Especially in today's climate, many people are being charged with sexual battery-related offenses primarily defined under California Penal Code 243.4 PC.
This is a severe charge, and if you have a defense to this charge, you want to utilize it by way of getting the best attorney possible.
If you don't have a defense to the charge, you still want to figure out your best course of action, so you don't put yourself in a position where you end up with the worst possible result.
Because, when it comes to a sexual battery crime, you're looking at registering as a sex offender under the new three-tier system for ten years.
That means you'll likely be on the Megan's Law website. You won't be able to do certain things. You'll have to register every year within five days of your birthday. Nobody wants to do this.
To give you a better understanding of California's sexual battery laws, our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers will review them below.
Sexual Battery Defined – Penal Code 243.4
California Penal Code 243.4 PC described the offense of sexual battery as the touching of the intimate parts of someone for sexual gratification, arousal, or abuse.
This sex crime is also called “sexual assault,” and the intimate parts of somebody's body include the following:
- genital area,
- buttocks, or
- female breast.
Sexual battery is a California “wobbler,” meaning it can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony crime.
A felony conviction usually requires registering as a sex offender under California Penal Code 290 PC. Sexual battery is legally defined as:
- “Any person who touches an intimate part of another individual while they are unlawfully restrained by the accused or accomplice, and if the touching is without consent and is for sexual arousal, gratification, or sexual abuse, they are guilty of sexual battery.”
Closely related California crimes include rape under Penal Code 261 PC and battery under Penal Code 242 PC.
“Touching” means you made contact with an intimate part of the alleged victim directly on bare skin or through their clothing.
These factors that must be proven for a sexual battery conviction are the “elements of the crime” listed under CALCRIM 935 California Criminal Jury Instructions.
What Are the Penalties?
If convicted of Penal Code 243.4 sexual battery, the penalties will always depend on the facts and circumstances of the case.
A prosecutor's decision on how to file the sexual battery case usually rely on the facts of the case, the defendant's criminal history, and any aggravating factors, such as:
- Mental illness or disability of the victim,
- Whether the victim was medically incapacitated,
- fraudulently convinced the victim touching was for a professional purpose,
- forced to touch or masturbate the intimate parts of the defendant.
If convicted of misdemeanor sexual battery, the punishments include:
- up to six months in county jail,
- a fine of up to $2,000,
- informal summary probation, and
- registration as a sex offender under Penal Code 290.
If convicted of PC 243.4 felony sexual battery, the punishments include:
- up to four years in a California state prison,
- a fine up to $10,000 fine,
- formal felony probation,
- sex offender registration for life.
If the victim suffered a great bodily injury (GBI) during the commission of the sexual battery crime, the defendant could receive an additional three to five years in prison.
What Are the Best Defenses for Sexual Battery?
The types of defenses that you might utilize in sexual battery circumstances are below. You can indicate that if you did touch the person, you did so accidentally. In other words, you had no intent to do anything sexual.
You may have bumped the person or rubbed up against the person, but the circumstances were such that it was not intentional. It was an accident, and therefore, you could potentially be found not guilty under those circumstances.
Another potential defense is that you were not the perpetrator. You didn't touch the person. You didn't do anything.
For example, maybe the person has some axe to grind against you, and that's why they have brought these false allegations against you. That's another way to attempt to defend a sexual battery case.
In some cases, the final defense that applies is that someone is manufacturing a story against you.
Let's say it's a partner, a girlfriend, a wife that are trying to get an advantage in a divorce, for example, and now they're going to claim that you sexually battered them.
Therefore, they can gain an advantage in a divorce situation or a distribution of money type situation.
It just depends on the circumstances of your case. Whether or not you have a legitimate defense, what you want to do is come to somebody like me who's been doing this for 30 years and have handled hundreds of sexual battery related cases, get the results that you're looking for, know which cases should go to trial, know which cases should be negotiated.
Strategy Meeting to Develop a Defense Plan
We'll sit down. You'll tell your story. I want to get the story from the other side to evaluate whether their account or your story makes more sense.
I'm going to use my experience. I'm going to use the law, and you and I will sit down, and we're going to decide the best course of action.
The first thing you need in a case like this where you're facing such serious charges as the sexual battery is to develop that plan by the facts and circumstances you find yourself in.
You've got to take an honest evaluation and see where you are:
- Are they going to be able to prove a case against you?
- Do they have the evidence?
- Did the victim call you and challenge you and say you sexually battered them and you admitted something on the phone?
- Are there witnesses?
- Is there any DNA?
There's all sort of different things that the authorities can have or not have. The best person who has to evaluate a sexual battery case is an experienced criminal defense attorney who's been down the road you are about to travel and had success.
Pick up the phone now. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. I stand at the ready to help you.
Hedding Law Firm is based in Los Angeles County as we offer a free case consultation by phone at (213) 542-0979, or you can fill out our contact form.