Sex crimes are among the most harshly punished crimes in California. Many of these crimes involve forms of sexual violence and can leave victims with severe damages. Examples of laws related to sex crimes in California include:
- California Penal Code §261: Rape
- California Penal Code §261.5: Statutory Rape
- California Penal Code §647(a): Lewd Conduct
- California Penal Code §647(b): Prostitution
Individuals may also face charges under California Penal Code §243.4: Sexual Battery. While not as severe as rape charges, sexual battery can lead to incarceration and fines. The Simmrin Law Group can provide you with professional insight into PC §243.4 violations and legal defenses.
How the State of California Defines Sexual Battery Charges
Sexual battery involves touching another person’s intimate parts against their will and without their consent. If a woman is subjected to sexual battery, the breast can also be considered an intimate area. Generally, sexual battery occurs if someone touches another person for abuse, sexual arousal, or sexual gratification.
The Severity of a Sexual Battery Conviction
Sexual battery is considered a “wobbler” in California. That means that this offense can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. These two different charges have slightly different definitions:
Misdemeanor Sexual Battery Conviction
Misdemeanor sexual battery can occur if someone touches another person in an intimate area through their clothing. Individuals can be charged with misdemeanor sexual battery even if they do not restrain a victim.
The penalties for a misdemeanor conviction of sexual battery include:
- Fines of up to $2,000
- Jail time of up to six months
- Summary probation
Felony Sexual Battery Conviction
Felony sexual battery is a harsher criminal charge. Individuals who touch another person’s skin directly can be charged with felony sexual battery. Often, felony sexual battery victims are unlawfully restrained, hHowever, physical restraint is not a requirement of sexual battery. Sexual battery can also be charged if the victim was institutionalized for medical treatment and is seriously disabled or medically incapacitated.
Additionally, sexual battery can be charged if the victim was made to touch the intimate parts of another person or to masturbate in front of others. Note that sexual battery does not cover acts of rape, which are prosecuted separately in the court system in Los Angeles. The penalties for sexual battery if convicted of a felony charge rise sharply and can include:
- Fines of up to $10,000
- Prison time of up to four years
- Formal probation
Note that the fines for misdemeanor sexual battery may be increased if an employer abuses an employee. Misdemeanor sexual battery can also carry a longer jail sentence if a doctor or therapist uses their job as a means to inappropriately touch victims. A sexual battery conviction can also result in years of probation after incarceration.
Examples of Sexual Battery
There is a wide range of actions that can be considered sexual battery. These examples demonstrate just a few of the many possible violations.
A man approaches a woman on a subway. He moves closer and gropes her buttocks while she is distracted. He could be charged with misdemeanor sexual battery because he made non-consensual contact with an intimate part of her body over her clothes, and he did not restrain her.
Two men corner a woman in the break room at their job. They threaten her and take turns restraining her while the other removes her clothing, touching intimate body areas. Both men could be charged with felony sexual battery for making skin-to-skin contact and restraining their victim.
A psychiatrist convinces their mentally challenged patient to masturbate in front of them as a form of treatment. The doctor could be charged with felony sexual battery because the victim was medically incapacitated.
Registration as a Sex Offender
Individuals convicted of sexual battery will have to register as sex offenders. For a misdemeanor conviction of sexual battery, registration lasts a minimum of ten years as a tier one sex offender. A felony conviction will likely carry lifetime registration as a tier three sex offender.
Failure to register as a sex offender is a serious criminal act in California that can lead to fines of up to $10,000 and 3 years of prison time.
Defenses Against Sexual Battery Charges
A sexual battery accusation does not have to result in a conviction. Criminal defense lawyers in Los Angeles have professional experience building defenses for sexual battery cases. Common arguments against PC §243.4 charges can include:
- False accusations
- Consensual acts
- Insufficient evidence
Some claims of sexual battery have no foundation in the truth. Some people accuse others of violating PC §243.4 to get revenge or because they are angry. A lawyer may be able to prove that an act of sexual battery never actually occurred in these cases.
Sexual battery only occurs if one person objects to the sexual contact. If you have reason to believe that any sexual contact was consensual, a lawyer may be able to help build your case.
The standard of proof in these cases is quite high. Often with sexual battery, there is no physical evidence that the offense occurred. To convict a person of sexual battery, the prosecution is required to demonstrate a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
If the prosecution does not have sufficient evidence, your attorney may be able to get the charges against you dismissed without the case ever going to court.
You can get the help you need building a defense to sexual battery charges by contacting a professional law firm today.
Build Your Defense Today with a Skilled Sexual Battery Attorney
Individuals accused of violating California Penal Code §243.4: Sexual Battery can end up facing fines and incarceration. You can get help facing a misdemeanor or a felony charge by contacting the Simmrin Law Group today for a free case evaluation.
You can reach our professional criminal defense lawyers by calling or completing our online contact form. One of our sexual battery defense lawyers will review your case and advise you of all your legal options.