Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault

If you face sexual assault charges, you need to contact an attorney immediately. Accusations of sexual assault can damage your reputation, your career, and your personal relationships. An experienced criminal defence lawyer can help you through every step of the proceedings.

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Consequences of a Sexual Assault Conviction


Persons convicted of sexual assault charges can face sentences ranging from probation to many years’ incarceration. Mitigating factors (like being a first-time offender) can reduce the severity of a sentence while aggravating factors (like using a weapon or inflicting injury) can increase it.

Some charges have mandatory minimum sentences upon conviction. For example, a charge of sexual assault with penetration is punishable by at least three years in jail (four years if the victim was under 18 years old). In other cases, the court has the discretion to adjust the severity of a sentence based on the facts and defences presented by the accused.

In most cases, in addition to incarceration, persons convicted of sexual assault will be placed on the National Sex Offender Registry (NSOR) for many years—often 20 years or more. This database alerts law enforcement and the general public to the location of every registered sex offender in Canada. Being on the NSOR can negatively affect your ability to relocate, pursue a career, and live a peaceful life with your family.

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Understanding Sexual Assault Charges

Sexual assault is a type of sexual violence, prohibited by civil and criminal law. It is a specific type of assault involving touching or imposing an unwanted act of a sexual nature on another person without their consent.

In general, whether an act is “sexual in nature” is based on an objective standard (that is, what an average, reasonable person would consider sexual). Sexual assault encompasses a wide range of actions other than overt genital or anal touching and penetration. Unwanted groping, grabbing, fondling, and kissing can be a sufficient basis for sexual assault charges.

There is no statute of limitation for criminal punishment of sexual assault—that is, there is no time limit for making a complaint of sexual assault to the police. After the police investigate a complaint, the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (the “Crown”) decides whether to bring criminal charges against a suspect.

What Is Consent?

Consent is willing participation in sexual activity. It must be communicated, ongoing, and voluntary. A person may deny or withdraw consent at any time during sexual activity. Unfortunately, people do not always communicate clearly and understand each other perfectly. Body language, hints, and signals can be misread, and two people can have wildly different feelings about whether sexual activity is welcomed or unwanted. In the worst situations, these kinds of misunderstandings can lead to sexual assault charges.

Only an adult individual of sound mind can consent to sexual activity. Consent is not legally valid between minors and adults, when one person is in a position of power or trust over another, or if a party is incapacitated in some way (for example, under the influence of drugs or alcohol). However, it can be difficult to determine whether an individual legally gave consent, especially if drugs or alcohol were involved. These questions of fact can be crucial to defending against sexual assault charges.

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Defending Against Sexual Assault Charges

Sexual assault charges are extremely serious allegations with life-altering consequences. Defending these charges in trial can be complicated and emotionally difficult. There are many procedural rules unique to sexual offenses, so don’t take chances with your future. If you or someone you know faces a sexual assault charge, consult with attorneys who have significant experience defending these matters.

Our lawyers have defended individuals just like you against all forms of sexual assault allegations. We will work with you to understand the facts of the case and your unique situation. We use our knowledge of the law to mount all applicable defenses and present any mitigating factors to help your case. We can help negotiate reductions in charges, plea agreements, or alternative sentencing options where available.

We defend you without judgment. We are strong advocates, and we provide our clients throughout Alberta with the best defense possible.

Contact our offices now so we can help address your loved one’s or your situation immediately. We are available 24/7.

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