authority or trust. Even if someone consents to the sexual conduct, it can be deemed an absence of consent if fraud or other exploitative circumstances contributed to the victim’s decision. Sometimes, a victim of sexual assault is under the effects of alcohol and/or drugs. In such circumstances, the victim may not have the capacity to consent to sexual activity. A defendant who engages in sexual activity with a person that is highly intoxicated may be exposed to prosecution for sexual assault.
Understanding the Knowledge of No Consent
The knowledge of the absence of consent can mean knowing the victim did not consent because they said so. It can also mean the defendant knew the victim might not consent to the sexual activity but continued without asking for consent.
Understanding the Sexual Nature of Touching
The question a judge or jury must answer is whether the touching would appear to be of a sexual nature to a casual observer in all situations.
Canadian law punishes sexual assault according to the type of offence and related factors, such as the victim’s age and whether the defendant is a repeat offender. Minimum and maximum penalties must be observed, and penalties also depend on whether the case the Crown proceeds by summary conviction or by indictment.
The penalty ranges include:
An experienced sexual assault lawyer can help you navigate the potential punishments and seek a lesser charge or dismissed case.
Although there are several kinds of sexual assault charges that can laid against a defendant, the Crown must be able to prove the same four basic elements for each type of assault. Those elements are intentionally applied force, lack of consent, knowledge of lack of consent, and touching of a sexual nature. The categories of sexual assault charges in Canada are:
For the purposes of a sexual assault charge, consent means that a person voluntarily agrees to participate in a sexual act with another person. They must communicate clearly by words or actions that they consent to the activity that is about to occur.
Consent must be present during sexual contact. It must also be ongoing throughout the activity. Someone can withdraw their initial consent at any time, and the other person must stop the sex act.
Even if someone consented to a specific sexual activity in the past, this does not mean they consent to any kind of sexual touching in the future. Consent must occur for every type of activity every time it happens.
Canadian law determines that no consent is given if:
The age of consent is the age when someone can legally agree to engage in sexual activity with someone. Age of consent laws apply to all sexual conduct, including kissing, fondling, oral sex, or sexual intercourse.
In Canada, the age of consent for sexual activity is 16. The age of consent can sometimes be higher under specific circumstances, such as in relationships of dependency, trust, or authority.
A 16- or 17-year-old cannot give consent if:
The close-in-age exception permits consent by minors if the sexual activity is between two people within a specific age range. The exception includes these age gaps:
When you hire a Toronto sexual assault lawyer, they will review your case thoroughly to determine which defences they can use against your sexual assault charge. The defence strategy in your case will depend on the evidence and what your legal team believes could achieve the best possible result.
The most common defences include:
If you’re facing sexual assault allegations, you should hire a lawyer as soon as possible. You might think you can wait and see whether the alleged victim drops the complaint against you or take your time preparing your defence. However, the longer you wait, the more you risk a negative result, including the possibility of a substantial jail sentence.
Posner Craig Stein LLP can assist you from the early stages of your case. We can anticipate potential obstacles and find ways to overcome them, create viable defences, and prepare for the upcoming trial. We will explore every solution to try to reduce your charge or convince the Crown lawyer to drop the case. The path we take will depend on the facts and what we believe best suits your interests.
Don’t leave the fate of your future in the hands of an inexperienced defence team. Here at Posner Craig Stein LLP, we are willing to go the extra mile to deliver exceptional customer service. We handle all our cases in a collaborative manner, so you get the benefit of our combined skills and experience. We stay up-to-date on changes in the law and on the court decisions that interpret that law so we can make the best case for you. On top of that, we will treat you with respect and compassion throughout your case.
Call us at 1.416.391.2118 today for a confidential consultation if you were arrested for sexual assault or face charges and need legal representation during court proceedings.
If you’re being accused of sexual assault, you may begin facing discrimination in your community. Sexual assault charges can have irreparable damage to one’s reputation. The stakes are high, and you can’t afford any guesswork when choosing legal representation. At PCS, we have the right lawyers to defend you. We are recognized among the leading criminal defence lawyers in North York. Our lawyers are considered an authority in defending sexual offence victims. They are respected by judges, prosecutors and defence lawyers all over Ontario. Given our extensive experience and knowledge of this area of law, our lawyers are called upon to deal with high-profile cases as well as complex sexual offences that make the headlines. We work to get our clients acquitted or their charges withdrawn.