If you are charged with sexual assault in Ontario, you are in serious trouble. Without a strong defence, you could be facing a lengthy jail term and other longer-term consequences for your reputation and your future.
Unfortunately, while any form of sexual assault is rightly condemned in our society, many individuals in Ontario are wrongly accused and wrongfully charged with the offence. Sometimes, too, the authorities face pressure to clamp down hard on suspects even if the evidence is inconclusive.
The individuals concerned often have to live with the stigma of the charges even if they are not convicted.
If that is the case, you deserve to be able to tell your side of the story, and we want to hear it.
The sexual assault lawyers at Affordable Defence in Ottawa are experienced at protecting the rights and liberties of those wrongly accused of sexual assault crimes.
Table of Contents
- What are the main types of sexual assault charges in Ontario?
- Sexual assault penalties
- How to get your sexual assault charges dismissed in Ontario
- What are defences against sexual assault?
- Affordable defence for sexual assault in Ontario
What are the main types of sexual assault charges in Ontario?
Sexual assault occurs when a person uses force or the threat of force to commit an unwanted sexual act against another person.
So, there must be force or threat of force used and no consent from the victim for a person to be convicted of the offence.
The three types of sexual assault crimes in Ontario are:
- Common sexual assault – where minor physical injuries or no injuries are caused to the victim
- Sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm
- Aggravated sexual assault – where the assault wounds, maims, disfigures or endangers the life of the complainant
While common sexual assault is not defined in the Criminal Code beyond a basic description “such that the sexual integrity of the victim is violated”, the second and third types are more serious and are defined in terms of the weapons used or the severity of violence, threats, and harm caused to the victim.
Sexual assault penalties
|Charge||Range||Minimum Sentence||Maximum Sentence|
|Sexual Assault||If the victim is younger than 16 years old||1 year imprisonment||14 years imprisonment|
|Sexual Assault||If the victim is over 16 years-old||No mandatory minimum sentence||10 years imprisonment|
|Sexual Assault Causing Bodily Harm||With a restricted or prohibited firearm||5 years imprisonment for a first offence or 7 years for a second offence||14 years imprisonment|
|Sexual Assault Causing Bodily Harm||With a non-prohibited firearm and relating to a criminal organization||5 years imprisonment for a first offence or 7 years for a second offence||14 years imprisonment|
|Sexual Assault Causing Bodily Harm||With using a non-restricted firearm||4 years imprisonment||14 years imprisonment|
|Sexual Assault Causing Bodily Harm||If the victim is younger than 16 years old||5 years imprisonment||Life Imprisonment|
|Aggravated Sexual Assault||With a restricted or prohibited firearm||5 years imprisonment for a first offence or 7 years for a second offence||Life Imprisonment|
|Aggravated Sexual Assault||With a non-prohibited firearm and relating to a criminal organization||5 years imprisonment for a first offence or 7 years for a second offence||Life Imprisonment|
|Aggravated Sexual Assault||With using a non-restricted firearm||4 years imprisonment||Life Imprisonment|
|Aggravated Sexual Assault||If the victim is younger than 16 years old||5 years imprisonment||Life Imprisonment|
National and provincial Sex Offender Registry
An additional penalty for those convicted of sexual assault in Ontario is mandatory listing on both the Ontario and National Sex Offender Registry. The police have access to this database but it is not accessible to the general public.
The duration of the listing depends on the precise nature of the conviction: either for 10 years, 20 years or life.
All individuals listed on these registers must abide by mandatory reporting obligations.
How to get your sexual assault charges dismissed in Ontario
Accusations of sexual assault come with social stigmas and other immediate consequences personally, professionally, and socially but it is not the same as being convicted.
You are innocent until proven guilty and the first step to proving your innocence is to find an experienced lawyer.
Often, if you have been wrongfully accused, arrested, and charged, your lawyer will examine the evidence and push for the charges to be dropped by the prosecutor.
However, if the alleged crime is particularly serious, the Crown prosecution may be reluctant to drop the case or negotiate even if there are weaknesses in the case. With violent crimes in Ontario, there is pressure to act.
For lower-level sexual assault cases, we may be able to convince the prosecution that the charges against you should be dropped if you agree to sign a peace bond or apply for a discharge. However, this usually requires a clean criminal record – or at least an old record with only minor charges.
A discharge or a peace bond is unlikely if the alleged assault is more serious or you have more recent and serious offences (or multiple offences) on your criminal record.
What are the defences against sexual assault?
Each sexual assault case differs according to the unique circumstances and relationships involved. However, the two most common defences are:
- Consent: the alleged victim consented to the act
- Mistaken consent: the defendant mistakenly believed that the alleged victim had given consent
Your lawyer will provide evidence to support either claim with the aim of creating a reasonable doubt that a crime was committed, meaning that you cannot be convicted.
Affordable defence for sexual assault in Ontario
Both the short- and long-term job consequences of a conviction for sexual assault can have a major impact on your life.
If you have been charged with sexual assault in Ottawa, the skilled criminal defence lawyers at Affordable Defence can protect your rights and freedoms and defend you against the charge. Contact us for a free case evaluation.