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Sexual Assault Lawyer Toronto

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Sexual assault is an accusation that no one wants to be attached to their name. If convicted, you face several consequences.

  • Significant jail time.
  • Collection of your DNA.
  • Compliance with the Sex Offender Registry.
  • Stigmatized being charged with sexual assault.

When you’re being accused of sexual assault, do not take a chance by betting on the wrong sexual assault lawyer Toronto.

Contact Joshua Goldberg Law for the best criminal defense for sexual assault, sexual interference, and sexual exploitation.

Overview Of Sexual Assault Law In Toronto

Sexual assault is considered ‘an assault of a sexual nature that violates the sexual integrity of the complainant’, according to the criminal code.

To prove an assault is of a sexual nature, a judge must examine several factors – the part of the body that was touched, any words or gestures accompanying the conduct, if there were threats uttered to the complainant, and the accused’s intent or purpose, including whether there was sexual gratification.

Sexual assault allegations include a wide variety of behaviours, from unwanted grabbing to rape.

The Role Of Sexual Assault Lawyers In Criminal Proceedings

Consult with sexual assault lawyers prior to speaking with the police as it relates to a sexual assault complaint.

Whether you know with certainty you have done nothing wrong or not, receiving legal advice about your rights and responsibilities has essential value. There are certain things you will want to hear prior to making any statement to the police.

An experienced sexual assault lawyer’s role is to provide legal advice in your best interests.

Regardless of what you tell the police, expect them to lay criminal charges against you regardless of your explanation.

Understanding Aggravated Sexual Assault And Its Implications

Aggravated sexual assault refers to sexual offences that involve wounding, maiming, disfiguring, or endangering another person’s life.

It is one of the most serious sex crimes by the standards of the criminal code and carries a mandatory minimum jail term of five years up to a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

When handling aggravated sexual assault, it is imperative that you have Toronto sexual assault lawyers backing you. These are among the most complex sexual assault cases and are always handled as indictable offences rather than summary judgments. It’s critical to put up the strongest defense and to attain the best outcome you can, and the only way to do that is with experienced sexual assault lawyers.

Navigating Sexual Assault Allegations: Legal Perspectives

To define sexual activity as assault, you must have reasonable grounds to do so. You prove sexual assault by establishing three key points.

  • Intentional touching of the complainant.
  • The nature of the contact is sexual.
  • The absence of consent by the person being sexually touched.

Charges And Legal Procedures In Sexual Assault Cases

There are many charges that can be brought about in a sexual assault case, including aggravated sexual assault, sexual exploitation, sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching, child pornography, voyeurism, and trafficking in persons.

There may be multiple sexual assault charges depending on how the sexual activity is defined by the complainant.

As any legal team will tell you, there are multiple ways to defend against sexual assault.

The Significance Of Experience In Sexual Assault Legal Representation

With sexual assault charges, if you’re the accused, expertise is required to navigate what can be a very complicated legal process.

Sexual assault charges are not simple nor is how to defend them. The criminal justice system takes sexual assault allegations extremely seriously. To protect your rights, there is no doubt you will want an experienced sexual assault lawyer to be your defence.

Remember that, whether you are convicted or not, sexual assault allegations will damage your reputation if/when shared publicly. With this in mind, it’s not the time to select just any lawyer. Have a skilled sexual assault lawyer who knows how to handle such cases, with the experience as well as the tools and resources to accurately represent and defend your freedom and character.

Examining Bodily Harm In The Context Of Sexual Assault

Bodily harm sexual assault is a specific type of assault. It usually refers to sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party, or causing direct bodily harm during a sexual assault. Bodily harm may involve using a weapon, threatening to use a weapon, or threatening to cause bodily harm in another way.

In its simplest definition, bodily harm refers to any hurt or injury to a person that interferes with their health and/or comfort.

This type of sexual assault carries a punishment of a maximum of 14 years imprisonment. If the victim, however, is under the age of 16, there is a minimum five-year imprisonment and a maximum of prison for life.

If a firearm is used during the bodily harm sexual assault, the convicted will receive a minimum penalty of four years.

Sexual Exploitation: Legal Definitions And Responses

Sexual exploitation, as defined by the Criminal Code of Canada, is ”a crime that is committed if someone abuses or attempts to abuse a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes”.

Common examples of a person in a position of trust or authority are a teacher, coach, or boss. Sexual exploitation is also prominent in situations where the complainant is dependent on their sexual partner for care or support and sexual touching becomes a form of currency in the relationship.

To determine if a relationship suits the definition of sexual exploitation, several factors are considered.

  • Age of the complainant.
  • Age difference between the complainant and the accused.
  • How the relationship developed.
  • Whether one partner may have controlled or influenced their partner.

 The Importance Of Consent In Sexual Activity And Assault Cases

Some sexual assault lawyers will defend against an accusation by stating the contact was not sexual in design. The central issue for most sexual assault claims, however, is whether both parties consented to sexual activity.

Consent is ‘the voluntary agreement between the parties to engage in sexual activity with each other.’

Consent to sexual activity can be given in multiple ways and there can be disagreements as to whether consent was provided or not.

Many sexual assault offences rely heavily on whether there was consent given or not.

 Trial Procedures And Defense Strategies In Sexual Assault Cases

The complainant in a sexual assault case must prove they did not consent to sexual activity or sexual touching. This is crucial.

To determine this, a judge will consider words, conduct, and reasonable steps the accused took during the encounter. All three are essential in determining if the complainant consented or not. A complainant, however, is not obliged to demonstrate a lack of consent by objecting. A failure to resist sexual contact is also not the same as consenting to being touched. A complainant’s silence or passivity is not a form of consent, either.

To be clear, implied consent is not a defence sexual assault lawyers should use to defend against sexual assault.

 Evaluating Complainant’s Prior Sexual History In Court

There are limits and rules as to how a sexual assault lawyer can question a complainant. To ask questions about past sexual history purely to establish this background is not permitted in Canada’s court system anymore.

If you wish to explore the complainant’s prior sexual history, an application has to be filed before questioning begins.

In asking questions about a person’s prior sexual history, it cannot be to suggest the complainant is more likely to have consented to sex because of other sexual activity or that the complainant is less worthy of being believed because of prior sexual conduct.

 Facing Sexual Assault Charges: Rights And Defenses

If you are facing sexual assault charges, you have rights and defenses at your disposal. Talk to an experienced sexual assault lawyer before you do anything.

  • Remain silent and resist the urge to defend yourself publicly, such as on social media, even if the sexual offences have been made public.
  • To investigate sexual assaults, the police may request a statement from you. Don’t provide one until after speaking with a lawyer.
  • Assemble your case by sharing with your lawyer and writing down all the details of sexual contact with the complainant you remember while they are still fresh in your mind.
  • Take screenshots of all digital interactions with the accuser – such as text messages, social media posts, emails, and more – and save all digital records you can find.
  • Make a list of anyone present during the alleged sexual assault who may be willing to testify as to your whereabouts and activities.

When it comes time to start mounting a defense, your sexual assault lawyer will provide guidance on how to build your case.

Any evidence the police have collected relating to your Toronto sexual assault charges will be collected. This will provide insight into what information they have and what could be used against you. This evidence will be carefully scrutinized.

In addition to garnering witnesses who were with you or near at the same of the sexual assault, your lawyer may also solicit character witnesses to provide a background on you, and your credibility, and to testify in your defense based on the quality of your character.

From there, two ways exist how to tackle sexual offences in the criminal justice system – get the charges dropped or have the charges reduced.

  • To get a sexual assault charge dropped, this relies on finding inconsistencies or questionable details within the accusation or background of the accused. For example, to define whether there was consent to sexual activity given and how this communication was received from complainant to accused.
  • To have your sexual assault charge reduced relies on the Crown having the option to prosecute an assault as an indictable offence or summary offence. If it’s aggravated sexual assault, it’s an indictable offence, but for many other types of sexual assaults, you may be able to secure a summary offence that is lesser than an indictable offence.

 The Role Of Complainant’s Credibility In Sexual Assault Trials

In a lot of cases, a lawyer will attempt to defend against sexual assault offences by looking at the complainant’s credibility.

This is often the case if there is a dispute as to whether the sexual intercourse even happened. A lawyer trying to discredit the complainant’s credibility plants doubt in the heads of the judge and other stakeholders as to whether there was unwanted sexual contact and/or if the sexual acts could have been consensual.

Please note, however, that there are limits to how credibility can be attacked. It must be tactfully examined.

 Implications Of Being Listed On The Sex Offender Registry

Someone convicted of sexual assault is required to be placed on a provincial and national database for sex offenders. They will remain on this list for a minimum of 10 years and sometimes are ordered to remain listed for life.

This list is used by police and similar organizations to track and monitor persons convicted of sexual offences, however, is not public information.

If you are put on the sex offender registry, as is the requirement for all persons convicted of sexual assault, you are required to register every year your name, address, employment, license plate numbers, and additional info along these lines.

 Child Pornography And Sexual Offences: Legal Boundaries And Penalties

Child pornography has a fairly broad definition in the criminal code. It refers to videos or photos representing a person under age 18 engaged in explicit sexual activity, or videos and photographs that have a dominant characteristic of depicting for a sexual purpose the sexual organ or anal region of a person under age 18.

Child pornography can also be any written material describing sexual activity with a person under 18 or audio recordings that describe sexual acts, present, or represent this activity.

Furthermore, any material – written, audio, or visual – that promotes sexual activity with a person under age 18 is considered child pornography.

With an understanding of how it is defined, you may not even be aware that you are in possession of something considered to be child pornography.

It is against the law to make, distribute, possess, or access child pornography.

 Understanding The Impact Of Criminal Charges On Accused Individuals

Beyond the direct consequences of criminal charges on accused individuals, such as jail time and being listed as a sex offender, there may also be indirect impacts as well.

A person who is not a Canadian citizen could be deported after a criminal charge like this is put against them.

When you go to search for your next job, if you have a sexual assault conviction, it will no doubt limit your options for work.

Thirdly, you may find it difficult to travel outside of Canada with a sexual assault criminal conviction. Some countries will outright deny you access if you have a serious criminal record.

 Consent Laws And Their Implications In Sexual Offence Cases

Consent can be difficult to determine in a sexual offence case because each party may have a different recollection or interpretation of the sexual encounter.

In line with the criminal code, a judge will look at consent from the complainant’s point of view at the time when the touching occurred. Regretting sexual contact at a later point cannot withdraw consent if consent was given and sustained during the touching.

The accused may also believe the complainant did not consent at first but changed their mind later. However, once a complainant has expressed unwillingness to engage in sexual contact, the accused has to establish they made certain their sexual partner had changed their mind before proceeding with sexual activity.

A lapse of time, silence from the complainant, and/or equivalent conduct does not equate to consent.

  • Consent also cannot be given by someone else on the complainant’s behalf.
  • Consent cannot be given if the complainant is incapable of consenting due to intoxication, unconsciousness, incapacity, or mental illness.
  • It cannot be given if the accused induces the complainant to engage in sexual activity by abusing a position of trust, power, or authority.
  • Consent cannot be given if the complainant is under the age of 16 and the ‘close in age’ exception does not apply.

The accused continuing sexual contact after someone has said ”no” will result in a sexual assault conviction, plain and simple.

 The Role Of The Crown Attorney In Sexual Assault Trials

If the accused is found guilty, the punishment is fairly broad in terms of what it could be.

There could be no jail time whatsoever, a maximum of 18 months, or a maximum of 10 years – all depending on whether the Crown moves ahead with a summary conviction or by indictment. The role of the crown attorney in a sexual assault trial is to determine this.

 Legal Recourse And Support Services For Sexual Assault Victims

If you have been a victim of sexual assault, there are legal recourse and support services available to you, including sexual assault centres, mental health counseling, long-term treatment and assistance programs relating to sexual violence, and more.

A victim may not know where to turn in the aftermath of a sexual assault, however, we encourage you to come forward.

Sexual abuse is more common than many assume it to be. All people should be safe from sexual violence. Take the steps to defend your rights, build your case right, and pursue justice against the person committing sexual assault.

If there was non-consensual intercourse or non-consensual sexual activity, assault with a weapon, sex with someone under the age of consent, sexual abuse, unwanted sexual contact, or another type of sex crime has taken place, schedule a free consultation with a sexual assault lawyer at Joshua Goldberg Law.

We are here to help you navigate the courts and use criminal law to support your desire for the utmost justice.

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