Sexual assault is a complex crime, and understanding the differences between the various levels of sexual assault in Canada is essential for anyone facing a potential criminal charge.
Essentially, sexual assault refers to any sexual attack on an individual’s body – however, sexual assault does not only involve physical contact. What does and does not an act of a sexual nature is not clearly defined by the Supreme Court of Canada.
Many unique elements are relevant to every criminal case, and a skilled criminal defence lawyer can provide you with the strongest defence possible by analyzing the facts of your case. The following are some of the most common elements involved in sexual assault allegations:
- The presence of verbal threats that were coupled with physical force
- Any verbal utterances or physical movements that occurred simultaneously with the sexual assault
- Every fact that led up to the sexual assault allegations
- Areas of the body that were apparently touched during the sexual assault
- The duration of any physical contact between the accused and the victim
In some cases, sexual assault may be especially severe, and under these circumstances, the assailant will likely be charged with aggravated sexual assault. This crime occurs when an individual commits sexual assault and simultaneously wounds, disfigures, maims, or otherwise puts the victim’s life in danger. These cases often contain ambiguous facts that can make it difficult to determine if the accused party actually harmed the victim.
A sexual assault defence lawyer can help you determine which facts support your case. You do not have to face these allegations alone: many criminal defendants do not understand why they are being accused of such serious crimes, however, retaining a sexual assault defence lawyer can help you defend your legal rights and protect your liberty.
Understanding the details regarding the different levels of sexual assault charges in Canada can help you assist your lawyer when it comes to your defence. Although it can seem overwhelming to think of everything you have to do regarding your sexual assault case, it is vital that you focus on how you can protect your legal rights. Contacting witnesses and collecting evidence can take time, and you may need to focus on which items of evidence can support your case.
The first level of sexual assault refers to an act that occurs when the aggressor committed sexual assault, but did not cause the victim to suffer any bodily injuries, and a person who is convicted of level 1 sexual assault may be sentenced to a maximum of ten years imprisonment. The following acts may constitute level 1 sexual assault:
- Anal sex
- Vaginal sex
- Oral sex
- Non-consensual kissing
- Inappropriate touching
A common defence to level 1 sexual assault is factual innocence, and a skilled sexual assault lawyer can collect evidence, such as witness statements and surveillance footage, to ascertain that you were not present when the offence occurred.
Level 2 sexual assault occurs when the act of sexual assault causes physical harm to the victim or occurs while the aggressor is brandishing a weapon or making verbal threats to the victim. Oftentimes, a level 2 sexual assault aggressor will use a weapon while committing sexual assault.
It is possible for a person to be charged with level 2 sexual assault if they verbally threaten the victim’s family members or friends. A person who is convicted of level 2 sexual assault may be sentenced to a maximum of fourteen years imprisonment.
Sexual activity that is consensual between two adults does not constitute sexual assault. However, in many sexual assault cases, an alleged victim will attempt to falsify allegations of sexual assault to cause harm. A skilled criminal defence lawyer will help you demonstrate your innocence if the victim did, in fact, engage in consensual sexual activity.
Level 3 sexual assault, also known as aggravated sexual assault, specifies that the victim required physical rehabilitation and recovery after the assault.
Retaining a knowledgeable criminal defence lawyer can help you determine the facts that are relevant to a level 3 sexual assault charge. It is possible that sexual activity never took place between the victim and the accused – in sexual assault cases, many facts remain hidden, and it is the job of a skilled criminal defence lawyer to unearth those facts and contextualize them within the facts that are already established.
Retaining an Experienced Criminal Defence Lawyer
Figuring out how to move forward after facing something as serious as a sexual assault charge can be a challenge, and being found guilty of sexual assault can affect you for the rest of your life.
Retaining a criminal defence lawyer can provide you with a resource to help you make sure that the Crown satisfies its disclosure obligations. At Vilkhov Law, our team of experienced criminal defence lawyers is here to help you with every aspect of your criminal defence case. Contact Vilkhov Law today to speak to our team about your criminal case.