If you’ve been accused of something as potentially life-changing as sexual assault, it’s understandable if it affects your sleep and appetite. There is likely to be a sense of anxiety about what people will think of you, and you will feel desperate to clear your name and protect your reputation. You will also be keen to find a way to avoid a potential prison sentence.
For professionals who have created a career out of consulting or their persona, it’s bound to cause even more anxiety. It is frightening to think about what allegations of this nature can do to a career and quality of life. It’s understandable that you’ll be feeling under pressure and overwhelmed.
Sexual assault cases are distressing
Being accused of sexual assault is extremely distressing. While the rule of law and the Human Rights Act follow the principle of everyone being ‘innocent until proven guilty’, those accused of sexual assault will inevitably feel they are being assumed to be guilty until they prove their own innocence.
The impact on your well-being, your loved ones and any business you may be operating is immeasurable. You will no doubt be battling the ‘what if’ syndrome and running your mind through countless possibilities and hypothesis. It is therefore fundamentally vital that you engage specialist sexual offences solicitors from the very outset.
To help you to get through this challenging time, we’ve put together a few of the questions that clients typically ask when they are involved in a sexual assault investigation. We aim to support you emotionally and practically at a time when you feel vulnerable and worried that your life could be transformed and not for something better.
If you have any questions that we haven’t answered here, please contact us to find out more information about what to expect in an investigation or case of this nature.
You may receive a telephone from the Police
When a knock at the door means the police have arrived to interrogate you, it can be very frightening. It’s proven that what happens during your police station attendance, will often determine the outcome of your case.
In a situation such as this, it’s absolutely vital that you have a solicitor by your side for any police interview. If you haven’t been arrested or charged, the police are likely to invite you to the station for a ‘chat’. They will invite you in on the basis that they wish to ‘hear your side of the story’. It can put you off your guard, and you may inadvertently say something that could be used to incriminate you later.
The police have been trained in many interviewing tactics, and some of them aren’t designed to be helpful from your point of view. Sometimes they may even tell you that waiting for a solicitor is going to take a long time; they will suggest that it’s better to go ahead with the interview. We even know of some cases where a person has been told that they don’t even need a solicitor – all this, to maximise their chances of securing a conviction of guilt.
Contrary to all of the above, it’s critical that you have a solicitor with you during an interview at the police station, even if you feel you don’t have anything to hide. Although the police may say that they are neutral and purely on a fact-finding mission, it can still put you into a vulnerable position. It’s important to note that the role of the police is to arrest, charge and convict. The purpose of the Solicitor is to craft a defence to stop this from happening.
Have you been accused of Sexual Assault?
If you or somebody close to you has been accused of a sexual assault allegation, you will be feeling very confused, worried, stressed and concerned about what’s going to happen.
For the prosecution to prove sexual assault, they must show:
You intentionally touched another person
The touching was both inappropriate and sexual
The other person involved did not give consent to such a sexual act; and
You do not fully believe that the other person consented to such an act
It is not for you to prove your innocence but for the prosecution to prove your guilt.
As there is no time limit when charges are brought, the prosecution can bring charges if they feel it’s in the public interest to do so. Cases of this nature are usually known as historic sexual offence cases.
What type of actions are considered Sexual Assault?
The most common sexual offences committed against adults are sexual assault and assault by penetration.
Sexual assault by penetration – this is when something other than a penis is inserted into the anus or the vagina without consent or reasonable belief in consent.
Sexual assault – this is when any form of touching takes place that is sexual in nature and is performed without there being consent given or without reasonable belief in consent.
There are many other criminal sexual offences, including those committed against children, family members, those with mental disorders and those committed by a person in a position of trust such a religious person or a teacher.
If you are told you are part of an investigation for any of these offences, it’s critical that you take professional legal advice as quickly as possible. The police will want to interview you, and it’s essential that you have a solicitor with you for this. What happens in the police interview can determine what the outcome of the case is.
What happens in a Sexual Assault investigation?
When a sexual assault investigation takes place, it can be a very worrying time. You’ll wonder how it will affect your primary relationship, that with your children and other family members. What will the effect be on your career or business? You may worry that you will be imprisoned and that you won’t have enough funds to cover bills, food and anything else that your family needs.
Your world feels upside down, and these circumstances are casting more than a dark shadow over your life.
What should you do if you get arrested or charged with Sexual Assault?
If you have been accused of sexual assault, it is of paramount importance that you seek help immediately. The sooner you engage your legal team, the better your chances of success.
Can the police search my home?
The police can search your home as they will be seeking evidence. The authorities will have granted access to your property, and the police will carry through the search.
They will seize anything which can produce evidence to support the prosecution and most certainly, your electronic communication devices will be taken, downloaded and interrogated.
Could you go to jail for Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault is a serious offence and most times you will receive a prison sentence for it. However, it’s not the case every time. In some situations, you may even be able to get your case resolved outside of the court system.
What mitigating factors may be considered in sentencing?
When sentencing for sexual assault, your case will be looked at carefully for how much harm you have caused the victim, mentally and physically.
Your previous convictions, if any, will be considered and your personal, business and familial circumstances will also be of important consideration.
Whether or not certain informations are advanced on your behalf is the role of a sexual offences solicitor who will carefully plan to persuade the court to not imprison you and to impose the most lenient of sentences.
What type of sentence could you get for Sexual Assault?
The sentence for sexual assault depends on a vast array of factors including the age of the victim, the number of victims, the duration of the assault, the nature and type of the assault, the short and long term harm upon the victim and the impact on the victim’s loved ones.
Whether you confessed or fought the case at trial and your own mitigation are also factors which will impact the sentence being imposed.
The maximum sentence for sexual assault is 7 years’s imprisonment but this type of sentence is reserved for the most vicious and serious of assaults. Read more information about sentencing for Sexual Assault
You may have been falsely accused of sexual assault
We have taken on several cases where somebody has been falsely accused of sexual assault. Our solicitors have experience of getting cases dismissed, in particular where it appears that a case has been ‘manufactured’ to sully a name or for financial benefit.
Nevertheless, our sexual offences solicitors are not in the habit of sitting around and letting the prosecution strengthen their case.
What most people comment on about our team is our deftness at simply explaining complex laws. They also recommend us for the support that we give our clients. We know this can be a challenging time for people in this situation, and we provide the support that makes the difference to a client. Our team are here to listen to your side of the case, to talk you through the process, and to put together a defence that will be in your best interests.
Does a conviction for Sexual Assault go on your criminal record?
If your sexual assault case is heard in court and you are convicted of the crime, your conviction will be recorded on your CRB / police record.
The period of the endorsement will depend on the nature and length of the sentence imposed on you.
In addition, your name will be added to the ‘sex offenders register’ and you will be subjected to ‘notification requirements’.
How Can Stuart Miller Solicitors Help?
Our sexual offences solicitors will make it their job to act discreetly and sensitively to your needs. We are aware as to how this may be affecting you and want to help and support you in the right way. Rather than second guess the issues, our lawyers will advise you accurately and effectively so you can ease your mind and build confidence in your defence case.
We will work with you to understand your account of events and then decide how best to present your side of the story. In doing this, we will analyse the prosecution’s case in detail; we will contest the admissibility of evidence and fight rigorously to ensure all disclosure has been provided, especially materially which may assist the defence case.
What will happen when I instruct a sexual assault lawyer?
Most importantly in allegations of sexual assault, the issue of consent must be analysed with a fine-tooth comb, and since there are unlikely to be third-party witnesses, our sexual offences solicitors will build a picture matching your version of events. To do this, we will explore and collect any indirect and circumstantial evidence which supports your case and falls in line with the defence strategy. If we can gather material which proves the complainant to be a prolific liar, for example, these are the sorts of investigations we will make.
We will engage brilliant and specialist sexual offences barristers who will stand with us side by side throughout your case. If there is any reason to explore mobile phone evidence or computer evidence, we will engage specialists who do just that and then invite them to present their findings to the court.
Would you like to discuss your case before instructing us?
If you’d like to have a no obligation chat with us before you instruct us to take your case, then contact us today.
In addition to giving you a free consultation, we can also represent you at the police station if you’ve been arrested. We can look at securing your legal aid.
Please contact us for a face to face meeting or a telephone call. There is a WhatsApp link on this page if that is your preference.
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