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Sexual Battery - PC 243.4

Sexual Battery Laws in California - Penal Code 243.4 PC

One of the most significant issues with a sexual battery case in LA County is whether you will have to register as a sex offender.  As I write this post, there is a legislature that will likely be passed that will divide up sex crimes into a tiered system and depending on the particular crime that a person is convicted of.

This will dictate what, if any, registration requirements they will have. There are other charges besides a sexual battery that a person accused of a sex crime can lead to that do not require registration.  This is where the best, most savvy sex crime defense attorneys must do everything they possibly can to avoid or limit sex registration.

Another significant issue that I have noticed regarding sexual battery cases is that people who are charged with them do not want to go to jail for several important reasons.

First, it is dangerous to be in Los Angeles County jail with any sex-related offense attached to your name.  And, of course, no one wants their freedom taken away from them for any period.

The biggest thing that we zero in on in these sexual battery cases is to keep you out of jail and do everything possible to avoid or minimize registration requirements.

Over the past twenty-five years, I have noticed how politically charged even sexual battery cases can be and encourage my clients to do everything they can to minimize the damages to their record, reputation, and even freedom.

This includes obtaining character letters from those people who know the type of person you are and can vouch for you as a solid citizen and an upstanding individual in society.

Please make no mistake about it; when the prosecutors and judges decide what to do with someone who has inappropriately touched another person, they want to know exactly who they are dealing with and what will be necessary to stop that person from ever re-offending.

The Law on Sexual Battery in California

Sexual battery is defined by California Penal Code Section 243.4 as the touching of one's genital area, buttocks, or female breasts, better known as a person's intimate parts, without consent.

Sometimes people touch other people inappropriately by accident and do not mean anything sexual.  Other times it is clear from the surrounding circumstances that the person charged is guilty, and the only question is, what should their punishment be and what should the damage be to their reputation.

The key is that if the defense can prove the touching was an accident, then this is the makings of a defense to the crime of sexual battery. See related: When is Sexual Assault a Criminal or Civil Case?

The crime of sexual battery is considered a wobbler is meaning that it may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances. Still, in either case, PC 290 mandatory sex offender registration would be imposed if convicted.

Some examples where the crime would be charged as a felony are: the victim was unaware of the inappropriate touching because they were fraudulently convinced that it was for medical or other professional purposes.

The victim was unlawfully restrained; the victim was forced to touch the suspect's intimate parts or was forced to masturbate. Some examples where the crime would be charged as a misdemeanor are the suspect intentionally fondling a female's breasts without her consent and putting their hands on another person's buttocks without permission. See Los Angeles Jury Instructions for Sexual Battery.

Penalties for PC 243.4 Sexual Battery

Penalties differ in regards to a misdemeanor and felony. If convicted of a misdemeanor sexual battery, one may face county jail for up to a year and fines amounting to $2000.

A felony conviction can result in up to 4 years in state prison and fines amounting to $10,000, in determining what penalty to impose, factors such as whether violence, fear, or threat was used; whether the victim was conscious at the time of the act; and whether the victim was a minor. As your sexual battery defense lawyer, we consider all these factors in building a solid defense on your behalf. You might be able to avoid the sex registry.

What Does the Prosecutor Have to Prove?

To convict a suspect for sexual battery, the government must prove the following elements…

  1. The suspect unlawfully restrained another;
  2. While restrained, the suspect touched an intimate part of the person's body or caused them to feel an inseparable part of their own or the suspect's body;
  3. The touching was done against the others will AND
  4. The touching was done for the specific purpose of sexual gratification, arousal, or abuse.

The government defines an intimate part of their body as the breast, anus, groin, sexual organ, or buttocks. Additionally, contact must have been made with the other person's bare skin.

Additionally, restraint can either be by force or by the threat of force; what matters to the government is that the touching or bond was against the party's will and occurred for any duration. Showing consent is one way to defend yourself from a charge of Sexual Battery.

We understand that a conviction of sexual battery or any other sex crime has a significant effect on your life, and we want to offer legal assistance and our support. We have defended many in similar situations, and we know for a fact that there are many ways to fight these charges.

The first thing you likely want to do is achieve peace of mind and figure out precisely your exposure and what you are up against.  This is why it is essential to hire an attorney who has appeared in the court where your case will be pending and dealt with the judge and prosecuting attorney dealing with your fate.

In other words, your attorney must have traveled the path you are about to take and had success.

Contact us at the Hedding Law firm and set up a meeting so that we can sit down and discuss your matter in detail. The forum is free of charge.


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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.