Have you been accused of rape or sexual assault?

At Lawtons we have a specialist team of criminal defence solicitors that have the expertise and experience to successfully represent you in any sexual offence case. We also work in close conjunction with leading historical sex crime barristers and can provide the advice you need.

 

You need the best possible legal representation

Rape offences, sexual offences, historical sexual abuse offences and indecent assault offences are all extremely serious crimes that can result in a significant prison term. For this reason, it is paramount that you receive the best possible legal advice and representation from specialist solicitors.

The law was changed in 2003 by the introduction of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, which replaced the previous legislation of the Sexual Offences Act 1956. For those offences allegedly committed before 2003 they will be governed by the old law. Historic sexual offences are dealt with under the old law.

 

What is the legal definition of rape?

Rape, along with sexual assault and assault by penetration, is one of the three most common sexual crimes under the Sexual Offences Act 2003. 

Rape is defined under Section 1 of the Act as one person’s intentional penetration of the vagina, anus or mouth with the penis, whereby the other person has not consented to the act.

According to the law only a man can commit rape, as the illegal penetration must be with a penis.

 

What is the legal definition of sexual assault by penetration?

If there is insufficient evidence to charge an individual for rape offences, they are likely to be charged with the offence of sexual assault by penetration, which is classified under Section 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

This sexual offence occurs when someone puts another part of their body – or an object – into another person’s vagina, anus or mouth without consent. The offence of assault by penetration can be committed by either gender.

 

What is the legal definition of sexual assault?

Sexual assault is classified under Section 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. The offence occurs when an individual intentionally touches another person for sexual purposes without the consent of that person. It does not involve penetration of the vagina, mouth or anus. Sexual assault can be the touching of a person under or over the other person’s clothing, it can be anywhere on the body where it can be inferred that the touching was for a sexual purpose.

 

What are the sentences for rape, assault by penetration and sexual assault?

Rape is an indictable only offence which means that an allegation can only be heard in the Crown Court. A conviction for rape carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

The maximum sentence if convicted of the sexual offence of assault by penetration is life imprisonment. The maximum sentence for sexual assault is a term of 10 years’ imprisonment.

In addition to a prison sentence, the courts are also able to impose requirements on an individual to sign the Sex Offenders Register and abide by the terms of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO).

At Lawtons solicitors, we have an experienced team of prison law solicitors that have the knowledge and expertise to offer you specialist advice in respect of these orders.

We are also able to advise on cases of historic rape and sexual abuse, plus offences involving the possession or distribution of indecent images.

 

What should you do if you are accused of rape?

If you are accused of rape, assault by penetration or sexual assault, it is crucial that you are represented by someone who is an expert in this complex and very serious area of law. The consequences of a conviction for rape offences are very grave and will often have life-changing effects for the person accused and those around them.

 

We’re on your side

We offer discreet and understanding advice for anyone accused of a sexual offence.

At a time that is highly stressful and often frightening, we are there to listen to you, support and guide you. Any form of sexual offence is highly sensitive and we take the utmost care when dealing with your case.

If you need expert legal advice on your case, contact us to see how we can help you achieve the best outcome.

 

Useful links 

 

Q&As

 

What does consent mean in sex offences?

Consent is to give agreement to any sexual activity. It is necessary to show that the accused believed that the other party genuinely consented. Consent is an issue to consider when the case involves adults, but not children. 

 

Can someone consent if they are drunk?

Yes, it is possible for an adult to consent to sexual activity when they have chosen to consume alcohol. The issue is whether they remain able to give their consent after drinking alcohol. 

If they voluntarily consumed alcohol but remain capable of choosing whether to consent to sexual activity, there is no criminal offence. If however, someone is too drunk to consent, they are legally incapacitated (for example, incoherant, drowsy, unbalanced, vomiting etc).

 

Will telephone and social media evidence be relevant?

Yes, it is becoming more common for text messages and relevant social media posts to be used as evidence. The police will often seize any mobile devices and download evidence which can be unnerving and upsetting. If you find yourself in this situation, you should have legal representation as soon as possible. Some believe they don’t need legal help as they are innocent, but it is vital that you get the best legal advice whatever the circumstances, so that you don’t say anything you regret later.