Being accused of sexual assault can have a devastating impact on your life and cause irreparable damage. If you are accused of sexual assault, it’s important to understand the types of charges you may face.
In this article, we explain the different types of sexual assault charges under the Criminal Code of Canada so you can better understand what lies ahead.
What Is Considered Sexual Assault in Canada?
The Criminal Code of Canada broadly defines sexual assault as any assault that is sexual in nature and committed without the consent of the assaulted person. However, there are several different types of sexual assault charges in Canada. We will explain them below.
The Most Common Sexual Assault Charges Under the Criminal Code
Under the Criminal Code, there are three types of sexual assault charges. They include:
This is the most common sexual assault charge in Canada. It is defined by the Criminal Code as an assault that is sexual in nature but does cause any physical injuries to the victim. To be convicted of Common Sexual Assault, the crown must prove that the complainant did not consent.
With this charge, if the complainant is under the age of 16, the accused faces a minimum of one year in prison, with a maximum sentence of 14 years. When the victim is over the age of 16, the maximum sentence that can be handed down is 10 years in prison.
Aggravated Sexual Assault
Aggravated sexual assault is defined as a sexual assault that causes severe injury and results in the victim being maimed, wounded, disfigured or having their life put in danger.
The penalties for this charge are as follows:
- Aggravated sexual assault with a restricted or prohibited weapon: minimum sentence of five years in prison for first-time offenders and seven years for repeat offenders.
- Aggravated sexual assault with a non-restricted weapon: minimum sentence of four years, maximum sentence of life in prison.
- Aggravated sexual assault when the victim is under 16: minimum sentence of five years, maximum sentence of life in prison.
Sexual Assault with a Weapon, Threats to a Third Party or Causing Bodily Harm
Section 272 of the Criminal Code defines this charge as follows:
Every person commits an offence who, in committing a sexual assault,
- carries, uses, or threatens to use a weapon or an imitation of a weapon;
- threatens to cause bodily harm to a person other than the complainant;
- causes bodily harm to the complainant;
- (c.1) chokes, suffocates or strangles the complainant; or
- is a party to the offence with any other person.
The penalties for this charge depend on the unique circumstances of the offence and are listed below:
- Sexual assault causing bodily harm with a restricted or prohibited weapon: minimum sentence is five years in prison for first-time offenders and seven years for repeat offenders.
- Sexual assault causing bodily harm with a non-restricted weapon: minimum sentence is four years, maximum sentence is 14 years.
- Sexual assault causing bodily harm when the victim is under 16: minimum sentence is five years, maximum sentence is life in prison.
Vancouver’s Leading Criminal Lawyer
If you are a Vancouver resident accused of or charged with a sexual assault-related offence and require the representation of an experienced criminal defence lawyer, contact the office of Tom Doust.
With over 20 years of experience in law, Tom Doust understands how traumatic a sexual assault charge can be and will provide you with the best possible defence without judgment.