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Difference Between Sexual Battery and Regular Battery

What is the Difference Between Sexual Battery Under California Penal Code 243.4 PC and Regular Battery Under Penal Code 242 PC?

There is a distinction between these two, and it's a crucial distinction, both with what the charge is and the punishment that comes along with it.

A sexual battery is going to bring a whole host of problems.  Number one, you're going to have to register as a sex offender.  You're probably going to be on Megan's Law.

People will be able to find and determine that you are a sex offender, and your punishment will probably be much greater than if you were charged with a regular battery.

PC 242 Regular Battery is Misdemeanor Harmful Touching

When we talk about a regular misdemeanor battery, the definition of that is harmful or offensive touching:

California Penal Code 242 Battery
  • you can hit somebody,
  • slap them,
  • push them,
  • smack something out of their hand.

Whatever the case may be, technically, that is a battery — Penal Code Section 242 — it's a misdemeanor.

Punishment-wise, you're usually not going to get any jail time unless you have a bad criminal record and somebody really gets hurt, in which case, they'd probably charge something much more severe than a regular battery.

So, I would characterize a regular battery as a low-grade misdemeanor.  You'll probably be put on probation for a couple of years, and there would be other potential punishments.

An exemplary community service, maybe a stay-away from whoever you supposedly battered.  You'd have to come in and sit down with me and talk about that.

PC 243.4 Sexual Battery Includes Sex Registration

Whereas, with a Penal Code 243.4 PC sexual battery:

Sexual Battery - California Penal Code 243.4
  • you're looking at jail time;
  • You're looking at sex registration.
  • You're probably going to get a complete protective order related to whatever person you purportedly sexually battered.

And as far as a little standard definition of a sexual battery, is you're touching somebody typically in an intimate part of their body against their will.

Obviously, and then there also has to be the circumstances or evidence that supports the fact that you did so in a sexual manner.

Sexual battery case example

For example, if you walk by a beautiful woman and you graze her butt from behind, you may make the argument that that was accidental. Still, again, depending on the circumstances, the prosecutors and police may argue that it wasn't random.

You're trying to pretend it was accidental, but you did it intentionally, and they could pursue that.

They bring witnesses to testify related to the circumstances of that particular touching, and then the jury would ultimately decide.

They would decide whether or not it was an accident, which would be no crime, or whether it was a sexual battery.  They're going to need to prove knowledge.

If somebody accidentally touches another person — may be the graze an intimate part of that person's body — it's not necessarily a crime if the person did it by accident.

Accidents are typically not crimes unless you're talking about a DUI, for example.  So, they need intent. They need to show a mid-set.

Avoiding Sex Offender Registration

But, there's obviously, a vast difference between a sexual battery and a regular battery.

Often, in a questionable sexual battery circumstance in LA where the person has no criminal record, the possibilities are right.

Then the defense attorney can try to get a regular battery instead of a sexual battery, and that would be a massive victory because of:

  • not having to register as a sex offender,
  • not having the stigma of having a sexual battery on your record, and
  • not getting the punishment that typically comes with a sexual battery case.

Criminal Defense for California Sex Crimes

I've been doing this now for almost 30 years.  I worked for the DA's office in 1992 in East Los Angeles, and then I worked for a Superior Court judge as his research attorney in 1993.

Criminal Defense for California Sex Crimes

Then, in 1994, I put up my shingle and decided that I would be a criminal defense attorney, defending people just like you or your loved one.

I've handled many sexual and regular battery cases over the years.  I know what it takes to be successful.

I know when to plea bargain and when it's time to fight.  I have a good relationship with the prosecutors and judges in Los Angeles county.

If you need help, pick up the phone.  Make the call.  Take the first step.  Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding.  I'm happy to help you get this matter behind you.

Hedding Law Firm is a top-rated criminal defense law firm located at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0979.

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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.