Three Types of Sexual Assault Charges

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Sexual assault is one of the most serious crimes in the Criminal Code of Canada. It involves violating the sexual integrity of the victim. It is critical to note that the assault does not require physical contact with any specific part of the body. It is the sexual nature of the assault compromising the victim’s sexual integrity.

When investigating an alleged case of sexual assault, several factors must be considered:

  • The nature of the physical contact
  • The body part and region that was touched
  • The factual situation leading up to and during the sexual assault 
  • Whether there were gestures or words that accompanied the assault
  • Whether there were threats that may or may not have been combined with force
  • Other relevant circumstances involved in the assault

This blog will look at the 3 types of sexual assault allegations, what they mean and what the possible consequences in case of a conviction are.

Sexual Assault

Section 271 of the Criminal Code of Canada addresses sexual assault. Any charges for this type indicate that the alleged assailant committed an assault that was sexual in nature. However, the critical detail here is that no physical injuries were inflicted. This may include inappropriate touching, unwanted kissing, and oral, vaginal, or anal sex. For this type, the matter of consent is critical.

271 Everyone who commits a sexual assault is guilty of

(a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years or, if the complainant is under the age of 16 years, to imprisonment for a term of not more than 14 years and a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of one year; or

(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 18 months or, if the complainant is under the age of 16 years, to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years less a day and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of six months.

Sexual Assault Causing Bodily Harm or Involving a Weapon or Threats to a Third Party

Sexual assault causing bodily harm or involving a weapon or threats to a third party is covered by section 272 of the Criminal Code of Canada.

272 (1) Every person commits an offence who, in committing a sexual assault,

(a) carries, uses or threatens to use a weapon or an imitation of a weapon;

(b) threatens to cause bodily harm to a person other than the complainant;

(c) causes bodily harm to the complainant;

(c.1) chokes, suffocates or strangles the complainant; or

(d) is a party to the offence with any other person.

Punishments for this type of sexual assault are as follows:

If a restricted or prohibited firearm is used or if any firearm (including legal) is used in combination with the involvement of a criminal organization, whether benefitting, instructing or in association, the minimum sentence is 5 years in prison for a first offence and 7 years in prison for any additional offence, with a maximum of life imprisonment. If a legal firearm is used in the commission of the offence, the minimum punishment is 4 years in prison and the maximum punishment 14 years in prison. 

If the complainant is under the age of 16 years, the minimum prison sentence is 5 years, with a maximum sentence of imprisonment for life.

Any other case of this type of sexual assault has a term not exceeding 14 years in prison as maximum punishment.

Aggravated Sexual Assault

Aggravated sexual assault is addressed by section 273 of the Criminal Code of Canada and is the most severe type. 

273 (1) Every one commits an aggravated sexual assault who, in committing a sexual assault, wounds, maims, disfigures or endangers the life of the complainant.

Punishments for aggravated sexual assault are as follows:

If a restricted or prohibited firearm is used or if any firearm (including legal) is used in combination with the involvement of a criminal organization, whether benefitting, instructing or in association, the minimum sentence is 5 years in prison for a first offence and 7 years in prison for any additional offence, with a maximum of life imprisonment. If a legal firearm is used in the commission of the offence, the minimum punishment is 4 years in prison and the maximum punishment 14 years in prison. 

If the complainant is under the age of 16 years, the minimum prison sentence is 5 years, with a maximum sentence of imprisonment for life.

Any other case of aggravated sexual assault has a term not exceeding 14 years in prison as maximum punishment.

Sexual Assault Defence Lawyer

Being charged with any type of sexual is a serious charge that carries severe consequences. If you have been charged with either type of sexual assault, please consult with an experienced criminal defence lawyer immediately. 

Just because you have been charged with a sexual assault or sexual abuse offence does not mean you are guilty. The prosecution must prove all elements of your criminal charge beyond a reasonable doubt. 

Farjoud Law has an outstanding track record defending clients charged with all types of criminal offences. We are dedicated to professionalism, client services and passionate advocacy. 

If you or a loved one have been charged with a criminal offence, do not hesitate to call Farjoud Law at 647-606-6776 to speak directly to a criminal defence lawyer who personally answers all calls 24 hours/day – 7 days/week or fill out our convenient online form.

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