What happens if I am convicted of sexual assault?

Susan Karpa Criminal Lawyer in CalgaryIf you have been charged or are being investigated, hiring a Calgary criminal lawyer is important. I can explain the strategy for fighting these charges, the repercussions of a guilty plea, the nature of a peace bond if applicable, and other related aspects of your charges. Contact us now at 587-888-7149 for a free consultation.

What happens if I am convicted of sexual assault?

If you are convicted of sexual assault, you will have a criminal record, and your sentence will depend on your circumstances and the circumstances of the offence, including aggravating and mitigating factors. Aggravating factors are circumstances that call for a higher sentence, such as a related criminal record. Mitigating factors are circumstances that call for a lower sentence, such as an early guilty plea.

The court will also order you to provide your DNA information, which will be kept in a federal database, and may order you to comply with the requirements of the Sex Offender Information Registration Act (SOIRA), and with other court orders.

If you convicted for sexual assault against a child (someone under 16), then you will receive a prison sentence of 2-14 years, unless your criminal defence lawyer can successfully argue that the mandatory minimum sentence violates your Charter rights and does not apply (this is rare). I have a separate FAQ on mandatory minimum sentences. If you are charged with sexual assault against a child, then you will likely be charged with sexual interference as well. 

A strong predictor of a sexual assault sentence is whether you are prosecuted by summary conviction or indictment. The maximum penalty by summary conviction is two years. The maximum penalty by indictment is ten years.

If you are convicted by indictment, it is highly likely you will receive a prison sentence, often one that is a few years long. 

If you receive a prison sentence of less than two years, you will serve your sentence in a provincial jail, and may receive a term of probation after your sentence, which will have certain conditions that you must follow. If you receive a prison sentence of two years or more, you will be imprisoned at a federal institution. I have a separate FAQ on prisons in Alberta.

You may receive a sentence other than imprisonment, especially if you are convicted on summary conviction.  You may also be sentenced to a conditional sentence order, a suspended sentence, or a conditional discharge, depending on the facts of the case. I discuss these kinds of sentences in separate FAQ.