Not everyone who is accused of sexual abuse had any criminal intent—and in many cases, accusations are made when no sexual abuse actually happened. Nonetheless, the number of sexual abuse allegations is on the rise, especially in divorce cases, and they can ruin lives. If you have been accused of any form of sexual abuse, you need to talk to a Los Angeles sexual abuse lawyer.
The Simmrin Law Group is here to help. We believe that you are innocent until proven guilty. When you call us, we will listen to you, take your side, and launch our own investigation to prove that you are innocent—and we have the resources and track record to win cases. Let us give you a FREE consultation on your case. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 and get your free consultation today.
What counts as sexual abuse in Los Angeles?
Sexual abuse is a general term that includes any kind of unwanted sexual conduct, especially when it’s an ongoing pattern with someone in your personal life. Both minors (under 18) and adults can make allegations of sexual abuse.
Some important things to know about sexual abuse include:
- You can be convicted of a sexual abuse charge even if no sexual intercourse occurred
- You can be convicted even if you never used force or physically hurt someone
- These allegations are often made with very little evidence
- The courts are much less willing to make plea bargains and drop cases now, largely because of the high-profile cases that have demonized light sentenced for sexual abusers
- The best way to defend your case is to have an experienced lawyer who understands sexual abuse cases
What crimes can I be charged with in a Los Angeles sexual abuse case?
There are dozens of California sex offenses, but several come up most often in sexual abuse cases. The specific charge will depend on whether the alleged victim is an adult or a minor.
If the alleged victim was an adult, the two most common charges are:
- Sexual assault. Sexual assault or rape is charged when there was sexual intercourse, involving penetration of the body by the penis. You can only be convicted of sexual assault if the intercourse was non-consensual, but the rules of consent are complex. You could be convicted if the person was intoxicated, if you misled them in any way, or if they expressed hesitation or unwillingness but did not firmly say no.
- Sexual battery. Sexual battery covers most other kinds of cases of unwanted sexual conduct. Touching a person in any intimate way for sexual gratification, or to humiliate or control them, counts as sexual battery even if no actual intercourse occurred. Even a brief grab or pat can count as sexual battery.
If the alleged victim was a minor, you could still face the charges above but there is another, much broader charge that can apply: misdemeanor child molestation.
- Child molestation applies to any situation where to touch, molest or annoy a minor for the purposes of sexual gratification. The touch can be seemingly innocuous, like a hug, but it is still illegal if there was a sexual intent behind it.
Child molestation applies to any minor under 18, but there are even more severe laws if the child was was younger (usually under 14, or up to 15 in some cases).
What should I do if I’m accused of sexual abuse?
The most important thing you can do is stop talking.
The defining feature of any sexual abuse case is how little hard evidence there is. The incident usually happens in a private one-on-one situation with no witnesses. In some cases, there is physical evidence of sex (such as a semen sample) but no way of proving whether the act was consensual or not.
This lack of proof is what makes it so frustrating to face a sexual abuse charge, but it is also the strongest tool in your defense. And the police know this.
That’s why investigators will do almost anything to get you to say something incriminating. Remember: nothing you say to police will help your case. They already believe you did it, so there are only two outcomes to talking to them:
- You stay quiet the whole time, and request a lawyer.
- You say something you think is harmless, and end up incriminating yourself (even if you’re innocent).
The same applies to talking to the victim—even if they are an ex-spouse or partner. Break off all contact and let your lawyer do the talking.
If you have already made statements to the police, that does not mean your case is unwinnable. But there is no reason to hand them additional evidence if you can help it.
If I’m convicted, will I have to register as a sex offender?
Yes. Unfortunately, almost all sex crimes used in sexual abuse cases require you to register as a sex offender—but only if you are convicted.
What are the penalties for sexual abuse?
The penalties are different for each charge. However, all of the charges listed above can carry up to a year in jail even if they are charged as a misdemeanor. Many can easily become felonies, and carry lengthy prison sentences.
You can also be ordered to pay restitution money to the victim or their family.
What defenses work against sexual abuse charges?
Some of the most common defenses include:
- The act was consensual. Consensual sexual contact is legal with adults, and with minors it may be a much less serious charge.
- No evidence. Remember that the burden of proof is on the prosecutor. If they do not have evidence of what happened, you could get the case dismissed or win in court.
- It never happened. False accusations are shockingly common. The supposed victim may be trying to get attention, to get revenge, or to win in divorce or child custody proceedings.
- Police misconduct. If you made statements to police but were not properly read your rights, or any other misconduct happened, the statements may not be admissible in court. This can help win cases.
The best defense will depend on your case and what happened. You need to talk to lawyer.
Talk to a Los Angeles Sexual Abuse Defense Lawyer for Free
One conviction for sexual abuse can have lifelong consequences. You need to fight the charge before it’s too late. Let the Simmrin Law Group give you a FREE consultation. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 310-997-4688 and get your free consultation today.