If you’re facing sexual assault charges in Ontario, you should seek out the best sexual assault lawyer you can find. Sexual assault charges carry the risk of severe penalties if convicted, with potential incarceration, fines, probation, and likely inclusion on the Ontario Sex Offender Registry (OSOR). Know that sexual assault can cover any form of unwanted sexual touching, even something as apparently minor as an unwanted kiss or touching someone’s behind or breast. Know also that being designated as a sexual offender under OSOR imposes onerous conditions on offenders that impact their lives for a minimum of 10 years.
Use Reputable Sources to Find Potential Lawyers
With so many sexual assault lawyers to choose from in Toronto and beyond, figuring out which ones are the best may seem like a difficult challenge. To start your search, you could check out any number of lawyer review websites. Most of these sites rely on reviews based on clients’ experiences with specific lawyers. While this might be helpful, the methodologies used by many of these sites may limit the value of such reviews (see below).
Best Lawyers takes a different approach by basing its reviews on a peer assessment process. The company prides itself on delivering “the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals anywhere.” During its 40 years in business, Best Lawyers has conducted more than 13 million lawyer evaluations with a process that utilizes peer-review surveys to identify the best lawyers in a given area, such as the Greater Toronto area. Those lawyers receiving enough votes for recognition by Best Lawyer must then maintain the level of votes in subsequent surveys to keep their recognition. Unlike some other lawyer review sites, lawyers named the best are not permitted to pay any fees to participate or otherwise influence how they might be portrayed in their reviews.
Choose an Experienced Lawyer
Once you have identified promising lawyers for sexual assault cases through reviews, you should assess how much experience they have and try to determine their level of success in favorably resolving cases for their clients. In particular, you want to make sure that they specialize in criminal defence and have defended clients in sexual assault cases. While this information may be available on the lawyer’s website, you might need to determine the level of experience and success through your initial consultation. An experienced criminal lawyer will be happy to highlight successful cases they’ve defended.
How Much Will the Lawyer Cost You?
Hiring an experienced sexual assault lawyer in Ontario is not cheap, but the preservation of one’s freedom and/or otherwise limiting the severity of other potential penalties—such as inclusion on the OSOR—may be invaluable.
Whether on an hourly or block fee rates, criminal defence lawyer fees will be based on:
- Number of years of the lawyer’s experience.
- Complexity of the case.
- Amount of related evidence involved.
- Whether the case proceeding by indictment or summary conviction.
- Likelihood of negotiating a plea deal.
- Length of trial and/or pre-trial proceedings.
- Whether case heard by judge or jury.
- Any number of other factors.
Looking at Anonymous Lawyer Ratings Online
As previously suggested, online lawyer review ratings may be of limited value. In particular, many of these online lawyer review sites allow for anonymous reviewing, which calls into question the veracity of the review. Additionally, lawyers can pay a fee to be added to such sites and provide them with reviews that they receive, which adds potential bias to the overall reviews.
Turn to Vilkhov Law for Your Toronto Sexual Assault Defence
If you need an experienced lawyer to defend you against sexual assault charges in the Greater Toronto Area, consider Vilkhov Law. With more than 10 years of criminal defence experience and success, Vilkhov Law is intimately familiar with sexual assault provisions in the Criminal Code and with navigating the criminal justice system. As your sexual assault defence lawyer, Vilkhov Law will strive to get charges withdrawn, secure an acquittal, or otherwise obtain the most favorable outcome possible. To learn more about Vilkhov Law’s approach to sexual assault defence cases, review this recent article.