In 2014, California became the first state to establish that “yes means yes” in a sexual assault case. This idea differs from the formerly accepted “no means no” in that the parties must “affirmatively consent” to have sex with each other. If one party does not consent, then the other may be charged with sexual assault, which is typically charged as sexual battery in the state of California.
The Inability to Give Consent
The “yes means yes” clarification has been established to protect those who are unable to actively say “no.” In other words, a person who is incapable of saying no should not be misinterpreted as voicing their consent simply because they didn’t say no. Those who are unable to actively consent to sexual contact are defined as:
- Mentally defective – Those who are “mentally defective” are either unable to understand that a sexual act is occurring, or the consequences they could suffer as the result of such an act.
- Mentally incapacitated – Those who are considered “mentally incapacitated” are under the influence of drugs or alcohol and cannot give consent, or are unaware that a sexual act is being done to them.
- Physically helpless – The “physically helpless” are those who are unconscious or otherwise physically unable to communicate that they do not consent, or that a sexual act is taking place.
In the state of California, the law says that consent can be revoked at any time. This means that if, for example, a woman agrees to have sex and then changes her mind, her partner must abide by her wishes – even if they are in the middle of the act.
Legal Definition of Sexual Assault
In the state of California, sexual assault is defined as the unwanted touching of another person’s intimate body parts. Intimate body parts are defined by the California Penal Code as a person’s:
- Sexual organs
- Female breast
When sexual assault escalates into unwanted sexual intercourse, this is legally defined as rape. If you have been charged with rape, our experienced Los Angeles sex crimes lawyers at the Simmrin Law Group can help.
Proving a Sexual Assault Case
In order for the prosecution to be able to prove a sexual assault case, there are several elements that must be established.
The first is that unwanted sexual contact occurred while the victim was unable to get away. This contact can occur directly (skin to skin) or indirectly (over the clothes). Also, the defendant can be found guilty even if he or she was not the one to restrain the victim.
The prosecution must then be able to prove that the victim did not consent to the contact. Finally, it must be shown that such contact was made for a sexual purpose, whether it be for sexual gratification, arousal, or to purposefully abuse the victim
If the victim was touched for a purpose other than a sexual one, such as that which can occur during a physical examination, then the prosecution may have a tougher time proving sexual assault. At the Simmrin Law Group, we have the experience and legal expertise necessary to fight a case that may otherwise seem like a slam dunk for the prosecution.
The Penalties for Sexual Assault
In the state of California, sexual assault can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony under the state’s sexual battery laws. If convicted of a misdemeanor, the defendant can receive a maximum of six months imprisonment in a county jail and a fine of up to $2,000. The fine may be increased by an additional $1,000 if the victim was an employee of the defendant’s.
In the case of felony sexual battery, there are a range of punishments that may be handed down. For one, the defendant may be sentenced to up to a year in the county jail and a fine not exceeding $2,000. However, in the state of California, both of these punishments can increase exponentially, with fines soaring up to $10,000, and prison terms for as long as 4 years.
Don’t face a situation like this on your own. Let the Simmrin Law Group help provide you with the best possible defense so you can fight back against the threats of hefty fines and potential imprisonment.
Fight For Your Freedom
Have you been charged with sexual assault? Even if you are innocent of the crime you are being accused of, the system may be working against you. Our Los Angeles criminal defense team has decades of experience helping clients just like you fight similar charges. Call or email us today for a FREE consultation. You can fill out our contact form, or reach us at (310) 997-4688 to be connected with an experienced lawyer at the Simmrin Law Group.
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