Sexual battery is a widespread charge as sex crimes go. You're looking at a severe charge if you touch a woman inappropriately in a private place.
California Penal Code 243.4 PC is the statute that defines sexual battery, also called sexual assault, which is described as touching someone's intimate body part against their will, and with the intent to achieve sexual arousal, gratification, or inflict sexual abuse.
Sexual assault is a separate crime from Penal Code 261 PC rape as it doesn't require an act of sexual penetration. Penal Code 243.4(a) PC sexual battery is defined as “anybody that touches an intimate part of another person while unlawfully restrained by the accused or an accomplice, and if the touching is against their will and for sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse.”
California Penal Code 243.4(d) PC defines forcing someone to touch you or another person in an unlawful sexual manner. Sexual battery is a wobbler but typically the lowest-level sex crime that California law defines. While a felony could be charged, PC 243.4 sexual battery is almost always filed as a misdemeanor.
The “intimate parts” include the genital area, buttocks, or female breasts. Prosecutors typically use this statute to charge someone for unwanted sexual touching, such as a man intentionally touching a female's breast or buttocks over her clothing without consent.
Some examples of a misdemeanor sexual battery offense include a situation when a man intentionally gropes a female in a public setting without permission or purposely touches somebody's buttocks without consent.
The biggest problem with the sexual battery is that if you get convicted, you must register as a sex offender for ten years. That's a huge problem that people don't want. Our California sex crime defense attorneys will examine this law further below.
Initial Review of All the Case Details
So, talking about whether you can win the case makes sense. I've had some recent big wins in sexual battery cases. One, you've got to get all of the facts. Recently I had a case where my client was working for a company, and he supposedly touched one of his customers inappropriately.
But, once we got all the details and I forced the prosecutors to give text messages and videos that they had, at that point, it became clear that their case was not as strong as they thought it was, and that's an essential element when it comes to sexual battery cases – getting all of the details. Because sometimes the facts can help you.
Other times, of course, they can hurt you. That's why we get the client in right away. I speak to them. I, of course, encourage my clients to tell me the truth about what happened, and then as we go through the evidence and decide what the strategy will be, at least I have all the facts in hand.
I can't tell you how many circumstances I've heard from other attorneys where their clients don't give them all the information. In the beginning, some piece of the critical information they should have shared with their attorney comes back to bite them.
Determining Whether We Can Fight the Charges
So, step one is to get all of the details. Step two is to assess all the details and determine whether you have a case you can fight. Many times, there is a motive behind people claiming a sexual battery allegation that start to show that the person that is being accused or charged is, in fact, innocent.
So, sometimes if you can get to the motive behind why the person is claiming that you or your loved one did something inappropriate, that can help you win a sex crime case.
Other times when you talk about a win, it's not necessarily a not-guilty verdict. A victory can be getting a non-registrable offense.
In other words, if we can get you something other than a sex crime conviction, like a simple battery, for example – which is harmful or offensive touching. Then, you will not have to register as a sex offender. You won't typically be getting jail time. We can get the misdemeanor expunged or dismissed from your record.
What Are the Related Crimes?
- Penal Code 261 PC – rape,
- Penal Code 261.5 PC – statutory rape,
- Penal Code 288 PC – lewd acts on a minor,
- Penal Code 242 PC – battery,
- Penal Code 287 PC – oral copulation by force or fear.
What are the Legal Defenses?
There are some common defenses if you are charged with sexual battery. Perhaps the allegations from the alleged victim are false, or there is insufficient evidence to obtain a conviction.
Perhaps during an independent investigation, we can uncover evidence to prove false accusations, but every case is unique. If you touched an adult with sexual intent with their full consent, you should be able to avoid a sexual battery conviction.
Perhaps we can challenge the validity of the evidence by arguing that there is insufficient evidence to support the accusations against you.
Perhaps we can make an argument that the touching was not sexual. If you touched somebody on an intimate part against their will, but without the intent of sexual arousal, gratification, or abuse, you could avoid a conviction.
Further, if our law firm is retained early in the case, we may be able to persuade the prosecution to file formal criminal charges in the first place, called a “DA reject.”
So, there are all kinds of different angles, but we must get all the information first. Secondly, we must see if there's a motive for the other side to lie, and finally, we've got to assess what is the best course of action once we look at all of the facts.
If we decide it is to negotiate, we've got to put together a solid mitigation package, and let me use my 30 years of experience to help you. I've worked for the District Attorney's office; I've worked for a superior court judge, and I've been defending people just like you since the 1990s.
Pick up the phone now and ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding, the founder of the Hedding Law Firm. We offer a free case evaluation by phone or by filling out the contact form.