Sexual assault defence in Canada
There are various levels of sexual assault charges that an individual can face in Canada. These all depend on the circumstances involved in the alleged incident.
These charges are defined by the Criminal Code of Canada in sections 271 and 272, which indicates the types of charges as well as the different levels of penalties a convicted individual can face. They include sexual assault, sexual assault with a weapon and aggravated sexual assault.
If you are arrested and accused of sexual assault police have the legal right to take your clothing, get a blood sample and test you for substances like alcohol and drugs. In addition, they will take fingernail scrapings and hair samples from you. All of this will occur quite soon after the arrest. It is important to note that police do not need a search warrant or court order to take these from you.
What will follow will be an interview with officers, which can be one of the most valuable pieces of evidence police have.
For the interrogation to be consider lawful, police must read the Miranda Rights to the accused prior to questioning. This is when they advise you of your right to remain silent and to seek an attorney. When you are read these rights you are legally permitted to refuse to speak with the officer. If you simply want to stay silent the police must cease the interrogation.
If you indicate a desire to have your attorney present, police must respect that and the lawyer can be with you whenever you are being questioned. As well, if you do begin speaking with the police and then change your mind, they must cease the interrogation. If at any time the police deviate from the procedures notify your lawyer immediately.
Evidence and consent are peripheral to sexual assault cases. Many sex assault cases can turn on the issue of consent. If the alleged assailant believed or had good reason to believe that the act was consensual the defence has a stronger case. Emails, letters, text messages, voice recordings and other documentation that can support the claim the alleged victim is lying can prove invaluable to the defence in a sexual assault case.
It is important to note that alleged victims who feel they have a case can come forward at any time in Canada. Even years after the alleged incident. This is because there is no statute of limitations in Canada for accusations of sexual assault.
If you are convicted you may also have your details entered into the Canadian Sex Offender Registry. This is a database that police across the county have access to. While the database is not available to the public, the police are permitted to release your details to members of a community that you are residing in.
Depending on what you have been accused of, your lawyer will need to form an appropriate defence. At Donich Law Firm we have the skill and experience needed to build a successful defence against sexual assault charges. If you or anyone you know is facing sex assault allegations, contact us today.