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California Penal Code 243.4 PC - Sexual Battery Laws

CALIFORNIA PENAL CODE 243.4 PC – SEXUAL BATTERY LAW

Los Angeles Criminal Defense LawyerIn California, it is against the law to touch someone’s intimate body parts without their permission, with the intention of obtaining personal pleasure or arousal. These intimate parts include the genital area, buttocks, or female breast(s).

Engaging in such behavior can lead to charges of sexual battery, which is also referred to as “sexual assault” under California Penal Code 243.4 PC. The specific classification of the charge, whether felony or misdemeanor, depends on the details of the case. Regardless, the consequences of a conviction are typically significant.

One of the serious outcomes of a sexual battery conviction is the requirement to register as a sex offender. Being listed on the sex offender registry can have far-reaching consequences that often surpass those of a prison sentence. Sex offender registration can make it very challenging to find employment, secure housing, and maintain personal relationships.

If you or someone you care about is facing an accusation of sexual assault, it is crucial to consult with an attorney promptly. An experienced lawyer specializing in sex crimes can assist you in comprehending the charges against you and developing a strong defense strategy.

243.4 PC: (a) Any person who touches an intimate part of another person while that person is unlawfully restrained by the accused or an accomplice, and if the touching is against the will of the person touched and is for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse, is guilty of sexual battery. A violation of this subdivision is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, and by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000); or by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, and by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

(b) Any person who touches an intimate part of another person who is institutionalized for medical treatment and who is seriously disabled or medically incapacitated, if the touching is against the will of the person touched, and if the touching is for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse, is guilty of sexual battery. A violation of this subdivision is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, and by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000); or by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, and by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

(c) Any person who touches an intimate part of another person for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse, and the victim is at the time unconscious of the nature of the act because the perpetrator fraudulently represented that the touching served a professional purpose, is guilty of sexual battery. A violation of this subdivision is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, and by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000); or by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, and by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

(d) Any person who, for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse, causes another, against that person’s will while that person is unlawfully restrained either by the accused or an accomplice, or is institutionalized for medical treatment and is seriously disabled or medically incapacitated, to masturbate or touch an intimate part of either of those persons or a third person, is guilty of sexual battery. A violation of this subdivision is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, and by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000); or by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, and by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

(e) (1) Any person who touches an intimate part of another person, if the touching is against the will of the person touched, and is for the specific purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse, is guilty of misdemeanor sexual battery, punishable by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding six months, or by both that fine and imprisonment. However, if the defendant was an employer and the victim was an employee of the defendant, the misdemeanor sexual battery shall be punishable by a fine not exceeding three thousand dollars ($3,000), by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding six months, or by both that fine and imprisonment. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any amount of a fine above two thousand dollars ($2,000) which is collected from a defendant for a violation of this subdivision shall be transmitted to the State Treasury and, upon appropriation by the Legislature, distributed to the Civil Rights Department for the purpose of enforcement of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (Part 2.8 (commencing with Section 12900) of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code), including, but not limited to, laws that proscribe sexual harassment in places of employment. However, in no event shall an amount over two thousand dollars ($2,000) be transmitted to the State Treasury until all fines, including any restitution fines that may have been imposed upon the defendant, have been paid in full.

(2) As used in this subdivision, “touches” means physical contact with another person, whether accomplished directly, through the clothing of the person committing the offense, or through the clothing of the victim.

(f) As used in subdivisions (a), (b), (c), and (d), “touches” means physical contact with the skin of another person whether accomplished directly or through the clothing of the person committing the offense.

(g) As used in this section, the following terms have the following meanings:

(1) “Intimate part” means the sexual organ, anus, groin, or buttocks of any person, and the breast of a female.

(2) “Sexual battery” does not include the crimes defined in Section 261 or 289.

(3) “Seriously disabled” means a person with severe physical or sensory disabilities.

(4) “Medically incapacitated” means a person who is incapacitated as a result of prescribed sedatives, anesthesia, or other medication.

(5) “Institutionalized” means a person who is located voluntarily or involuntarily in a hospital, medical treatment facility, nursing home, acute care facility, or mental hospital.

(6) “Minor” means a person under 18 years of age.

(h) This section shall not be construed to limit or prevent prosecution under any other law which also proscribes a course of conduct that also is proscribed by this section.

(i) In the case of a felony conviction for a violation of this section, the fact that the defendant was an employer and the victim was an employee of the defendant shall be a factor in aggravation in sentencing.

(j) A person who commits a violation of subdivision (a), (b), (c), or (d) against a minor when the person has a prior felony conviction for a violation of this section shall be guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years and a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

Source: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=PEN&sectionNum=243.4.

MISDEMEANOR SEXUAL BATTERY – ELEMENTS

To prove the crime of misdemeanor sexual battery, the prosecution must establish the following elements:

  • The defendant willfully touched the intimate part of another person, or caused the other person to touch the defendant’s intimate part, for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse.
  • The touching was against the will of the other person, or the other person was unlawfully restrained, or the touching occurred in a threatening, coercive, or intimidating manner.
  • The defendant was not married to the other person at the time of the incident.
See also  CALIFORNIA PENAL CODE 261 PC - RAPE LAWS

FELONY SEXUAL BATTERY – ELEMENTS

In order to establish that a defendant has committed felony sexual battery, a prosecutor must prove the following elements:

  • The defendant (or an accomplice) unlawfully restrained another person.
  • While the person was restrained, the defendant touched an intimate part of that person or touched that person with their own intimate part.
  • The touching was against the other person’s will.
  • The touching was done with the specific purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse.

An intimate part is legally defined as the anus, groin, sexual organ, buttocks, or the breast of a female.

To fulfill the requirement of contact with bare skin, the following must apply:

  • The defendant must have touched the bare skin of the other person’s intimate part.
  • Alternatively, the other person’s bare skin must have touched the defendant’s intimate part directly or through clothing.

Unlawful restraint occurs when an individual’s freedom is controlled by the words, actions, or authority of another person, and the restraint is against their will. It is important to note that unlawful restraint encompasses more than just the physical force required for sexual touching.

In the case of misdemeanor sexual battery, the requirement of restraint and contact with bare skin is removed. Thus, someone who fondles a woman’s breast over her shirt could be charged with misdemeanor crime as long as the victim was not restrained.

EXAMPLE OF SEXUAL BATTERY CRIME CALIFORNIA:

Let’s say you find yourself in a crowded room and accidentally touch someone’s buttocks while passing by. In such a situation, without any additional factors or inappropriate behavior, this would generally not be classified as sexual assault. However, if you intentionally touch someone’s buttocks while walking past them and simultaneously make a sexually explicit or suggestive comment, that would likely be considered sexual assault. It’s important to understand that the combination of physical contact and the accompanying verbal behavior can determine whether an action crosses the line into sexual assault.

POSSIBLE PENALTIES FOR SEXUAL BATTERY CRIME:

In California, sexual battery (Assault) can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. When the following circumstances apply, sexual assault cases are elevated to felony status

  • The victim was deceived into believing the touching was for professional purposes, commonly seen with medical or therapeutic practitioners.
  • The victim was unlawfully restrained during the incident.
  • The victim was institutionalized and either medically incapacitated or severely disabled.
  • The victim was coerced into engaging in activities such as masturbation or touching their own or another person’s intimate parts under any of the above circumstances.
See also  CALIFORNIA PENAL CODE 647(B) PC - PROSTITUTION AND SOLICITATION LAWS

If charged as a misdemeanor, sexual assault in California carries the following penalties:

  • A sentence of six months to one year in county jail.
  • Fines of up to $2,000 (or $3,000 if the victim was your employee).
  • A mandatory minimum requirement of ten years to register as a tier one sex offender.

On the other hand, if charged under felony crime, sexual assault can result in the following punishments:

  • A prison sentence of up to four years in the California state prison system
  • Fines of up to $10,000.
  • Lifetime registration as a tier three sex offender.

In addition to these criminal penalties, there is also the possibility of facing civil penalties if the victim decides to pursue legal action for damages.

OTHER CONSEQUENCES OF SEXUAL BATTERY CHARGES:

Even if you are eventually cleared of sexual assault charges, the mere accusation of such a crime can have long-lasting impacts on your life. The social stigma associated with sex crimes is substantial, and you may face difficulties in maintaining personal relationships or securing and retaining employment.

If you find yourself accused of sexual assault, it is crucial to consult with an attorney as soon as possible. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can provide valuable guidance, helping you comprehend the charges brought against you and assisting in building a strong defense.

Your attorney can act as your advocate in the public sphere, working to clear your name and protect your reputation. It is essential not to face such serious accusations alone. Seek the support and expertise of an experienced criminal defense lawyer without delay.

See also  CALIFORNIA'S THREE TIER SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION SYSTEM

DEFENSES AGAINST SEXUAL BATTERY CHARGES IN CALIFORNIA

When facing sexual battery charges in California, there are several defenses that can be used to challenge the accusations. It’s important to note that each case is unique, and the viability of a defense strategy will depend on the specific circumstances. Some common defenses against sexual battery charges in California include:

  • Consent: Arguing that the alleged sexual contact was consensual and that both parties willingly engaged in the activity can be a defense. This defense typically requires presenting evidence or testimony that supports the claim of mutual consent.
  • Lack of intent: Claiming that the touching or contact was accidental or unintentional can be a defense. It involves demonstrating that there was no deliberate act or purpose to engage in sexual battery.
  • Mistaken identity: Asserting that you were misidentified as the perpetrator and providing evidence or alibi to show that you were not present at the time of the alleged incident can be a defense.
  • False accusations: Alleging that the accuser made false or fabricated allegations for personal reasons, such as revenge, jealousy, or manipulation, can be a defense. It may involve presenting evidence or witnesses that challenge the credibility of the accuser.
  • Lack of evidence: If there is insufficient physical evidence or witnesses to support the prosecution’s case, the defense can argue that the evidence does not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the alleged sexual battery occurred.

Consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to evaluate the specific details of your case and determine the most effective defense strategy. They can assess the evidence, interview witnesses, and build a strong defense tailored to your situation.

IMMIGRATION CONSEQUENCES

If you are not a citizen of the United States, a conviction for sexual battery may have negative consequences for your immigration status. Contact an immigration attorney for further guidance. The Tabibnia Law Firm can also refer you to an excellent immigration lawyer if you require one.

CONTACT LOS ANGELES SEXUAL BATTERY DEFENSE LAWYER

Sexual battery allegations can be challenging to defend due to the nature of the crime, often occurring in one-on-one situations without independent witnesses or tangible evidence. Regrettably, sexual assault accusations have become increasingly common during divorce or child custody disputes.

Cyrus Tabibnia, a sex crime defense lawyer based in Los Angeles, recognizes the profound impact a sexual battery conviction can have on both personal and professional aspects of your life.

At Tabibnia Law Firm, numerous clients have been successfully defended against sexual battery accusations. Cyrus, an experienced criminal attorney, has developed effective defense strategies that include mitigating sentencing to potentially avoid incarceration.

If you are facing allegations of sexual battery, it is advisable to reach out to Cyrus Tabibnia for a thorough review of your case details and legal assistance.

Cyrus Tabibnia

Cyrus Tabibnia

Cyrus Tabibnia, also known as Shahrooz Tabibnia, is a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles, California. With a law degree from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, he has been practicing law since 2005 and holds license #237348. With over 18 years of experience, Cyrus specializes in various misdemeanor and felony criminal Law including Domestic Violence, Theft Crime, Sex crime, DUI & DWI, Personal Injury, Employment Law, and Cannabis & Marijuana Drugs Law. Being bilingual in English, Persian, and Spanish enables him to effectively communicate with a diverse range of clients. From 2014 to 2018, he served as a board member of the Iranian American Bar Association. An expungement attorney in Los Angeles who can assist you in clearing your criminal record in the state of California.

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