Our firm represents many clients who are charged with sexual assault and one of the first questions they are going to ask is “if I’m found guilty or I plead guilty will I be going to jail?” Now sexual assault can be comprised of a range of activity from perhaps inappropriately grabbing a woman’s buttocks in a bar right up to a very serious rape or rape endangering life.
For the vast, vast majority of sexual assaults you are absolutely facing a jail term and a very significant jail term and let me give you an example. Let’s say you are charged with a date rape where you go on a date and at the end of the night the woman says no and you force her and there is no injuries but she didn’t consent and was saying no and you went ahead and raped this woman and you decide to plead guilty to that. In that particular situation the range in Ontario tends to be two to three years in jail depending on the aggravating and mitigating factors. Your age that sort of thing. Your background and the actual nature of the offence but you are clearly facing a jail term in that range depending on the facts and your background.
Now let’s take a much less serious matter. There might be sexual assault where you did touching and groping of a woman you are more likely facing many months in jail as an example. Getting back to my example of the bar, that’s a touchy situation in the sense that you know you’ve grabbed this woman’s buttocks it’s totally inappropriate. You might be able to avoid a jail term in that situation. Maybe. Maybe not. That is certainly on the lesser end of the scale and it’s a situation where we have avoided a jail term on many occasions.
So it’s a wide range. I mean sexually assaulting a minor is really serious. You are facing multiple, multiple years in jail. Indecent acts and sexual assaults in minors and invitation to sexual touching there is serious mandatory minimums. There is serious jail time. So the bottom line is a real spectrum. A spectrum from no jail potentially on a very low end assault. Maybe a breast grab in the bar. Touchy situation too but it’s got to be negotiated. Right up until the other end where you could be facing 10 years in jail. For example sexually assaulting young people inappropriately which is considered a very heinous offence. They’re all considered heinous offences obviously but there’s lesser aggravated facts and more serious facts.
So that’s the short answer to “am I facing a jail term for sexual assault?”