Sexual assault is an incredibly serious offence, carrying a maximum term of twenty-five years in prison. Furthermore, Australia has one of the highest rates of sexual assault in the world. If you have been charged with this type of offence, it is paramount that you consult with rape lawyers in Melbourne in order to receive sound legal advice. It is pivotal that you understand your rights and responsibilities before proceeding with a case. So, if you have been charged with this serious offence, or someone you know is in need of legal representation, please read the following guide regarding rape lawyers in Melbourne.
What is the offence?
In all sexual assault cases, the issue of consent is the primary focus. All rape lawyers in Melbourne will tell you this. They will also contend that it is pivotal in discerning whether valid consent was provided or obtained. Sexual assault cases can be embarrassing and incredibly personal, so the specific details of the encounter may not wish to be shared. However, for the sake of both the defence and the prosecution, all information must be made available to the Court. This includes ascertaining whether sexual penetration occurred. Quite unfortunately, so many sexual assault cases go unreported and some sexual assault crimes have even shocked the nation.
What must the prosecution prove?
Put simply, rape lawyers in Melbourne will inform you that the prosecution must prove the following:
- The defendant penetrated the victim in a sexual manner
- The action occurred without the consent of the victim
- The sexual action was intentional
- At the time of the encounter, the defendant was aware that the victim was either not consenting at all or there was some confusion regarding consent
- After penetration, the defendant became aware that the victim was not consenting, yet despite this fact, did not withdraw or cease the action
What is the maximum penalty?
This charge carries a maximum penalty of 25 years of imprisonment, however, if not all of the above components are successfully proven by the prosecution, then your charge may be downgraded or you may be found innocent of all charges.
How can rape lawyers in Melbourne help you?
There are many ways that a solicitor can assist you with your sexual assault case. One of the key advantages of consulting with rape lawyers in Melbourne is their knowledge and expertise of the law. The best solicitors will be able to demonstrate how your charge should be downgraded or disregarded completely or find other legal avenues to ensure you receive a more favourable outcome. You want sound legal representation with plenty of experience and a strong knowledge of the legal framework.
On top of this, rape lawyers in Melbourne have considerable courtroom experience. Having a courtroom hear your case over several days, weeks or months can be incredibly tiring and emotionally fatiguing. Furthermore, it can be difficult to endure the public scrutiny and criticism of being charged with a terrible crime. Standing before a court to plead your innocence can be downright terrifying, especially if you have never been in a courtroom before.
Fortunately, if you have one of the rape lawyers in Melbourne by your side, the anxiety of this scenario can be significantly reduced. Indeed, your solicitor can help you in addressing the members of the Court in the correct and respectful manner, while also helping you understand any legal rhetoric or procedures that may be confusing you.
How do I pick the right solicitor?
There are a lot of solicitors out there, so finding the right one for your case can be challenging. Look for a barrister that is honest and transparent with you regarding your chances. You don’t want a ‘yes’ man; what you need is honesty and a strong case. You don’t want empty promises or a solicitor that doesn’t seem focused. Take your time and do your research.