Sexual Interference Criminal Defence Lawyer
Sexual offences are among the most serious crimes under the Criminal Code of Canada. In recent years, sex-related offences, especially those involving children, have seen an increase in the severity of the penalties imposed upon conviction, including mandatory minimum sentences.
This article will look into sexual interference, one of the most serious sex-related crimes involving children. If you’re charged with such or other sex offences, it’s advisable to contact a Toronto criminal defence lawyer for legal representation.
What Is Sexual Interference?
The Criminal Code provisions for sexual interference are found in section 151, which states that sexual interference occurs when a person, for a sexual purpose, touches, directly or indirectly, with a part of the body or with an object, any part of the body of a person under the age of 16 years.
As per the definition, the offence occurs when an adult makes intentional contact for sexual purposes with a person under 16 years. This is because, legally, persons under the age of 16 are incapable of consenting to any sex-related activity with an adult, except under very narrow circumstances, such as a 14 to 15-year-old consenting to sexual activity with a person who is not more than 5 years older and not in a position of trust or authority.
Sexual interference allegations have no time limitations, and, therefore, charges can arise from months, years, or even decades into the past. No matter the time frame involved, these charges pose severe lifelong consequences. Therefore, if you or someone you love are facing such allegations, get in touch with our criminal lawyer for legal guidance.
Sexual Interference vs. Sexual Assault
Although the two charges involve sexual activity, they are different in several ways. First sexual interference is an offence where the victims are specifically below the age of 16. On the other hand, sexual assault is inclusive of all ages.
Second, as per the Criminal Code, sexual assault entails any form of unwanted sexual touching, kissing, intercourse or other sexual activity. While the assault is sexual in nature, it doesn’t have to be for sexual purposes. On the contrary, sexual interference involves the accused touching the complainant for sexual purposes, i.e., for the accused person’s sexual gratification or degradation of the victim in a sexual way. In other words, sexual assault is concerned with the victim’s body and sexual integrity, while sexual interference focuses on the accused person’s mind and intentions.
It’s good to note that, in some cases, one can be charged with both sexual assault and sexual interference charges. However, if both allegations arise from the same crime and circumstances, the accused will face only one and not multiple convictions.
Sexual Interference vs. Invitation to Sexual Touching
Although both the invitation to sexual touching and sexual interference are sex-related offences where the victim is below 16 years of age, the allegations differ. An invitation to sexual touching involves inciting or counselling a person under the age of 16 to touch, directly or indirectly, their own body, the body of another person, or the accused person’s body for sexual purposes. On the other hand, sexual interference involves the accused individual touching the complainant, directly or indirectly, for a sexual purpose.
Both charges are severe and aimed to protect children against sex abuse. If you’re facing charges for any sex-related crimes, it’s requisite to have an experienced lawyer by your side. They’ll protect your rights and fight to obtain the best possible outcome as per the case details.
Punishment for Sexual Interference
A conviction of sexual interference carries dire life-changing consequences for the accused person. As a hybrid offence, the punishments imposed upon conviction depend on how the prosecution proceeds, i.e., through indictment or summarily.
Like in other sex offence convictions, the finding of guilt for sexual interference leads not only to lengthy incarceration but also to specific orders that stick with you even after serving your jail sentence. These orders include a SOIRA order and a DNA order. A SOIRA order entails the mandatory registration of convicted sex offenders into the Provincial and National Sex Offenders Registry. The police use this database to monitor and track persons convicted of sex-related offences.
As per the Criminal Code, the possible jail sentences are:
- Maximum sentence – 2 years in prison
- Minimum sentence – 90 days in jail
- Maximum sentence – 14 years in prison
- Minimum Sentence – 1-year imprisonment
The consequences of a conviction are pretty damaging to your social life, career prospects, and travelling capabilities. To alleviate or avert the repercussions of a sexual interference conviction, one should retain an experienced criminal lawyer when facing such or related charges. They’ll fight to get the charges dropped or withdrawn in favour of lesser ones.
Registering as a Sex Offender
As previously mentioned, persons convicted of any sex-related crimes are subject to an order to comply with SOIRA, which results in their registration in the National Sex Offenders Registry. In Ontario, convicted persons are also required to register with the Ontario Sex Offenders Registry. Their name, address, and other personal information are added to the database, which is then used by the police to investigate sex offences.
For a first-time offence, the information stays in the database for 10 to 20 years, depending on whether the offence was prosecuted summarily or through indictment. For subsequent sex crimes, a convicted person remains in the Sex Offender Registry for life.
The addition to the Sex Offender Registry makes it hard to secure employment and gravely affects your social life and reputation. For this reason, it’s essential to enlist the services of a Toronto criminal lawyer for legal advice and representation.
Call us today to schedule your free consultation.
How Lawyers Defend Against Allegations of Sexual Interference
When facing any criminal charge in Ontario, an experienced lawyer is indispensable as they understand the law and can defend you to obtain the most favourable outcome. When it comes to sensitive and complex sexual misconduct charges, such as sexual interference, your lawyer should be able to analyze the case’s details meticulously, devise a strong defence, and vigorously defend you in and outside of court. At Zamani Law, we are well-versed and experienced in sex-related cases and laws, and we’re ready to offer our expertise to defend you. Some of the defences that we employ aim to show that the accused:
- Thought the complainant was above the age of 16
- Unintentionally touched the complainant
- The touching was for a non-sexual purpose
The defence applied differs as per the circumstances of the case and the evidence provided by the prosecution. For a successful conviction, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused intentionally touched the complainant, who they knew to be less than 16 years of age, for a sexual purpose.
When facing sexual interference charges, it’s requisite to retain a criminal defence lawyer as soon as possible. They’ll review your case and advice on the best way to proceed.
Contact our knowledgeable and committed Toronto criminal Lawyers today for a free evaluation of your case.
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