San Diego Criminal Attorney is a proficient and top-ranked law firm serving clients in and around San Diego. The attorneys of the firm are well conversant with California criminal law and can deal with any sexual battery cases. In case of this criminal charge, these experienced attorneys will argue on your defense. There are various possible defenses for a sexual battery charge some of which include the victim’s consent to sex, wrongful accusation, misplaced identity, false accusation, or even insufficient evidence. It is also possible to argue on the grounds that the accused is innocent of the said allegations or that the touch was not sexual.
What Qualifies to be a Sexual Battery Offense
Penal Code 243.4 of California Laws describes sexual battery as touching an individual’s intimate part(s) without his or her awareness, with a view of satisfying one's sexual desires, arousal, or even abuse. Further, an aggravated sexual battery would occur if there is the use of force or coercion, leading to injuries, or where more than one perpetrator batters the victim. The penalties are severe in instances where the action involves a minor. Likewise, prosecutors would seek to prove that the defendant violated the statute if the victim is mentally or medically incapacitated.
Unlike sexual assault, a sexual battery prosecution would not take into consideration whether there was penetration with the sexual organs – though it qualifies as one of the serious crimes one can commit in California. Surprisingly, just touching one's intimacy without their knowledge could lead to a sexual battery charge, with an imprisonment sentence term of not less than four years. Various actions could lead to a violation of the sexual battery laws. Some of these actions include:
Forcing someone to touch you or even any other individual in an unlawfully sexual manner. By using force, the law implies that you are going against the alleged victim’s will and hence, if you involve yourself in such an act, you are committing a battery sexual crime and liable to convictions;
Touching unlawfully somebody who is under medication, institutionalized, or disabled to gain sexual gratification. Somebody under medication is assumed by the law to be having no ability to defend himself or herself. Caressing the body or touching them in a sexual manner aimed at arousing or inflicting sexual urges imply sexual battery;
Touching under pretense or falsehood state someone in a sexual manner. Pretense, in this case, implies faked situations aimed at gaining access to someone's private parts. For instance, if a medical practitioner touches a patients’ body in a sexual suggesting manner while claiming to be offering medication, then that practitioner could be charged with sexual battery;
Touching somebody in a sexual suggesting manner when the person refrains. In this case, the person is having no ability to defend himself or herself and can be experienced whenever a victim is kidnapped, handcuffed or tied in a manner that he or she cannot physically move. Restraining may also imply enclosing the victim in your privacy against the will.
There are possibilities that someone charged with sexual assault also getting facing sexual battery charges. This will happen if the individual violates the provisions of both the sexual battery and assault laws. However, the two statutes contain different crime elements that would shield a person from a second sex crime charge. A person faces sexual battery charges if he or she has caused real physical harm while he or she can face assault charges if he or she committed the act just in the presence of mere threat or injury. However, one can commit an act of battery without assault, and as such, though battery and assault co-exist, one can usually face battery charges without assault charge.
How Is Sexual Battery Prosecuted in California?
Before being charged with sexual battery, the prosecutor through the states investigative agents must first carry out an investigation aimed at proving some elements pointing to sexual battery. These elements may, however, depend on the degree of the charges the accused is facing. Subject to the degree of severity of the sexual battery committed, the prosecution faced is differing too. These are the common prosecution requirements:
Misdemeanor Sexual Battery
As per Penal Code 243.4, a misdemeanor sexual battery conviction relies on the prosecutor’s proof beyond any reasonable doubt that an individual in question touched the intimate parts of another individual or the accused forced the victim to feel the accused private parts; the defendant did the touching without the consent of the other individual; the touch was with the view of gratification, arousing sexual desires, or sexual abuse. Note that a prosecution under this category does not have to prove skin contact.
Felony Sexual Battery
California law under Penal Code 243.4 requires that, for a conviction of an individual of sexual battery, the trial must first ascertain that she or he unlawfully restrained the individual, touched victim’s intimate parts while restrained or similarly, forced the victim to touch their private parts, and the act was purely meant for sexual gratification, arousal, or even sexual abuse.
Unlike prosecution under misdemeanor sexual battery, felony prosecution use ‘intimate part’ to imply the victim’s buttocks, anus, the groin, vagina or females’ breasts. Similarly, it must be proven than direct skin contact between the victim, and the accused was made. This implies that the alleged victim must have been naked or the touched part was bare. It can also be that the accused skin (uncovered) or that of the third party, allegedly touched yours barely or in clothing.
Institutionalized Victim Sexual Battery
An institutionalized person, in this case, is described as one who is undergoing medication either in a hospital bed, privacy, or home. It can also imply an individual who is terminally ill, incapacitated either physically or mentally, or handicapped. The California law under Penal Codes 243 (b), 243 (c), and 242 dictate that for the crime to be convictable when there is involvement of a victim who is institutionalized, the prosecutor must first confirm that:
The alleged victim was institutionalized and that the sole reason of being there was medication. Also, it should be confirmed that the victim was either medically incapacitated or severely disabled. Because of this, the victim was unable to defend himself or herself;
The accused touched the intimate parts of the victim or forced them to touch the defendant’s intimate parts;
That the accused touched the institutionalized person without their will and that the purpose of the act was to satisfy sexual demand, sexual arousal, or sexual abuse.
Such provisions usually cater for the rights of those who while medically challenged, are abused by some individuals. The physically disabled individuals are also taken care of by this law. For example, medical practitioners may, during their duty, touch the patient's privates with the intention of satisfying their sexual desires. In such a case, the patient has a right to accuse the doctor of sexual battery.
Prosecution of Sexual Battery by Deceitful Representation
Deceitful representation, in this case, implies that the accused falsely represented himself or herself to the accused victim creating a positive impression that what was to happen was to the advantage of the victim. The victim unknowingly suffers the misfortune. Under Penal Codes 242 and 243.4, for one be prosecuted for a sexual battery offense under false representation, the prosecutor must confirm that the accused touched the victim’s intimate parts with a view of satisfying sexual gratification, sexual arousals, and sexual abuse and that the touch was against the will and the consent of the victim.
What Are the Sentences and Punishment for California Sexual Battery Offenses?
According to Penal Codes 243.4 (a) and 243.4 (d), if convicted of sexual battery, the defendant faces either a felony or misdemeanor penalties dependent on the actual act, the circumstance surrounding the act, and the severity of the action. Given this, the law requires that the prior investigation must be done supported with evidence that the alleged perpetrator did what is presented. If, for instance, the person is convictable of a misdemeanor sexual battery, the punishment would include an imprisonment term of 1 year or a fine amounting to a tune of 2000 dollars. This shows how severe the penalty can be.
On the other hand, the punishment for a felony sexual battery is more severe; the law under Penal Codes 243.4 and 243.4 dictates that the convicted is placed under state imprisonment for two to three years or, in rare cases, charged a fine of up to 10000 dollars.
The harshest part of the punishment is that the offense perpetrator is required to register as a sex offender provided by the Penal Code 290 PC of the California law. The law also demands that the person regularly reports to the law enforcing agency coupled with disclosing all credentials, addresses, relatives, and all privacy. Before moving outside of California, the perpetrator is required to present themselves before the law enforcers and, in most cases, there are limited chances of moving outside the state. As a student in any learning institution either within California or outside, the law requires that the person registers with the security officers as a sex offender.
Sexual Battery Charge Defenses
When charged with crimes related to sexual battery, the accused should not panic because a skilled attorney can help argue in your defense. The attorney will evoke the following argument grounds:
Under this, attorneys will claim that you committed the act under the permission of the complainant and, hence, should not be charged. They can as well passport that, the victim was your intimate partner and that you wanted to enjoy your marital rights. In this ground, they can claim that the alleged victim after used a disagreement to assert that he or she was sexually battered. The law demands that you are to refrain from someone’s touches unless there is consent.
Lack or Insufficient Evidence
Attorneys may also challenge the prosecutor that the evidence presented alleging that you committed sexual battery are not enough or may even claim that the allegations are invalid. Because of this, the accused may be free on the grounds that the prosecution should seek more evidence to substantiate your charge. As such, the court may direct the trial and the alleged victim to gather as more information as possible to guarantee your conviction. It is during this moment that you can reorganize yourself for defense.
The Touch Was Not Sexual
The law clearly states that, if the contact was sexual, then the person is accused of committing sexual battery. On this ground, Attorneys will argue on your favor that the touch was never sexual –that even though you touched his or her intimate parts, the notion was not to gratify sexual feeling, arouse, or force them sexually. In view of this, the defendant could not be in violation of the statute on sexual battery.
An attorney would help defend the criminal charge by claiming that the alleged sexual perpetrator was falsely accused. Such false accusations can emanate from the complainant’s mental state during the incident, a way of revenge, intoxication, or a misunderstanding with the victim. This, however, is highly applicable where there is no eyewitness or any recorded evidence that may in one way or another, point to the fact that the defendant was on the wrongful side.
In most cases, mistaken identity can be used to argue in the defendant’s favor. This case applies mostly if the alleged perpetrator wore face masking clothes or anything which could obscure their identity. On such grounds, the attorney may claim that perhaps, the victim mistook the defendant for somebody and, hence, no proper grounds for charges.
In some cases, the sexual battery may be backed with enough evidence from the prosecution side, and you feel like you should be bailed out to seek representation. As such, a defense lawyer may assist in requesting bail.
Do I Need to Report or Register as a Sex Offender After Being Convicted?
California law is strict when it comes to reporting and registering as a sex offender. After you have entered into the sex offenders register, the law demands that you report before the expiry of the fifth day of your birthday. Failure to do that implies that you are committing an additional offense. Within their registry, anybody who is required to report to the security personnel about their pending case but fails is classified as ‘continuing crime’. To be on a safer side, make sure the convicted person has to report, otherwise, will face harsher punishment in accordance with Penal Code 290 of California law.
Essential Aspects of Sexual Battery that Everyone Must Know
When interpreting the law, some provisions pose a challenge in the case prosecution, seeking legal help, and defense processes. These challenges revolve around vital aspects provided in the law. Therefore, it is critical that the defendant understands these terms and avoid falling prey of the prosecutor:
What Is Meant By Touching?
Touching according to PC 243.4 (e) entails physical contacts with another individual. Touching can either be direct or indirect through clothing.
Does it qualify to be Sexual Battery if I Did Not Touch Someone's Bare Skin?
Of course, yes. Touching someone through their clothing could be charged as a sexual battery. However, you will be convicted of sexual battery with misdemeanor penalties, which are less severe lesser compared to the felony sex battery. A sexual battery conviction with felony requires that there is contact with bare skin. It is, however, essential to refrain from any of the offenses as both are a detriment to your freedom.
If After Touching, I Failed to Achieve Any Sexual Gratification or Sexual Arousal, Does It Still Count as Sexual Battery?
Yes. California law asserts that it is a crime to touch someone in any way that causes pain or discomfort. Even if you do not achieve sexual gratification, the law still sees you as an offender of a sex crime.
What Does One’s ‘Intimate Part’ Imply?
Intimate part refers to someone’s private parts which include the groin, anus, the genitalia or a woman's breast.
Sexual battery charge is always harsh in the state of California. It is valuable to find an expert who is capable of handling the offense accusations. Our criminal defense attorney are knowledgeable with sexual battery cases. If charged with violating CA Penal Code 243.4 or any case involving a sexual accusation, feel free to contact our firm at 619-880-5474. You can as well speak to our highly competent legal team on your sexual battery case. In case you need advice, also feel free to reach out. We are a firm with an established reputation in criminal cases in the San Diego area. Don't let a false accusation charge soil your otherwise good reputation, or endure hefty penalties involving a sex offender registration.