Understanding California’s Sex Crimes Laws
There is a good amount of confusion surrounding different sex crimes in the United States. The media and television shows often uses terms like “sexual misconduct” to refer to a wide range of behavior – some of which is against the law and some which is not. The terminology for sex-related crimes in California also differs from that of other states which can add to misunderstandings. If you or a loved one have been accused of a sex crime in California, your first step is to understand what you are up against. Read on to learn about one of the most common sex crimes Californians are accused of and how you can build a solid defense against such accusations.
Sexual Battery/Assault Basics
Sexual battery generally refers to unwanted touching of an individual’s intimate body parts. The California Penal Code delineates “intimate parts” as the “sexual organ, anus, groin, or buttocks of any person, and the breast of a female.” When sexual battery or sexual assault includes nonconsensual sexual intercourse, it is considered rape.
In order to convict a criminal defendant of sexual battery, the prosecutor must prove the following elements:
- The defendant touched the victim’s intimate parts without his or her consent;
- The victim was restrained either by the defendant or someone else; and
- The defendant’s intent was sexual gratification or abuse. For example, if the touching was part of a legitimate medical examination, the prosecutor may have difficulty proving sexual battery or assault.
Consequences of a Sexual Battery Conviction
Sexual battery can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony in California. Misdemeanor sexual battery is punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 as well as up to 6 months in jail. The punishment for felony sexual battery can include fines up to $10,000 and up to four years in jail. The specific circumstances of the alleged crime will determine sentencing.
Defenses Against Sexual Battery Charges
Defendants accused of sexual assault or sexual battery who can prove that the sexual contact between them and the supposed victim occurred with their consent, the prosecutor may not be able to prove sexual battery. If a defendant can provide an alibi that proves that they were in a different location at the time of the alleged crime, this may lead to an acquittal. Misidentification of the perpetrator is another defense against sexual battery charges that can be successful.
Contact a San Jose, California Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been accused of a sex crime, contact an experienced South San Francisco Bay area sex crimes defense attorney. Call (408) 277-0377 to schedule a completely confidential consultation with Wesley Schroeder, Attorney at Law today.