The only thing more stigmatizing than an accusation of sexual assault, is a conviction for it. In this day and age, a conviction for sexual assault can effectively destroy a persons’ life. It can also preclude them from many future opportunities and the stigma may follow them for decades into the future. An allegation of sexual assault is serious. It should be taken seriously.
Simply speaking, sexual assault is an assault with a sexual element. There does not have to be physical penetration or sexual gratification in order for a sexual assault to occur. There is no precise formula to determine whether an assault is sexual in nature. The motivation for the assault, the body parts touched, the nature of touching involved and any words of gestures used in the circumstances can factor into whether an assault can be considered sexual or not.
Often, the primary issue to be determined in a sexual assault case is whether or not the complainant consented to the transaction. This may not be as clear cut or as easy to determine as one would hope. It must be determined by looking at the totality of the circumstances. There are no “magic words” to establish consent.
In these types of cases, creditability often becomes an issue. Where there are competing versions of events, the court must decide who to believe. This can get convoluted if drugs and/or alcohol are involved, or if there has been a substantial passage in time since the date of the alleged offence. Ultimately, it may come down to weighing the evidence, and determining whether or not the prosecution has established the alleged offence beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecution has not done this, then the accused person must be acquitted.
If a person is convicted of sexual assault, they could be liable for a jail term of ten years.
If you are being investigated for sexual assault, you should contact an experienced criminal defence lawyer immediately. Do not speak to authorities prior to doing so.
If you have been charged with sexual assault, the services of an experienced criminal defence lawyer are essential. Call someone right away.