What Is Sexual Assault?
The law in relation to the offence of Sexual Assault states that a person may be guilty if:
- they intentionally touch another person,
- the touching was sexual and the person did not consent to the touching
- and the offender did not reasonably believe that the person would have consented.
Depending on how serious the circumstances of the alleged sexual assault are, cases can be tried in either a Magistrate's Court or Crown Court.
In terms of sentences, the maximum sentence in the Magistrate's Court could be six months imprisonment for a single offence. This could double for two or more offences.
If your case is heard in Crown Court, the maximum penalty could be ten years in prison.
What Happens If I Am Facing Sexual Assault Allegations?
If you are accused of sexual assault, it is vital to seek expert legal representation as soon as possible.
Our sexual assault defence lawyers work hard to prevent an initial arrest because we know how distressing this process can be.
However, if you are accused of sexual assault and arrested, it is essential to know your legal rights.
Firstly, arresting officers must clearly explain the specific offence you are accused of committing. They should caution you by saying:
"You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned, something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence."
You do not have to answer any police questions (we would advise not to answer police questions without a solicitor present). You have the right to free legal representation, which can be provided by the duty solicitor available. Or you can choose your own lawyer.
In many cases, our clients will have had the opportunity to receive advice and support from our expert sexual offence lawyers before they even step foot in a police station. This gives them time to understand and process the allegation made against them, provide their instructions, and receive advice from our lawyers outside the pressure of the police station.
How Can We Help Defend Sexual Assault Allegations?
We can advise on the best course of action to take as soon as a false allegation of a sexual assault has been made.
If necessary, we can arrange for police station attendance and pre-charge representation.
If charged with sexual assault, we also vigorously defend clients at trial and advise them throughout the appeal process.
We appreciate the need to handle each case sensitively and with discretion, ensuring that you and your family are supported throughout each stage of the process.
Given that reputations can often be ruined due to such allegations, our team of expert lawyers can provide reputational and crisis management advice throughout any criminal proceedings to place you in the best position moving forward.
Contact Our Sexual Assault Solicitors Today
Our solicitors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to provide police station representation.
Contact our sexual offence defence team by phone at 020 3820 3078 or email or complete our Quick Contact Form below.
Sexual Assault Allegations: Frequently Asked Questions
What are the penalties for sexual assault?
Sexual assault is a 'triable either way' offence. This means that your case could be tried in either Magistrates' Court or Crown Court depending on the seriousness of the charges.
In a Magistrates' Court, the maximum sentence would be six months imprisonment for a single offence or 12 months imprisonment for two or more offences.
If your case is heard in Crown Court, the maximum sentence for sexual assault is ten years imprisonment.
You would also be required to register as a sex offender if you were convicted of sexual assault.
What defence is there against sexual assault allegations?
Your defence will depend on the nature of the alleged offence and the circumstances involved.
Suppose you are accused of forcing someone to engage in a sexual act against their will. In that case, it may be possible to show that, either:
- no sexual activity occurred,
- the alleged victim consented to the activity
- you had reason to believe they consented.
Alternatively, suppose you are accused of touching another person sexually without their consent. In that case, it could be that you dispute any touching, that you believe the other party consented, or that the touching was non-sexual.
Our sexual assault defence solicitors at Monan Gozzett have strong experience with all of the various sexual offence defence strategies that can help you avoid prosecution where possible or achieve the most favourable outcome if the prosecution cannot be avoided.