Sexual offences are very serious charges that are complex and fact-specific. Being charged with a sexual offence is life-changing and can result in damage to reputation, and even livelihood, whatever the outcome. A conviction is likely to result in a prison sentence (for sexual assault this is up to 10 years) and registration as a sex offender.
An allegation of sexual assault will impact the life of the accused, together with the lives of their family and dependants. It is imperative that anyone facing a charge of sexual assault gets expert legal advice immediately and before giving any interview since statements made in the early stages can have a huge impact on the outcome of the case.
The first time a person may become aware they have been accused of a sexual assault is when the police first contact them to attend the police station for an interview. It is highly advisable that those accused of sexual assaults are represented at the police station by expert solicitors used to defending these types of cases. Being properly advised from the outset can greatly affect the outcome of your case. Our specialist defence lawyers can discreetly advise and guide you through the whole process aiming to obtain the best possible outcome and reduce reputational damage.
What is a sexual assault?
Most sexual assaults are covered by the Sexual Offences Act 2003. As well as rape, other types of offences are:
Assault by penetration: this involves the penetration of the vagina or anus of another person by a part of their body, or anything else, for sexual intent without the other person’s consent.
Sexual assault: it is an offence to intentionally touch another person sexually without their consent.
Causing sexual assault without consent: it is an offence to encourage another to engage in sexual activity without their consent.
Sexual offences against children under the age of 13 and 16 are classified as separate offences.
Consent in sexual assault cases
Consent is a difficult issue and can be complicated by the characteristics of the person making the complaint, including their age (persons under 16 years old cannot give consent), capacity to be able to make a choice and any mental health issues.
Someone that has consumed a large quantity of alcohol or drugs may not have the relevant capacity to give consent, even if they usually would when they were sober.
Whether the complainant raises issues of coercion or was on medication, was asleep or otherwise unconscious, can also be raised in relation to whether there was valid consent. The fact that the accused is young does not prevent a charge of sexual assault, both parties can be children including those that are very young. Spouses and partners of the complainant can be charged and found guilty of sexual assault.
Contact our expert Sexual Assault Defence Lawyers London
We can provide a non-judgemental, supportive, sensitive service for people under investigation for sexual offences. We understand how a charge of sexual assault will impact on a person’s life and will work the you in a completely discreet and confidential way.
We work across offices in Hertfordshire & Bedfordshire. We are also able to represent you if you live elsewhere since we can also see you at home, in prison or in custody if necessary. Contact our expert Criminal Defence Solicitors St Albans, Leighton Buzzard & Stevenage.