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Sexual Battery: Romantic Mis-understandings and the Criminal Law

What is Sexual Battery?

The California Legislature defined battery in Penal Code section 242 as any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.

A battery is elevated to a sexual battery when certain facts are present.

California Penal Code section 243.4 broadly describes sexual battery as any touching of an intimate part of another person, against their will, for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse, is guilty of sexual battery. (Penal Code sections 243.4(a) through (e)(1))

This can lead to tragic consequences, especially between intoxicated young people.

A person may genuinely believe that someone else has invited sexual contact and that belief could genuinely be incorrect. If the recipient of the unwanted touching is sufficiently upset, they may call the police to report the conduct. The police may take a report, make an arrest now, refer the case to the prosecutor, or all three.

What’s the Worst that could happen?

Penal Code section 243.4 is a “wobbler”, meaning it can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony. These are the maximum punishments listed for violations of Penal Code section 243.4.

  • Penal Code section 243.4– Simple Sexual Batterymisdemeanor, $2,000, 1 year county jail maximum, 10 year sex registration
  • Penal Code section 243.4– Simple Sexual Batteryfelony, 2, 3, or 4 years state prison, $10,000, lifetime sex registration

What defenses are available?

Consent is an affirmative defense to a sexual battery, as is reasonable mistake of fact. However, consent must be freely, knowingly, and voluntarily given to be valid, so if the victim is incapacitated in any way it will be difficult to persuade a jury there was consent or that it was reasonable for the defendant to mistakenly believe that the victim did consent.

What should I do if I am charged with Sexual battery?

You should immediately contact an experienced criminal defense attorney, like those at Manshoory Law Group, APC to assist you in analyzing the specific facts of your case, preparing and presenting defenses before and during trial, and making sure you understand your rights and helping you enforce them. The risks of a Sexual Battery conviction are too great to go-it alone. Call now for a free consultation.