In 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.
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.
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 sexual battery 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.
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 as a felony, 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.
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.
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.