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The Crime of Sexual Battery - Accident or Intentional?

This is one of the big things I see having defended people for California sexual battery cases under penal Code 243.4 PC over almost the last 30 years, and that is, a lot of times, the client is saying that the sexual battery allegation was an accident. 

They may have touched the individual somehow, but they didn't do it intentionally. 

That's kind of where the rubber meets the road if you're going to try to defend these sexual battery cases - whether or not the circumstances are such that you can mount the argument that it was accidental. You have to have some intent in any sexual battery case. 

So, if you can prove that you accidentally touched the alleged victim in some way, then you possibly can get a not-guilty verdict or even a dismissal on behalf of the prosecutors. 

But usually, if you've been arrested and they've charged you with a crime, they've got some evidence that convinces the prosecutors or police that the act was intentional. 

Let's say, for example, you have prior sexual activity-type cases, and now you are again getting yourself involved in another sexual battery.  That would be one indicator to the prosecutors that it was no accident.

There are other facts and circumstances obviously that they can argue to mount the argument that you intentionally touched the victim in some way. 

So, the first thing you have to figure out when dealing with these types of cases is whether or not you can win the case. 

Our California sex crime defense lawyers will review further below.

What is the Definition of PC 243.4 Sexual Battery?

The sex crime of sexual battery is defined under California Penal Code 243.4 as:

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

As you can see from the definition above, PC 243.4 sexual battery charges do not require an act of penetration or sexual intercourse.

Also worth noting, you could still be arrested, charged, and convicted under this statute if you are involved in a relationship with the accuser.

The related California crimes for sexual battery include Penal Code 261 PC rape and Penal Code 242 battery.

Based on the definition above, you could face misdemeanor sexual battery charges under Penal Code 243.4 if you:

  • touch an intimate part of a person's body without their consent; and
  • the intent of the touching was for sexual gratification, sexual arousal, or sexual abuse.

In the context of this law, “touching” means contacting an intimate part of another person on their bare skin or even through their clothing.

The intimate parts of someone's body include the female breast, groin area, anus, or buttocks.

Experienced Sex Crime Defense Lawyer

Ultimately, the way I go about it is, I put my almost 30 years of experience to work for you.  I've worked for the District Attorney's office, I've worked for a Superior Court Judge, and I've been the guiding force behind The Hedding Law Firm now since 1994. 

So, I've got the experience, having handled many sexual battery cases, to be able to give you a pretty good feel of what evidence supports your argument that you're innocent if that's what you're claiming and what evidence might go against that argument. 

Then you've got to weigh the evidence in your favor and weigh the evidence against you, and obviously, you're going to make an informed decision on whether you want to take the case to trial.

If you don't take the case to trial and you're not going to be able to win the case, then we're in a position where we're going to need to negotiate. 

Sometimes we're trying to get a non-registerable offense because if you plead guilty or are convicted of sexual battery, you're going to have to register as a sex offender for ten years now under the new three-tier system.

Negotiation for a Lesser Charge

Often, though, depending on the circumstances, depending on your criminal record, and depending on who the victim is, how vulnerable they are, and precisely what happened, we can sometimes negotiate a lesser charge.

For example, it would be a charge that does not involve a plea to a sexual battery -- maybe just a simple battery.  Then you would not have to register as a sex offender.

Other things can be done, but obviously, we will look at the facts and circumstances surrounding your case -- see what makes sense for you and then put our plan together.

Initial Defense Strategy Meeting

So, if you or a loved one is charged with sexual battery, the first thing you want to do is set up a meeting with me, Ron Hedding. Call the firm.  Ask to meet with me. 

We'll sit down and go over everything, and we'll start to design the plan for you and your particular circumstances that make sense. 

We'll either start to investigate to fight the case and take it to a jury trial or take other maneuvers to negotiate it. 

For example, we'll start to build up what I characterize as a mitigation package that we can show the prosecutors to try to avoid some of the bad things that come along with a sexual battery in Los Angeles county.

So, if you're looking for an attorney who has a lot of experience, who knows how to help you make the right decision and who knows how to execute a plan that's going to help you to fight your sexual battery case, whether that fight is a jury trial or try to negotiate something reasonable under the circumstances you find yourself in, pick up the phone now.  Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding.

Hedding Law Firm is based in Los Angeles County and offers a free case evaluation by calling 213-542-0979.

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.