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How to Avoid Sex Registration if Charged with Sexual Battery?

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding | Apr 05, 2022

California Penal Code 243.4 sexual battery is a serious crime. If you're convicted of the more severe forms of sexual battery, you will have to register as a sex offender. If, on the other hand, you're convicted of something other than sexual battery – depending on what that is – you may be able to avoid registering as a sex offender. 

The quick answer is, don't plead guilty to the charge of sexual battery.  If you have to, plead guilty to a crime that is not going to require you to register as a sex offender. People get a little bit confused about sex offenses, specifically sexual battery.  The police can investigate and arrest people for crimes.

How to Avoid Sex Registration if Charged with Sexual Battery?

They can book somebody, take their fingerprints, take their picture, and book them for sexual battery.  However, that doesn't mean the person will get charged with sexual battery, and it doesn't mean the person will be convicted of sexual battery. 

Right from the beginning, you've got to understand the basics.  That is, the prosecutors, who are lawyers, are the ones that decide whether somebody is going to be charged with sexual battery, and ultimately, it's the judge, the prosecutors, the defense attorney, and sometimes a jury that determine whether someone will be convicted for sexual battery. 

So, you could be booked for sexual battery, and the prosecutors could charge sexual battery against you, but if you go to a jury trial and are found not guilty, you will not have to register as a sex offender. 

Or, if your attorney works out a resolution for you of your criminal case where you don't have to plead guilty or no contest to sexual battery, you can avoid the sex registration. Our California sex crime defense lawyers will explain further below.

What is Sexual Battery?

Penal Code 243.4 PC describes the crime of “sexual battery” as the willful touching of someone's intimate parts, against their will, for the purpose of sexual gratification, arousal, or abuse. It's a “wobbler” crime that can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. Sexual battery is legally defined as:

  • “Any person who touches an intimate part of another while they are unlawfully restrained by accused or an accomplice, and if the touching is against their will and is for sexual arousal, gratification, or sexual abuse, is guilty of sexual battery.”

An intimate part is described as a female breast or anyone's groin, anus, buttocks, or sexual organs. Touching in the context of sexual battery means you made contact with the victim's bare skin or through their clothing.

A misdemeanor PC 243.4 sexual battery conviction can result in one year in county jail and a fine of up to $3,000. A felony carries up to four years in a California state prison and a fine of $10,000.

Wobbler Forms of PC 243.4 Sexual Battery

California's sexual battery laws add more severe forms that increase the penalties either to a misdemeanor of up to one year in jail, instead of six months in jail or a felony with up to four years imprisonment in state prison.

The fines for these more severe forms of the sexual battery will increase to a $10,000 maximum. The crucial issue of sex registration will be discussed further below. California's PC 243.4 sexual battery statute lays out four more serious wobbler versions, including:

  • If the touching occurs while the victim is unlawfully restrained by the perpetrator or an accomplice, Penal Code Section 243.4(a);
  • If the victim has been admitted for medical treatment and is seriously disabled or medically incapacitated, Penal Code Section 243.4(b);
  • If the victim is not conscious of the act because the perpetrator fraudulently represented the touching for professional purpose, Penal Code 243.4(c);
  • If the perpetrator causes an institutionalized person to masturbate or touch an intimate part of the victim, perpetrator, or a third person, Penal Code Section 243.4(d).

Sexual Battery Charged as a Felony in California 

Penal Code 243.4(j) PC increases the sexual battery crime from a misdemeanor or wobbler to a felony case if the defendant already has a conviction for one of the above four wobbler forms of sexual battery or the new pending charge is for sexual battery of a minor.

Factors That Determine Sex Registry

Some of the factors that will be considered in determining whether or not you're going to have to plead guilty to sexual battery or whether or not you're going to have to register as a sex offender is that they're going to look at your criminal record.  If you have had any sex offenses in the past, that would be a huge factor that would cause me to register as a sex offender

If, on the flip side, you have a clean criminal record and you've never been in trouble before, that's a significant factor in your favor as it relates to what they may want you to plead guilty to and whether you'll have to register as a sex offender.

The critical thing is that they're trying to protect the public from people who commit sex offenses.  So, suppose they determine that you're going to be a recidivist. In that case, you're going to do this again – you're dangerous – you have a bad criminal record – then they're going to make you register as a sex offender to keep tabs on you and protect the public. 

Learn How the Hedding Law Firm Can Defend You

The bottom line is this.  If you or a loved one are in trouble, you've got to get somebody who has handled sexual battery cases for many years.  I've been doing these cases now for 30 years.

Sex Crime Defense Attorney in California

I worked for the District Attorney's office early in my career.  I worked for a Superior Court judge, and since the early 1990s, I've been defending people just like you or your loved one who are charged with sexual battery and have had a lot of success helping them.  I know the factors. 

If you're charged with dealing with somebody under the age of 18, that makes it much more likely to have to register as a sex offender.  Then, they will look at the facts and circumstances of exactly what you did, who you did it to, and whether it was a vulnerable victim.  There's a whole host of things that will be looked at.

The first thing you should do is pick up the phone.  Make the call.  Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding.  We'll sit down and go over everything in the privacy of my office.  We'll put together a plan to get through this challenging situation. The Hedding Law Firm is based in Los Angeles County, and we offer a free case consultation by phone, or you can fill out our contact form.

About the Author

Ronald D. Hedding

What Makes Ronald Hedding Uniquely Qualified To Represent You? I've been practicing criminal defense for almost 30 years and have handled thousands of cases, including all types of state and federal sex crime cases. All consultations are discreet and confidential.

Contact Us Today

Hedding Law Firm is committed to answering your questions about state or federal sex crime issues in California and throughout the United States.

I'll privately discuss your case with you at your convenience. All consultations are free, discreet, and confidential. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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