Sexual battery is contained in the California Penal Code [CPC]§243.4(a) – Sexual Battery. The law applies whenever one person, usually the offender touches any intimate part of another person’s body while they are being restrained and without consent. In cases as this, an Orange County Sex Crimes Lawyer must be able to establish that the touching was done in violation of the will of the person whom the crime was committed against. Also, the touching must be established to have caused some form of sexual arousal, sexual gratification or constituted sexual abuse.
Sexual battery can be punished under the California Penal Code as a misdemeanor or a felony. The classification of this crime either as a misdemeanor or a felony is based on the specifics of the case. Persons who have been convicted of the misdemeanor form of a sexual battery may receive up to a year in county jail and may be required to pay a fine of up to $2,000. A person who has been convicted of the felony form of a sexual battery may be faced with a fine of up to $10,000 and may receive up to four years of a state prison sentence.
It is important to note that whichever form of the crime a person is convicted of such a convict will be required to register as a sex offender for a period of no less than 10 years.
What is prohibited under the California Penal Code [CPC]§243.4(a) – Sexual Battery?
The prosecution in a sexual battery case must prove that:
- The defendant or someone restrained the victim, and
- The defendant or someone touched the victim or made the victim touch him or herself, or someone else, and
- The touching was carried out for sexual gratification or sexual purposes.
To secure a conviction against a defendant, the prosecution counsel must be able to establish with evidence and beyond a reasonable doubt that the following happened;
- Unlawful restraining; that the defendant or accomplice had unlawfully restrained someone; and,
- Touched/made to touch; that the defendant touched inappropriately or made the victim touch the person or another person intimately
- Against will/without consent; the defendant made the victim to touch or touched the victim against their will or without their consent
- Sexual gratification/ sexual abuse: the intimate touching was aimed at sexual gratification or sexual abuse.
It is important to note that a person can be convicted of sexual battery if such a person had acted on their instincts after mistakenly believing that the other person had given them consent to touch them.
Penalties for sexual battery
Sexual battery as established in the California Penal Code [CPC]§243.4(a) – Sexual Battery is a wobbler offense. This means that the prosecution can charge a defendant with either a felony or a misdemeanor, all depending on the facts of the case. A misdemeanor charge may be switched to a felony case if the facts of the case suggest that there are certain complications which may have aggravated the case.
If a person has been convicted of the misdemeanor form of sexual battery, such a person may face up to one year in a county jail or a fine of up to $2,000. In the case of a felony form of the offense, such an offender may receive a sentence of up to 4 years in a state prison or a fine of up to $10,000.
If a person has been convicted of sexual battery, such a person will be required to register their names in the sexual offender’s registry for a period no less than ten years.
A misdemeanor conviction of sexual battery will result in a ‘Tier one” offender wherein the name is registered for a period of no less than 10 years while a Felony conviction will result in a “Tier three” registration where the person’s name remains in the registry for the rest of their lives.
In the case of conviction, a person may be eligible to probation in which case they are allowed to serve part of their sentence outside of the jail or prison. Probation is available in both forms of sexual battery convictions and may be affected by a wide range of factors as determined by the California Rules of Court.
Defense Strategy To Sexual Battery In California
When you are working with a competent and experienced attorney, chances are that they will be able to come up with a solid defense that will ensure that the case is dismissed or that the complexity of the case is reduced.
There are some common defenses which can be employed against a charge of sexual battery. Some of the commonly employed strategies include:
– Insufficient evidence to convict the defendant
A criminal defense attorney may be able to establish that the prosecuting counsel has no concrete evidence to tie the defendant to the alleged crime thus using this as a basis to demand that the case be struck out of court.
For instance, a defendant, Mike, was arrested and charged with sexual battery on a victim, Dina. Dina and her counsel presented evidence of having been restrained by Mike. Dina in her evidence claimed Mike had tied her down but no marks are noticeable on her body and this was confirmed by a physician. Dina failed to claim that she was held in a room or a secluded space.
In such a case as this, the failure of the prosecuting counsel to present evidence with proves every element of the charge which was made against the defendant can lead to the defendant’s acquittal. The absence of proof from Dina to support the claims and charges against Mike leads to his acquittal of Sexual Battery.
– Consent was established
If the defendant in such a case of Mike and Dina could prove that there was consent, then, the case may be dismissed. This may be proven using evidence like conversations, sexual demands and agreements, sexual preferences which both parties are open to and knowledgeable about and more. in such case where Mike and Dina had met via a sadomasochism website, it may be possible that the defendant may be able to establish that there was indeed consent thus leading to Dina getting tied up.
– False accusation
A defendant may also be able to prove that the allegations were all false if there is significant evidence to prove that such allegations and charges had been entered with the intent to hurt his person, reputation, and image.