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Sexual Battery - PC 243.4

Sexual Battery Laws in California - Penal Code 243.4 PC


One of the biggest issues with a sexual battery case in LA County is whether you are going to have to register as a sex offender.  As I write this post, there is legislature that is likely going to 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 sexual battery that a person accused of a sex crime can plead 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 a sex registration.

Another big issues that I have noticed when it comes to sexual battery cases in that people who are charged with them do not want to go to jail for a number of 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 not one wants their freedom taken away from them for any period of time.

This is what the biggest things that we zero in on in these sexual battery case 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.

Make no mistake about it, when the prosecutors and judges are deciding what to do with someone who has touched another person in an inappropriate manner, 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 did not mean anything sexual by it.  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 meaning that it may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances; but 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 he or she was fraudulently convinced that the touching 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; the suspect putting his or her hands on another person's buttocks without consent. 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 as much as $2000.

A felony conviction can result in up to 4 years in state prison and fines amounting to as much as $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 act; and whether victim was a minor. As your sexual battery defense lawyer we take all these factors into consideration in building a strong defense on your behalf.

What Does the Prosecutor Have to Prove?

In order 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 touch an intimate 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 either 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 threat of force, what matters to the government is that the touching or restraint was against the parties will, and that it 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 huge effect on your life and we want to offer not only legal assistance but also 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 a peace of mind and figure out exactly what you exposure is and what you are are up against.  This is why it is so important to hire and attorney who has appeared in the court where you case will be pending and dealt with the judge and prosecuting attorney who will be dealing with you 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 meeting is absolutely 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.