Accused of Sexual Assault: What Should I Do?

October 19, 2020

If you have been accused of sexual assault, it is important to understand the possible consequences and take steps to protect yourself. An accusation of sexual assault can result in criminal charges, as well as damage to your reputation. You may be facing a lengthy prison sentence if convicted, so it is crucial to understand the legal process and how to best defend yourself against these charges. With the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney, you can fight these accusations and clear your name. 

Accused of sexual Assault – Remain silent.

This advice applies when you are accused of any type of criminal offence. Do not attempt to defend yourself to the police, the accuser, or witnesses. Do not engaged in a conversation with anybody. Anything you say can be used against you or used to later contradict you. Makes statements, offering explanations or apologies could make the matter worse for you at trial. Remain silent. It’s your right to remain silent.

Generally, it is best not to speak to anyone about any aspect of the case—including the police—until discussing your options with a criminal defence lawyer. At this point, anything you say can be used against you in court. Even if you say something that should help you, it will be ignored. Once the police arrest you and lay charges, they have made up their minds that you are guilty. There is no benefit to trying to convince them otherwise. Also, making statements to friends or family could make them a witness at your trial.

Sexual assaulted victims will have supports offered to them by the police. They will be prepared to respond to any future contact from an accused person.

Find a Sexual Assault Lawyer

Your next priority is to find a criminal defence lawyer who has specific experience defending sexual assault charges.

In addition to experience, the best criminal lawyer for you is one whom you trust and are able to communicate openly and effectively. You will be working closely with your legal counsel and you need to be able to be completely honest with them as well as having confidence in their capabilities as your lawyer. 

If there is a significant communication problem or lack of trust in your defence, consider changing your lawyer before the trial begins.

honestly Assess the Sexual Assault Charges

It is common, especially when the defendant has been accused of sexual assault and they believe that are innocent to underestimate the severity of the allegations. Coming to terms with the realities of sexual assault charges is a difficult, but necessary step in preparing for what’s to come. Understanding the accusations and all the supporting evidence is important to preparing your defence.

Meeting with a criminal lawyer who is knowledgeable in sexual assault cases, provides the opportunity to assess and understand the charges and evidence against you. As well, it can provide a clearer understanding of your available options and their potential outcomes.

Defending Sexual Assault Charges

Ultimately, building a sexual assault defence is the responsibility of the criminal lawyer. Although you are best served to defer to their experience and expertise, there may be some steps you can take to help their cause.

Create a Timeline

After reviewing disclosure documents, create a detailed chronological outline of events. Include everything from the beginning of the alleged events, including all interactions and developments leading up to the charges. Also include on the timeline prior sexual activity that happened around the event. Consider not only your recollection, but also what evidence may be available through witnesses, email, texts, or other sources.

This timeline can also include incidents or events that may establish motives for the complainant to make false allegations. Or any other instances of allegations of sexual violence or domestic assault.

Create a Witness List

Provide your lawyer with a complete list of witnesses who could be relevant to the trial. Your timeline is a useful reference for recognizing potential witnesses. Include both positive and negative witnesses, as you do not want your lawyer to be surprised by, or unaware of, witnesses who may be asked to testify against you. Arm your sexual assault lawyer with as much relevant information as possible.

Preserve Evidence

Save all relevant evidence and communications surrounding the accusations and alleged events – all text messages, emails, social media contacts, dating profile conversations. Especially all the messages before and after the sexual act. Criminal defence lawyers are evidence experts, consult with your lawyer for advice on what you need to preserve. Sexually assaulted victims will be coached by police to preserve their evidence.

For further information about the interaction of media and some common trends with sexual assaults and social media this article by William Jaksa may be interesting.

Experts

Consult with your lawyer on which, if any, relevant experts you should include in the defence. This can include retaining an expert witness, hiring a private investigator, or pursuing scientific testing.

Domestic Assault Charges

Sexual Assault Charges

Toronto Sexual Assault Lawyer

If you are accused of a sexual assault, it is important to remember the following:

  1. Hire an experienced criminal lawyer as soon as possible.
  2. Remain silent and don’t engage with the complainant or police.
  3. Assess and understand the evidence against you.
  4. Preserve your evidence and communications.
  5. Start thinking about witnesses who can support your case.

These tips will help you navigate through what can be a difficult time. It is crucial to have someone fighting for your rights and advocating on your behalf and offering reliable legal advice during this process.

William Jaksa understands the stigma that stems from being charged with a sexual assault-related offence. He has experience dealing with highly sensitive and publicized sexual assault cases. Contact legal counsel William Jaksa for your consultation.

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