Toronto Sexual Assault Lawyer2022-09-28T14:39:02+00:00

Sexual assault allegations are very serious, and can impact lives for years. When accused of a sexual assault, you could be forced to serve jail time and be registered as a sex offender, regardless of whether or not you are innocent.
If you are involved in a sexual assault case, you will need to get the help of a skilled sexual assault lawyer in Toronto. Having an expert legal team working on your sexual assault case can make the difference between serving a sentence that you do not deserve and being freed of false charges – on the other hand, if you have been the victim of a sexual assault, your sexual assault lawyer will make sure that you are not left wondering if your attacker will be free to harm you or others again.

Experienced sexual assault lawyer working for you

Whether you have been wrongfully accused of sexual assault charges or are searching for the services of a sexual assault lawyer, working with Vilkhov Law is your best option. We are one of the leading sexual assault lawyers in Toronto, and will support your case from start to finish with care and attention to detail. Working with a skilled sexual assault defence lawyer is critical in order to ensure your case is handled correctly.

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Igor Vilkhov

What is sexual assault?

The criminal code does not include a specific definition of sexual abuse or assault – this is due to the fact that there is a wide array of different acts that can be classified as sexual assault or abuse. This term is used by many to define unwanted sexual contact, but the legal terminology that is used for this kind of interaction is different.

In Canada, there are various restrictions on sexual contact that are based on laws. The first of these restrictions states that no person under the age of sixteen can consent to sexual activity with an adult. The only exceptions are situations where children similar in age engage in this kind of contact.

Canada’s laws have no single specified rape charge either, and instead define all sexual acts that are non-consensual as sexual assault. The legal definition of an assault includes unwanted physical contact and threats, and sexual activity is only legal in Canada if both parties consent. There is also a provision that states that no one can consent in advance to sexual activity if they fall unconscious, or consent to any activity that will cause serious physical harm.

Sexual assault can be charged in many ways, including sexual assault with a weapon and sexual assault causing bodily harm. Aggravated sexual assault charges are also possible in cases where the interaction that led to the assault influences the charges. In some cases, sexual assault can also be linked with fraud or the use of authority to obtain sex.

What are the levels and punishments for sexual assault?

There are various levels of sexual assault punishment under Canadian Law. These assault levels are paired with the kind of assault that occurred, and help to determine the level of consequence that must be assigned in each case.

No matter the level of sexual assault, the standard minimum sentence for those who assault a minor under the age of 16 is 14 years in jail. This is often considered to be the maximum sentence for levels 1 and 2 sexual assault, but when a level 3 offence has occurred, maximum sentencing is almost always pursued.

Call us now for expert sexual assault lawyer services

Work with Vilkhov Law for access to a skilled legal team that knows its way around sexual assault cases. These types of cases involve a complex legal process, and must be handled with care from start to finish for the best result.

Contact us today at 866-707-5845 for a consultation to get access to the support that you need related to your sexual assault case.

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Scarborough Criminal Lawyer

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Newmarket Criminal Lawyer

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Brampton Criminal Lawyer

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Toronto Criminal Lawyer

Toronto Criminal Lawyer

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It’s vital to hire a sexual assault lawyer

Sexual assault charges are very serious, and they can have a lasting impact on your ability to work and live in certain places in the future. If you have not actually committed the sexual assault that you have been accused of, you will want to make sure that you are not improperly sentenced to jail time and inclusion on the sex offender’s registry.

Reach out to us today for a consultation if you have been accused of a sexual assault that you did not commit. Our team at Vilkhov Law can help you defend yourself against erroneous sexual assault charges and protect your ability to work and live where you please in the future. Working with a skilled sexual assault lawyer is essential to the outcome of your sexual assault case.

Frequently asked questions about sexual assault charges

What are the legal elements of sexual assault?2022-06-14T14:22:56+00:00

In order to defend someone who has been falsely accused of sexual assault charges, or to support the case of someone who has been the victim of a sexual assault, the components of a sexual assault charge must first be understood. Without the right legal elements in place, there can be no sexual assault charge. This can be the most important pivot point of a case, and prove that elements were missing which were critical to proving that the sexual assault took place. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Description of the body part that was touched and in what way it was touched
  • What part of the aggressor’s body was used in this touching situation
  • The nature of the contact
  • The situation that the interaction occurred during
  • The words and the gestures that might have been used during the interaction
  • Other circumstances that were related to the interaction

During a sexual assault case, the person who suffered the unwanted attention will be called the victim. This is the legal term that is used to define the difference between the person who caused the unwanted interaction and the person who was not allowed to say no to the event. Lawyers will often call the accuser the complainant as well, in order to presume the innocence of this person.

What is consent?2022-06-14T14:22:56+00:00

Consent for the purposes of sexual assault is defined under section 273.1 of the Criminal Code. Consent means that the complainant voluntarily agreed to engage in the sexual activity in question. Consent needs to be clearly communicated through the words and/or actions of the complainant.

Consent needs to be present at the time the sexual activity took place. Consent also needs to be ongoing and can be withdrawn by the complainant at any time. Additionally, if someone consented in the past, that is not sufficient consent for present or future sexual touching.

Under section 273. 1(2) of the Criminal Code, no consent is obtained if:

  • the agreement for sexual activity was made by anyone other than the complainant;
  • the complainant is unconscious;
  • complainant is unable to consent;
  • the accused abuses their position of trust, power or authority, and induces the complainant into engaging in the sexual activity;
  • the complainant expressed by their words or conduct a lack of agreement to engage in the sexual activity; and
  • the complainant having consented, later expresses a lack of agreement to continue to engage in the sexual activity.
What is the age of consent in Canada?2022-06-14T14:24:02+00:00

Age of consent is the legal age that a person can legally consent to sexual activity. In Canada, the current age of consent for sexual activity is 16 years. Anyone under the age of 18, however, cannot consent to sexual activity with anyone that is in a position of trust or authority over them.

Arrest and bail process for sexual assault charges in Toronto2022-08-25T14:53:15+00:00

When you are arrested, officers must tell you of your right to counsel. This right allows you to speak to and retain a specialist following arrest. It is always a good idea to exercise this right and obtain legal advice before speaking to police.

You may be released directly by police, or you could be held for a bail hearing, depending on the circumstances of the assault as well as your own personal circumstances (e.g. if you have a criminal record). The police have a few mechanisms for release, which all require you to attend court as specified with your sexual assault lawyer in Toronto. If you are released by police, there are likely to be conditions attached to it through what is known as an undertaking. These conditions can be, for example, prohibitions against contacting the victim or not attending a certain location.

Although sexualt assault is a hybrid offence (i.e. the Crown has the ability to choose whether to proceed summarily or by indictment), all hybrid offences are considered indictable until the Crown elects. As such, you will be asked to attend a police detachment for fingerprinting ahead of your first court appearance.

If you are held for bail, you will be brought in front of a judicial official within 24 hours of your arrest. Not only will a sexual assault lawyer tell you what to do and what not to do when interacting with police, they can also start working on your release if you are being held in custody.

If you are brought to court for bail, a sexual assault lawyer in Toronto can speak to the Crown about what is required to secure your release and can propose a bail plan. The plan often involves one or more people called “sureties.” A surety is someone you know who agrees to take responsibility for your release into the community. They pledge to pay a certain amount of money if you do not follow your conditions of release. Being a surety is a huge responsibility, and a sexual assault defence lawyer can explain their role and adequately prepare them for court.

Everyone has a constitutional right to reasonable bail with respect to the amount of money sureties pledge and the conditions imposed on you. Reasonableness also includes the fact that you should not be denied bail without “just cause.”

The Crown may consent to your release based on the plan. If they have concerns about the plan, the circumstances of assault, your chance of reoffending, your ability to follow conditions (especially if you have breached bail before), et cetera, they may contest your bail. A contested bail results in a bail hearing (also known as a “show cause” hearing). In line with the principles of reasonable bail, the Crown must “show cause” as to why it is in society’s best interest for you to be detained—although there are certain circumstances that require the accused to demonstrate why their detention is not justified.

There are three grounds of detention upon which you can be denied bail. The Crown will state on which grounds they are seeking detention, which consider:

  • Whether you are a flight risk (primary ground);
  • Whether you pose a threat to the public (secondary ground); and
  • Whether your detention is required to maintain confidence in the administration of justice (for example, due to the seriousness of the allegations and/or the strength of the Crown’s case) (tertiary ground).

The court will look at factors, such as your ties to the community, your personal circumstances, the presence of a criminal record, the offence itself, and the strength of a proposed bail plan and adequacy of sureties, when considering these grounds.

As part of considering your release, the court will determine whether conditions should be imposed and what they should be to mitigate concerns, such as ensuring that you attend court and do not commit any further offences. These bail conditions can be stringent and restrictive and may include, but are not limited to:

  • Supervision through sureties;
  • Curfews or house arrest, including ankle monitoring;
  • Refraining from use of drugs and alcohol;
  • Mandatory counselling;
  • No contact with certain individuals, such as the victim; and/or
  • Restrictions on where you can travel.

When making this consideration, the Crown and the court are bound by the “ladder principle.” This principle means that when it comes to imposing conditions, the least restrictive conditions must be imposed unless the Crown can show that the less restrictive conditions are not appropriate in your case. The Supreme Court of Canada’s 2017 decision in R. v. Antic reinforced this principle. A number of courts, however, seem to have forgotten this obligation. A lawyer can help the court recognize that your detention is not necessary and can remind the court why less strict bail conditions are appropriate.

If you are denied bail, you will remain in custody until your trial or resolution, although it is possible to ask for a bail review at the Superior Court. Obtaining bail can be an uphill battle. Hiring a sexual assault lawyer Toronto maximizes your chances of being released.

It is important to recognize that breaching the terms of your bail conditions can result in further charges against you and the revocation of your bail.

Awaiting trial2022-06-14T14:27:10+00:00

Once you are released by police or a bail hearing is conducted, a legal specialist can start preparing a successful defence for your case.

A lawyer for sexual assault cases will ask the Crown for the disclosure of all relevant evidence against you. The Crown is obligated to disclose evidence about your case to your legal representative, regardless of whether or not that evidence will be used by the Crown in court. This disclosure is a fundamental feature of our criminal justice system. It helps to ensure that you have a fair trial and that you have the information needed to provide a full answer and defence. Having a sexual assault defence lawyer by your side can be an advantage, as there are certain items of disclosure that the Crown will only release to counsel. If you do not have a lawyer, you may have to make arrangements with the Crown to review this evidence, which can be extremely time-consuming.

In some cases, disclosure can include hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of pages of documents, as well as hours of police interviews and surveillance footage. Our specialist will review these documents and can use them to effectively advocate for you.

A legal representative will then take steps to move the case along. Once disclosure is reviewed, a Crown pre-trial (CPT) is typically scheduled. The CPT allows the defence and the Crown to discuss issues in the case, as well as the Crown’s position. The CPT can be a springboard for further discussions and negotiations with the Crown. Depending on the case and how it proceeds, a judicial pre-trial (JPT) may also take place. The JPT allows a judge to weigh in and provide guidance in a more informal setting.

If you have retained a lawyer, you will not be present at the CPT or JPT. A lawyer’s expertise and experience can be invaluable at this stage. If you do not retain a lawyer, you most likely will have more difficulty speaking to the Crown, and your JPT will take place in open court instead of the judge’s chambers. You will be responsible for advocating for yourself, which can be an unnecessary stress added to an already challenging experience.

There can be a number of court appearances before a case is set down for trial or a plea is entered. A lawyer can explain the purpose of these appearances and even appear on your behalf, so you have one less thing to worry about.

If the Crown chooses to proceed by indictment, and the case goes to trial, there will come a time when you will be asked to make an election regarding your mode of trial. You will have the option of being tried by a provincial court judge, a judge alone in the Superior Court, or a judge and jury in the Superior Court. Since sexual assault against a person under 16 carries with it a possible sentence of 14 years in prison, you will also be entitled to a preliminary inquiry for that offence, which is a sort of mini-trial that determines whether there is sufficient evidence to even hold a trial on the charges. If the judge finds that there is not sufficient evidence, then you will be discharged. Making your election and having a preliminary inquiry are strategic decisions. You will no doubt benefit from the support of legal professionals advising and guiding you through this lengthy and complicated process.

Consequences if found guilty2022-06-14T14:28:15+00:00

Sexual assault is treated very seriously, and that seriousness is reflected in the possible sentences for a sexual assault conviction.

If the Crown chooses to proceed summarily:

  • If you are convicted of sexually assaulting someone over the age of 16, you can face a maximum sentence of 18 months.

  • If you are convicted of sexually assaulting someone under the age of 16 , you can face a maximum sentence of 2 years less a day.

If the Crown chooses to proceed by indictment

  • If you are convicted of sexually assaulting someone over the age of 16, you can face a maximum sentence of 10 years.

  • If you are convicted of sexually assaulting someone under the age of 16 , you can face a maximum sentence of 14 years and a minimum of 1 year.

There are also certain orders that accompany a sexual assault conviction, such as a DNA order, a section 161 order (if the complainant is under 16) and a SOIRA order (which involves the Sex Offender Registry). These orders can have a far-reaching effect on your life long after you are sentenced. Depending on the seriousness of the assault, alternative, more lenient sentences and resolution mechanisms are available. A legal representative is in the best position to explain the possible consequences to you and to work tirelessly to obtain the best outcome in the circumstances.

What are common defences against sexual assault charges in Toronto?2022-06-21T12:43:35+00:00

There are a few common defences against sexual assault charges in Canada that are typically used in most situations. All of these defences are most effective when they are backed up by witness testimony, or other hard facts that can prove that the charges are false or incorrectly levelled at the wrong person.

When the case comes down to the two parties providing statements against one another, it can be hard for a judge to get an accurate picture of the events of the assault.

1. Error of Identity

The identity of the person that committed the sexual assault must be correct. Forensic tools might have to be used in order to establish the identity of the person who committed the crime. This can be one of the areas where it is easiest to disprove false charges against someone. DNA and fingerprints can tell the real story and help to identify the attacker, instead of someone incorrectly charged with sexual assault.

2. The Sexual Act Did Not Take Place

The accused person can claim that there was no sexual activity that took place between the parties. This can be a tough road to travel down, as this can become a case of one person’s words against another. Credibility battles are often hard to resolve, but interviews related to the facts of the event, as well as proof from DNA and other hard facts, can help to support this defence.

3. There Was Consent

This is almost always the central factor that demands attention in a sexual assault case. The entire premise of a sexual assault is that there was no consent provided for the sexual act. If there was consent given prior to the sexual act, then this is not a case of sexual assault. This defence can again lead to a credibility battle between the two parties.

This can also be a complex argument to make due to the circumstances associated with the situation. If the person involved was too intoxicated to consent, or if the complainant does not have the mental capacity to consent, then this is not a valid defence. In cases where the complainant is under the age of 16 or withdrew their consent during the act, this also invalidates the argument that there was consent.

4. There Was an Honest Mistaken Belief That Consent Was Given

Another defence that can be used for this kind of situation is the statement that the accused did not know that there was no consent for the sexual act. This is a hard case to make for most sexual assault cases, but there are instances where the behaviour of the complainant can lead to mistaken consent.

How much does it cost to get off sexual assault charges?2022-06-21T12:44:36+00:00

The circumstances of your trial and the amount of work that is needed to collect evidence and prepare a case can greatly impact the cost of your legal defence. The average cost for a single hour of a lawyer’s time in Canada is $75. You might be able to access pro-bono representation from some lawyers, but this is not common for criminal cases when you are the accused.

Make sure that you discuss the cost of your defence with your sexual assault lawyer in advance. If you are not able to pay for your defence upfront, there might be options available for you to access public defence support or to pay using a payment plan of some kind.

How long does a sexual assault investigation take in Ontario?2022-06-21T12:46:02+00:00

The investigation process related to your sexual assault case can take longer than you might think. The samples and evidence that are related to the investigation will likely all be collected within 72 hours of charges being levelled against you. Processing all the evidence, collecting witness and expert testimony, and getting statements from both of the parties involved can take some weeks.

Once the investigation is done, a trial date will have to be set as well. You could be forced to wait for months for your actual trial, despite the evidence being collected and available to the parties involved in the sexual assault case. This is not the kind of charge that goes away overnight, and you will need to make sure that you have the right legal support to ensure that your case can be presented correctly when you are able to go to court.

What is the sex offender registry?2022-06-14T14:33:12+00:00

Registry on the Sex Offenders Registry is part of the sentencing process for most sexual assault charges. If you are found guilty of this crime, you will almost always have to be registered as a sex offender in your province. This registry lasts for 10 years, and it can impact your ability to find work and the places that you can live. This is a matter of public record, so even if you think that an employer will not know this information about you, they will be able to look up the information.

You will also be required to disclose this fact when you are involved in certain industries. Registry as a sex offender can have a lasting impact on your financial and personal well-being for years after your conviction.

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Criminal Lawyers Association
Toronnto Lawyers Association
Law Society of Ontario

ASSAULT

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Assault

A simple assault charge can change your life forever. A lawyer can help mitigate the negative consequences of this charge.

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MANSLAUGHTER

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MANSLAUGHTER

Section 234 of the Criminal Code of Canada defines manslaughter as any culpable homicide that is not murder or infanticide.

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FIREARM POSSESSION

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FIREARM POSSESSION

It is a criminal offence to unlawfully possess a firearm, to possess a weapon knowing that its possession is unauthorized, or to possess a weapon (such as firearms) for a dangerous purpose.

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DRUG POSSESSION

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DRUG POSSESSION

Possession means that you have both knowledge and control of the drug or substance. It does not matter whether the drugs are actually yours or not.

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SEXUAL ASSAULT

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SEXUAL ASSAULT

Sexual assault does not just include non-consensual intercourse. Even activities, such as kissing, fondling or, any sexual touching without the complainant’s consent can constitute sexual assault.

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DANGEROUS DRIVING

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DANGEROUS DRIVING

Dangerous driving is different from careless driving. The former is a criminal offence under the Criminal Code of Canada, and the latter is a Highway Traffic Act offence.

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MONEY LAUNDERING

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MONEY LAUNDERING

Money laundering is essentially taking the proceeds of a crime and using them in another transaction in order to change or disguise the nature of those proceeds.

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CRIMINAL HARASSMENT

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CRIMINAL HARASSMENT

Criminal harassment is knowingly and without authority, engaging in conduct that makes someone either fear for their own safety or fear for the safety of someone known to them.

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TESTIMONIALS

Thanks Igor for all your help throughout my criminal process. I have never been charged before and I think Igor really helped ease my nerves through the entire process. When I was initially charged I called a couple of other firms but I ended up retaining Igor because when we spoke on the phone he spent a lot of time to explain what I was charged with and what it all means, I felt the most comfortable when talking to him. As my case progressed, he really took the time to explain my options and the probability of each one, so I really appreciated that and I felt less confused with all the various legal proceedings.
My son was charged with DUI and I hired Igor to represent his matter. Overall, my experience with Igor was great and my son felt really comfortable working with Igor as well. As a parent, I was really concerned about the entire process and even though my son is considered an adult, I was extremely involved the entire time. I really liked that Igor respected my concerns as a worried parent and always ensured any meetings or conversations were held with me present as much as possible, if I wasn’t available to attend a meeting and only him and my son were able to meet, Igor would reach out to update me. I would most definitely recommend Igor to others.
He is caring, honest, and highly knowledgeable in his field. I was charged with domestic assault a few months ago, I was initially with another lawyer but got fed up with the unresponsiveness (didn’t answer my calls or emails), I decided to look for someone else. Igor came highly recommended from a friend and I’m glad I went with him. He knows his stuff and fought hard for my case. Compared to other lawyers I’ve dealt with, day and night.
I cannot recommend Igor Vilkhov enough. I was charged with possession and trafficking, I was going through a tough time in my life at the time and I am glad I was able to find a lawyer who is genuinely passionate about what he does. I was kept consistently updated throughout the entire process and I couldn’t believe the positive outcome. While reviewing my case, he located a significant error on the part of the police. I can honestly say that his work is meticulous and his ability to negotiate is something else. If you are looking for a quality criminal defence lawyer, I can’t say enough good things about Igor.

TESTIMONIALS

Thanks Igor for all your help throughout my criminal process. I have never been charged before and I think Igor really helped ease my nerves through the entire process. When I was initially charged I called a couple of other firms but I ended up retaining Igor because when we spoke on the phone he spent a lot of time to explain what I was charged with and what it all means, I felt the most comfortable when talking to him. As my case progressed, he really took the time to explain my options and the probability of each one, so I really appreciated that and I felt less confused with all the various legal proceedings.
My son was charged with DUI and I hired Igor to represent his matter. Overall, my experience with Igor was great and my son felt really comfortable working with Igor as well. As a parent, I was really concerned about the entire process and even though my son is considered an adult, I was extremely involved the entire time. I really liked that Igor respected my concerns as a worried parent and always ensured any meetings or conversations were held with me present as much as possible, if I wasn’t available to attend a meeting and only him and my son were able to meet, Igor would reach out to update me. I would most definitely recommend Igor to others.
He is caring, honest, and highly knowledgeable in his field. I was charged with domestic assault a few months ago, I was initially with another lawyer but got fed up with the unresponsiveness (didn’t answer my calls or emails), I decided to look for someone else. Igor came highly recommended from a friend and I’m glad I went with him. He knows his stuff and fought hard for my case. Compared to other lawyers I’ve dealt with, day and night.
I cannot recommend Igor Vilkhov enough. I was charged with possession and trafficking, I was going through a tough time in my life at the time and I am glad I was able to find a lawyer who is genuinely passionate about what he does. I was kept consistently updated throughout the entire process and I couldn’t believe the positive outcome. While reviewing my case, he located a significant error on the part of the police. I can honestly say that his work is meticulous and his ability to negotiate is something else. If you are looking for a quality criminal defence lawyer, I can’t say enough good things about Igor.

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