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Sexual Assault and Battery Attorney

It’s illegal in California to touch an intimate part of another person for your own gratification or arousal without their permission. If you or someone you love has been accused of sexual assault, it is important to speak with a Los Angeles sexual assault and battery defense lawyer as soon as possible.

Los Angeles Sexual Assault and Battery Lawyer

How Does California Law Define Sexual (Assault) 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.

  • “Touching” Another Person

In this context, touching means making contact with the victim’s body either directly or through either your clothing or the victim’s clothing. Felony sexual assault means that you touched the victim’s bare skin, either directly or through your clothing.

  • Touching the “Intimate Part” of Another Person

With regards to sexual battery, the intimate parts of a person are:

    • The groin
    • The anus
    • Sexual organs
    • The buttocks
    • Female breasts
  •  Against the Person’s Will

This means that the victim did not freely consent to be touched, or only consented based on a false understanding of the nature of the act. In other words, if someone consents to you touching them to provide a medical examination, but you are in fact doing it for your own gratification, they did not consent while understanding the true nature of the act.

  • Touching Another for a Specific Sexual Purpose

To be considered sexual assault, the touching must have served a specific purpose to sexually arouse or provide gratification to yourself or the victim, or to abuse the victim by causing pain, humiliation, or intimidation.

sexual battery lawyer

What are the Penalties?

Penal Code section 243.4 is a “wobbler”, meaning it can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony. Any conviction, whether as a misdemeanor or a felony, can result in jail or prison time and registration as a sex offender. These are the maximum punishments listed for violations of Penal Code section 243.4:

Misdemeanor Simple Sexual Battery

If you are convicted of misdemeanor simple sexual battery, you may receive:

  • A fine of up to$2,000
  • Up to 1 year in county jail
  • Registration for 10 years as a sex offender

Felony Simple Sexual Battery

If you are convicted of misdemeanor simple sexual battery, you may receive:

  • 2 to 4 years in a state prison
  • A fine of up to $10,000
  • Lifetime registration as a sex offender

Misdemeanor Penalties for Sexual Battery

If you are convicted of misdemeanor sexual assault without any additional aggravating factors, you may receive:

  • Up to 6 months in county jail
  • A fine of up to $2,000 dollars ($3,000 if the victim was your employee)
  • Summary probation for up to 5 years, which may include community service, completion of a batterer’s education program
  • completion of a program designed to help those with sexual abuse and compulsion issues
  • Registration as a sex offender at least 10 years

sexual assault attorney

Felony Penalties for Sexual Battery

If you are convicted of felony sexual assault, you may receive:

  • Felony probation
  • 2 to 4 years in state prison, with an additional 3 to 5 years in state prison if the victim suffered a substantial physical injury
  • A fine of up to $10,000
  • Lifetime registration as a sex offender

Note that people convicted of felony sexual battery if the victim is institutionalized for medical treatment and who is seriously disabled or medically incapacitated, and if the touching is against the will of the person touched, and if the touching is for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse, is required to register as just a tier one sex offender, which carries a minimum registration requirement of 10 years.

What are Common Defenses to the Charge?

Consent is an affirmative defense to a sexual battery, as is a 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

Speak to Los Angeles Sexual Assault and Battery Defense Lawyers

Have you been accused of sexual assault or sexual battery? These are serious charges that can not only result in a lengthy prison sentence, but could affect your reputation, career opportunities, and personal relationships for the rest of your life. It is vital to seek legal advice straight away to ensure you get the best outcome for your case. 

Call our experienced sexual assault defense lawyers today. The risks of a Sexual Battery conviction are too great to go it alone. Contact Us now for a free consultation.

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