Your Rights After A Sexual Assault Charge: What You Should Do

August 24, 2023


Dealing with an accusation of sexual assault can result in an extremely distressing and overpowering ordeal. The subsequent legal proceedings stemming from such charges can be intricate and formidable, further compounding the existing stress and anxiety. Hence, comprehending your rights and acquainting yourself with the appropriate measures to undertake following a sexual assault charge is of utmost significance.

In situations like these, engaging a competent and experienced sexual assault defence lawyer can make a world of difference.

A sexual assault defence attorney is more than just a legal advocate in court; they serve as an indispensable wellspring of counsel, direction, and encouragement during this demanding period. They’ll aid you in maneuvering through the intricate legal complexities, guaranteeing the preservation of your rights and your equitable and respectful treatment throughout the proceedings.

This blog post aims to shed light on your rights after a sexual assault charge and provides an understanding of what you should do to safeguard your interests. We hope that this knowledge empowers you to make informed decisions about your case and reassures you that with the right legal support, it is possible to mount a robust defence.

The Initial Shock: What To Do Immediately After The Charge

Being accused of sexual assault can be shocking and devastating. It’s a moment that can create waves of confusion, fear, and anxiety. The emotional and psychological impact of a sexual assault charge is often immediate and intense. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed. However, it’s crucial to remember that your response during these initial moments can significantly influence the trajectory of your case.

Here are some immediate steps after a sexual assault charge that can help protect your rights and build a solid foundation for your defence:

  • Stay Calm And Silent: Your first reaction might be to vehemently deny the charges or explain your side of the story. However, it’s essential to stay calm and silent, especially when being arrested or questioned by the police. Any statements you make can be used against you in court.
  • Do Not Consent To Any Searches: Unless the police have a warrant, you are under no obligation to consent to any searches of your person, vehicle, or home. Politely decline any such requests until you have spoken with a lawyer.
  • Invoke Your Right To A Lawyer: As soon as it is practicable, assert your right to legal counsel. You have the right to remain silent until you have spoken with a lawyer. Use this right.
  • Retain A Sexual Assault Defence Lawyer: As soon as you can, retain the services of a competent sexual assault defence lawyer. They will guide you through the legal process, protect your rights, and help you develop a robust defence strategy.
  • Avoid Discussing Your Case: Discuss your case only with your lawyer. Be wary of discussing any details with friends, family, or on social media, as such conversations can be used against you later.

The journey ahead may be daunting, but understanding these immediate steps after a sexual assault charge can provide a sense of direction in a time of crisis. The focus should be on protecting your rights and ensuring you are adequately represented by a professional who understands the gravity of your situation.

Remember, you are not alone in this – professional help is available to guide you through this process.

Understanding The Charge: What A Sexual Assault Charge Entails

A sexual assault charge can carry severe consequences and often comes with a great deal of social stigma. Understanding the specifics of what constitutes a sexual assault charge in Edmonton is crucial to responding appropriately and developing a comprehensive defence strategy.

Under the Canadian Criminal Code, sexual assault (Section 271) is defined as any form of unwanted sexual activity. This includes any unwanted sexual act where the alleged perpetrator intentionally sexually touches the victim without their consent or forces the victim into any form of sexual activity.

The act of sexual assault may range from unwanted touching to forced sexual activity. It’s important to note that consent plays a vital role in determining a sexual assault.

These charges are serious and necessitate the services of a knowledgeable criminal defence lawyer who specializes in sexual assault cases. The lawyer will be able to provide legal advice tailored to your case, prepare a defence strategy, represent you in court, and guide you through every step of the legal process.

Nonetheless, understanding the charge doesn’t mean accepting guilt. A charge is an accusation that must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. As the accused, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty, and a competent criminal defence lawyer can help you assert this right while ensuring that your side of the story is heard.

Knowing Your Rights: An Overview

When facing a sexual assault charge, knowing your rights is instrumental in safeguarding your interests and ensuring that you’re treated fairly throughout the legal process.

Here’s a comprehensive overview of the rights one has when charged with sexual assault:

Right To Remain Silent

You have the right not to say anything to the police or in court except to give your name and address. Anything you do or say can be used against you. It’s often recommended to exercise this right until you have the chance to speak with a sexual assault defence lawyer.

Right To Legal Counsel

Upon arrest, you have the right to know why you’re being arrested and to speak to a lawyer without delay. You should ask to call a sexual assault defence lawyer as soon as possible.

Right To A Fair Trial

If your case proceeds to trial, you are entitled to two fundamental rights that are cornerstones of the justice system: the right to be tried within a reasonable time and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

The right to a timely trial ensures that you are not subjected to prolonged uncertainty or undue delays in resolving your case. It upholds the principle that justice should be served efficiently and without unnecessary delay.

Additionally, the presumption of innocence is a fundamental tenet that places the burden of proof on the prosecution to establish your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Until the prosecution meets this burden, you are considered innocent, and your rights and freedoms remain protected.

Also Read: Understanding The Burden Of Proof In Sexual Assault Cases

Right To Disclosure

A fundamental aspect of a fair trial is the right to disclosure, which means you have the right to see all the evidence that the prosecution will use against you. This is not only crucial for transparency but also essential for building a robust defence. This evidence may include police reports, witness statements, physical evidence, expert testimonies, and more.

Right To Appeal

If you are found guilty and convicted, it’s important to understand that the legal process doesn’t necessarily end there. In Canada, you have the right to appeal the conviction, the sentence, or both. This is a crucial right that upholds the principles of justice, fairness, and accuracy in our legal system.

An appeal is a formal request made to a higher court to review a lower court’s decision. An appeal aims to determine whether any errors were made during your trial that affected the final decision. If the appeal court finds such errors, it may overturn the conviction, reduce the sentence, order a new trial, or change the verdict in some other way.

Navigating these rights can be complex, and it’s often beneficial to enlist the services of a knowledgeable sexual assault defence lawyer who can explain what these rights mean in the context of your case and how they can be leveraged during your defence.

Engaging sexual assault defence services isn’t just about going to court; it’s about having a professional by your side who can explain your rights, guide you through the process, answer your questions, and fight for your best interests. Every step taken by your lawyer is geared towards protecting your rights and ensuring a fair and just process.

About Slaferek Law

Slaferek Law is a distinguished law firm based in Edmonton, dedicated to offering superior sexual assault defence services. Guided by a commitment to protecting client rights, we ensure each client receives personalized attention, comprehensive advice, and robust representation.

Our team, led by a seasoned sexual assault defence lawyer, brings extensive expertise to each case we handle. Learn more about Slaferek Law.

Need high-end defence services? Contact us now.

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Contacting Darin H. Slaferek

We specialize in criminal law, delivering ethical, effective, and efficient legal solutions that prioritize the best interests of our clients.