Sexual Abuse cases attract high-profile attention and for this reason it is imperative you have an expert, specialist team defending you. You will need expert assistance and guidance to get a positive outcome and avoid damaging your reputation. Read more
What is classed as a sexual offence?
Sexual offences cover a range of serious sex crimes, including sexual assault or rape, exploiting others for sexual purposes, and child sexual abuse or grooming.
These sexual offences can occur between strangers, current or ex-partners, friends or family members. There is no time limit for allegations to arise — in fact, there are an increasing number of historical sex crime allegations.
Having a strong defence when you are accused of one of these serious sex offences is vital because the accusation can destroy a person’s life. Our expert team of sexual offence solicitors has an in-depth knowledge of The Sexual Offences Act 2003 and can respond to sex crime allegations with a solid defence.
What is the Sexual Offences Act 2003?
The Sexual Offences Act 2003 unified previous sexual offence legislation, largely replacing an act of the same name from 1956. It reinforced and clarified the law by using more specific wording.
The act detailed several new offences, including amongst others assault by penetration, non-consensual voyeurism, causing a child to watch a sexual act and penetration of any part of a corpse.
What are the main types of sexual offences?
There is a wide range of different types of sexual offence. A sexual offence solicitor will have the experience and expertise to know the appropriate way to defend each different type of sexual assault. Here are the main types:
Rape and sexual assault
Rape is when a person uses their penis to penetrate the vagina or anus without consent. Sexual assault is when a sexual act is inflicted upon a person without consent.
Sexual exploitation of both adults and children includes subjection to pornography, prostitution, rape, or witnessing sexual acts.
Sexual grooming is a preparatory process whereby trust is gained for a sexually abusive motive. The victims are often children or teenagers, but can also be a vulnerable adult.
Historical sexual allegations
Historical sexual allegations are claims that a sex crime, such as sexual assault, rape or child absuse, took place some time ago.
Under Section 1 of the Protection of Children Act 1978, it is an offence to possess indecent photographs of children.
Child sexual abuse is a form of child abuse in which an adult uses a child for sexual pleasure or sexual exploitation.
What does consent mean in sex offences?
Consent is defined by Section 74 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 as the agreement to any sexual experience. If this is an issue when defending someone against sexual offence allegations, then we need to show that the defendant believed that consent had been given. In sexual offences involving children, consent cannot be used in defence.
Experts in defence against sexual offence allegations
Our expert team of sexual offence solicitors recognise that being accused of a sexual offence is an acutely distressing experience and can assist at every stage of the criminal justice process.
It is crucial that you seek our legal advice as soon as you can, so that you can be guided through the whole process by a sex crime lawyer with the specialist knowledge and experience needed for the best possible outcome.
Our highly-skilled team will use many years’ experience in this area to fight your corner, and prevent any charges being brought against you. Whatever stage in the process you are in, get in contact today.
Defence against sex crime allegations in the police station
Once the police have received a sexual offence complaint, they can arrest you without any warning and interview you at the police station about matters you may strenuously deny. This can be extremely distressing for you and your loved ones. If you are arrested, then you are entitled to have a sexual offence solicitor at the police station and it is crucial that you do so. Do not agree to be questioned without legal representation.
Sometimes, the police will tell you that they want to interview you on a voluntary basis, but again, you must have legal representation before you talk to them. Your solicitor will then arrange a time with the police for a voluntary interview to take place. Anything you say in these interviews could be used against you in court, so you need the expertise of a sexual offence solicitor to advise you every step of the way.
A sexual crime solicitor is used to dealing with the police regarding sexual offence allegations and they can access all the details of the facts as told by the complainant. This allows you the advantage of knowing all the details of the allegation before the interview.
What if the accused is not fit to plead in cases of sexual offences?
A judge can declare that a defendant is unfit to plead on physical or mental health grounds. If they determine they’re unfit, they can discharge the defendant entirely or, in the case of mental incapacity, place them under a guardianship order, which means somebody else making decisions on their behalf. Alternatively, they could be subject to supervision and treatment order, with a clinician giving them supervised treatment in the community.
Older people accused of sexual offences are sometimes deemed unfit to plea, due to significant physical or mental health problems. If you have a friend or family member accused of a sexual offence and you believe they might be unfit to plea, contact an experienced sexual assault lawyer like Lawtons as soon as possible. We work with psychiatrists who specialise in assessing people for courts.
Preparations for Crown Court trials
The Crown Court deals with the most serious criminal cases in England and Wales and these can include ‘either way’ or ‘indictable only’ offences. Some sexual offences are ‘either-way’ offences, where you can elect to be tried in the Crown Court by a jury or the Magistrates will have declined jurisdiction as they are too serious anyway. More serious offences, such as rape, are triable only in the Crown Court. Your solicitor will brief a specialist barrister and work with them as a team to prepare your case and to represent you at trial.
The trial will be set to take place in front of a judge and jury in Crown Court if you plead not guilty at the plea and trial preparation hearing. The jury will make their decision once all evidence has been heard, and the judge will give the appropriate sentence. In the event of a guilty verdict, this may be given straight away or on another date.
Will you be able to get bail in cases of sex offences?
Yes, you will be released on bail unless the police or prosecution successfully argue that you should be refused bail because there are concerns that you may not attend court, or that you may commit further offences or interfere with witnesses for example.
If the police don’t have enough evidence to charge you for the sex offence/s after an interview, but they think that they may be able to obtain this evidence over time you may be released on bail to return or just released under investigation. The police may ask you to return to the police station at a set date and time for interviewing — after which you could be freed, re-bailed without charge or charged with a sex crime and the case would then proceed to court.
There are bail conditions that can be given and these include handing over your passport to the police, regularly reporting into the police station or living at a particular address or location.
Why choose Lawtons sexual offence solicitors?
We have years of experience in representing people accused of sexual offences, succeeding in having charges dropped before court in many cases. We’ll work tirelessly to achieve the best possible legal outcome for you, dealing with your case with sensitivity and compassion.
Using our experience, we’ll make sure that you receive advance notice of allegations prior to interview under caution. Without legal representation, the police don’t have to provide this.
Taking into consideration the specifics of your case, we’ll advise you on the most advantageous approach to take. This will include ways to avoid incriminating yourself and, should you be convicted, how to minimise your sentence.
FAQs about Sexual Offences
But why do I need a solicitor if I haven’t done anything wrong?
What if I have been falsely accused?
I have been ‘Released under Investigation’, what does this mean?
What does ‘historic sexual offences’ mean?
What if the accused is now at an elderly age?
What does ‘possession’ of indecent images mean?
What are ‘prohibited’ images?
Will telephone and social media evidence be relevant?
What does consent mean in sex offences?
Have you been arrested? Contact us now to safeguard your future.
Solicitors who are discreet
Anyone accused of a sexual offence can face irreparable reputational damage.
At Lawtons, we have vast experience with these potentially life-changing cases, and our priority is to obtain the best possible outcome. Contact us on 0333 577 0522 for guidance on how the case and court proceedings will work.
Punishments depends upon the severity of the offence, in accordance with the Sexual Offences Act 2003. We will advise you on what to expect.
We can represent you in cases including:
- Sexual assault and rape
- Indecent assault
- Historic sexual abuse
- Child abuse
- Indecent image offences
- ‘Revenge porn’
- Malicious communication
- Issues relating to the Sex Offenders’ Register