California Sexual Assault Laws

California Sexual Assault Laws

What You Should Know About California Sexual Assault Laws

If an individual is facing sexual assault charges in California, it is important that he or she is prepared to navigate through the criminal justice process. After you are arrested, you may be given a chance to post bail. However, there are many individuals who don’t have the funds to pay for bail, so they use a bail bond company. It doesn’t matter if an individual uses cash or a bail bond company, posting bail will give individuals who have been charged with sex crimes more time to prepare for the next steps in the process. In California, the penalties for sexual assault are serious, so being prepared is vital.

Sexual Battery Definition/Sexual Assault Definition in California

The United States Department of Justice’s sexual assault definition is any kind of behavior or sexual contact that happens without the explicit consent of the other individual. According to California Penal Code 243.4 PC, the sexual battery definition encompasses the United States Department of Justice’s sexual assault definition.

Misdemeanor Sexual Battery Under California Penal Code 243.4 PC

In order to be convicted of misdemeanor sexual battery in California, a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused:

  • Carried out unwanted touching of an intimate part of another individual’s body.
  • Acted with the intentions of sexual gratification, arousal, or abuse.
  • Participated in fraudulent actions for the purpose of touching.
  • The individual who was touched wasn’t aware of the sexual nature of the actions because of the fraudulent representation.

Felony Sexual Battery Under California Penal Code 243.4

An individual will be charged with felony sexual battery under California if the alleged victim:

  • Was unlawfully restrained.
  • Experienced unwanted touching when he or she was medically incapacitated, severely disabled, or institutionalized.
  • Was forced to touch the accused in an intimate manner.
  • Was made to masturbate under any of the aforementioned circumstances.


What are the Penalties for Sexual Assault in California?

Those facing sexual assault charges in California will face a range of punishments that depend of several factors. For misdemeanor sexual battery charges, an individual could face up to six months in a county jail if he or she is convicted. Furthermore, the individual may also have to pay a fine of $2,000, which could increase to $3,000 if the victim was a former employee of the convicted.

For felony sexual battery convictions in California, an individual could face a one year jail sentence and a fine of up to $2,000. However, this is the minimum sentencing requirement for felony sex crimes. California law states that individuals who are convicted of a felony sexual assault charge could be imprisoned for up to four years and receive a fine of up to $10,000. Those convicted of a felony sexual assault charge in California will also have to register as a tier three sex offender for life.

In California, sexual battery is a wobbler, which is a criminal act that prosecutors can file as a misdemeanor or felony. Prosecutors will take several factors into account when deciding how to charge the accused. Some factors include the accused’s criminal history and the facts of the case.

What are Legal Defenses for Sexual Assault Charges in California?

Sexual battery California criminal defense attorneys can use a variety of defenses against sexual battery charges. Consent is one legal defense that can stand up against a sex crime charge. If the contact was consensual, or the accused held a reasonable belief that the contact was consensual, he or she can’t be convicted of sexual battery in California.

Another defense against a sexual battery charge is insufficient evidence. The prosecuting attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed sexual battery against the alleged victim. When there isn’t enough evidence to uphold the charge, charges could be reduced or the case could be dismissed.

False allegations can also be used as a defense against a sexual assault charge. False allegations typically overlap with insufficient evidence. A sexual battery California defense attorney can conduct investigations to determine if the allegations are made up.

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