If you or someone you know is facing sexual assault or battery charges under Penal Code 243.4, understanding the crime, its consequences, and the legal process is crucial.
At the Tabibnia Law Firm, Cyrus Tabibnia is committed to providing expert legal counsel and representation in sex crime cases. With extensive knowledge of the law and a compassionate approach, he will protect your rights and strive for the best possible outcome. Contact us today at 866-713-2159 or online to schedule a free consultation with an LA criminal defense attorney.
What is Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault, also known as sexual battery, is a serious crime that involves non-consensual sexual contact or behavior. It violates a person’s autonomy, dignity, and bodily integrity. The specific definition and elements may vary depending on the jurisdiction.
In California, sexual assault is covered under Penal Code 243.4 and includes a range of non-consensual sexual acts, such as unwanted touching or groping. It is important to note that assault and battery are typically treated as separate offenses. Assault involves attempting to physically harm someone or instilling fear of imminent harm, while battery refers to non-consensual touching. The touch does not have to cause physical injury to the victim, it can be harmful or offensive.
In some jurisdictions, including California, the terms “sexual assault” and “sexual battery” are used interchangeably. Consult an experienced sex crime defense lawyer if you have any questions.
Elements of Sexual Assault
To prove a sexual assault charge, the prosecution must establish the following elements:
- Non-Consensual Act: The sexual contact or behavior must have occurred without the victim’s consent, which means freely and voluntarily agreeing to engage in the specific sexual act. If a person is unable to provide consent due to age, intoxication, mental incapacity, or unconsciousness, any sexual contact is considered non-consensual.
- Sexual Contact: The offense involves intentional and unlawful touching of the intimate parts of another person, such as the breasts, buttocks, genitals, or other private areas.
- Lack of Lawful Justification: There must be no legal reason or valid excuse for the sexual contact or behavior. Consensual encounters or medical examinations would not qualify as sexual assault.
- Specific Intent: The perpetrator must have the specific intent to sexually arouse, gratify, or abuse themselves or another person through the sexual contact. The act is carried out with the purpose of obtaining sexual satisfaction or causing sexual harm to the victim.
How Does Sexual Assault Differ from Rape?
(Penal Code 261)
Sexual assault and rape are distinct crimes, although they share similarities.
Rape, addressed in Penal Code section 261, generally involves non-consensual sexual intercourse.
Sexual assault encompasses a broader range of non-consensual sexual acts, including but not limited to penetration. Consult a knowledgeable attorney to understand the specific legal definitions and implications in your case.
Penalties for Sexual Assault Crime
The penalties for sexual assault vary depending on the severity of the offense, the defendant’s criminal record, and aggravating circumstances. In California, sexual assault can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.
Misdemeanor Sexual Assault
- Up to 1 year in county jail
- Fines and restitution
Felony Sexual Assault
- Formal probation or up to 1 year in county jail.
- State prison sentence ranging from 16 months to 4 years.
- Fines and restitution
In a sexual assault case, various defenses may apply, depending on the circumstances. It’s crucial to consult with a skilled attorney to determine the best defense strategy. Common defenses include:
- Consent: Demonstrating that the sexual act was consensual through evidence such as witness testimonies or communication.
- Lack of Intent: Arguing that the defendant did not have the intention to commit a sexual act without consent, asserting that it was accidental or unintentional.
- False Accusation: Presenting evidence that the allegations are false or motivated by ulterior motives, revealing inconsistencies in the accuser’s statements.
Does a Sexual Assault Conviction Require Sex Offender Registration?
A sexual assault conviction doesn’t automatically require sex offender registration in California. However, depending on the severity of the offense and other factors, the court may order registration under Penal Code section 290. The requirement for sex offender registration depends on factors such as the nature of the offense, the age of the victim, and the defendant’s criminal history. An attorney can provide guidance on the specific requirements and potential relief options.
Immigration and Employment Consequences
A sexual assault conviction can have significant immigration and employment consequences. Non-U.S. citizens may face deportation or inadmissibility, while employment opportunities may be impacted due to background checks. Consult an immigration attorney to understand the potential impact on immigration status and explore available options. Seek legal counsel to understand employment rights and possible avenues to mitigate employment consequences.
Contact Cyrus a Sex Crimes Attorney
When facing charges for a sex crime, it is crucial to have an experienced Walnut Creek sexual assault lawyer by your side. A skilled attorney can help you understand the pros and cons of a plea bargain, protect your rights, and navigate the long-term consequences of a sexual offense conviction. Immediate involvement of an attorney ensures protection from illegal actions by law enforcement officers, investigators, and prosecutors. Contact us today for effective advice and guidance through this challenging process.
Call (866) 713-2159 today to schedule your free consultation with an experienced Walnut Creek sex crime defense lawyer. You can also contact us online.