Specialist Sexual Assault Defence Lawyers

Are you facing sexual assault charges?

If you have been accused of sexual assault, the accusation can be detrimental to your mental health, business, career, family and relationships. In fact, it can have a negative impact on every area of your life. It can feel especially overwhelming because the details of a sexual assault allegation are shocking and can therefore have lasting repercussions for you and your family. Our sexual assault defence solictors understand this and are provide best in class defence for clients across a comprehensive range of cases, successfully dealing with many sexual assault allegations.

Sometimes, accusations of sexual assault can be made years after the alleged assault took place, which is known as a historical sexual assault. This is because there is no time limit for when an accusation of sexual assault can be made. Whether the accusation is immediately after the time of the alleged assault, or a period of time after that date, the police will investigate the case in detail and it is not uncommon that such cases will be prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service through the courts if they have determined that there is a realistic prospect of a conviction and it is in the public interest to proceed.

You need expert legal advice from our specialist team of sexual assault lawyers

No matter when the sexual assault is said to have happened, the police will often be looking for evidence via video interview of any complainant that has come forward. They will also arrange for samples to be taken if the allegation is about a recent assault where the taking of such samples may assist in proving or disproving the offence being investigated. 

You may be arrested without notice and taken to the police station. It is vital that you refuse to be interviewed unless you have expert legal advice and are represented by a solicitor that specialises and has experience of dealing with sexual assaults. Even if you are told that the police want to talk to you on a voluntary basis, you must contact a specialist sexual assault lawyer who can arrange that interview for you and provide the confidential guidance and support that you need. This will ensure that:

  • You get the best possible outcome 
  • There are no surprises — the facts are communicated back to you so ideally, you are aware of all the allegations before any interview takes place 
  • Your sexual assault solicitor is in control of the situation, taking a proactive approach 
  • You can defend yourself effectively against false allegations

As well as sexual assault cases, our specialist team can also help you with accusations including what is referred to as:

What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault

Sexual assault is when any form of touching in a sexual way happens without consent or without reasonable belief in consent. It is an act of physical, psychological and emotional violation. It can include manipulating or forcing a victim to watch or take part in a sexual act. 

Sexual assault does not have to cause physical injury; it can cause injuries that can’t be seen, such as emotional distress. 

The definition of indecent assault is an older legal term and was largely replaced by the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and included  ‘unwanted sexual contact’, but does not extend to penetrative sexual assault or rape. Indecent assault could apply to something physical that took place in a sexual way without the victim’s consent, including where the contact was sexual but over clothing.

Sexual assault by penetration

Sexual assault by penetration is when a person penetrates another person’s vagina or anus by using an object (or any other body part other than a penis) without the person’s consent. This penetration can include objects like bottles or body parts like the tongue or fingers. The penetration can happen between any gender.  

However, if a person penetrates another’s vagina or anus with a penis without consent, then that is defined as rape and cases involving this accusation would come under rape allegations

What is the UK sentence for sexual assault charges?

There are varying levels of offence in relation to sexual assault and they are defined in terms of categories based on harm. An experienced sexual assault solicitor may be able to avoid a prison sentence or get the prison sentence reduced.

Whilst each case is dealt with on the facts that are found proven or accepted, these are rough examples and refer to people over the age of 18:

Category 1: A sentence from three to eight years with culpability found (four years for no culpability) for sexual assault, which could include abduction, the threat of violent abduction or psychological harm.

Category 2: Depending on culpability, a sentence of one to four years for sexual assault, such as touching of the alleged victim. 

Category 3: Up to one year of detainment (or a high-level community order with no culpability) for non-violent sexual assault if preplanned. 

What should you do if you’re accused of sexual assault?

  1. Whether you are innocent or not, it is vital that you obtain legal advice as soon as you hear about the allegations
  2. Under no circumstances should you contact the complainant
  3. You must not interfere with any evidence 
  4. Try to stay calm — trust the experience of your expert sexual assault defence lawyer and follow their expert advice 

Why choose Lawtons as your sexual assault defence solicitors?

At a time when you are likely to be feeling shocked and anxious, we are on your side, ready to provide the best support and guide you through the process.

We successfully defend and help those facing a sexual assault on a regular basis, so our team have proficiency and a high degree of tactical expertise in this area. Our sexual assault defence lawyers will use their in-depth knowledge of the criminal justice system to put you in a superior position to defend yourself against the allegations. Rest assured that our advice is discreet and that we understand the highly sensitive nature of sexual assault allegations. 

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

What defence is there against sexual assault charges in the UK?

One of the most commons defences used in cases of sexual assault is that the events described by the complainant didn’t happen, or didn’t happen as they detailed them.

Sexual assault cases hinge upon the issue of consent. Your sexual assault solicitors may be able to successfully argue that the complainant consented to sexual activity, meaning no crime was committed.

In the case of sexual touching without consent, you might dispute that there wasn’t any touching or, again, that it was consensual. Or your defence could be that the touching was not sexual in nature. 

Whatever the strategy for a defence, we’ll work with you to figure out the best way forward, collecting evidence to support your version of events. Relevant evidence could come from CCTV, social media, messages or witness reports.

Defences to avoid

If you were drunk when the offence took place, you can’t use that as a defence. Drunken intent is still intent.

While there is a defence of reasonable belief that the complainant was 16 or over when the offence took place, this does not apply if the minor is aged 13 or below.

And no complainant can, by law, consent to sexual activities that result in actual bodily harm (ABH). Nor is it a defence for someone over  18 years old to have sexual intercourse with someone under the age of 16 even if they freely give consent.

FAQs about Sexual Assault Offenses

How long is the maximum sexual assault sentence?

Depending on the specific offence, the maximum jail sentence is either the maximum statutory imprisonment time of the magistrates’ court or ten years if you attend the Crown Court. The fine you pay could be up to £5000.

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.

Why do I need a solicitor if I haven’t done anything wrong?

You would be significantly disadvantaged without it. You need a solicitor immediately — before any interview takes place. Arguably it is more important that you have a specialist solicitor where you are disputing the case so that you have someone who is advising and supporting you on your side, it certainly does not make you look guilty. When you are initially interviewed by the police anything you say can be used in court. The police will also provide ‘disclosure’ to your sexual assault defence solicitor before the interview which allows you to get some advance notice about any allegations so that you can prepare. 

How serious is a sexual assault charge?

Sexual assault is a non-consensual sexual offence. It is a serious crime and the charge will reflect that. The term ‘assault’ is used as it can cause severe, long-lasting emotional harm and is treated gravely.