Discreet Confidential Consultation (213) 374-3952


What Defenses are There to Sexual Battery Charges?

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding | Jul 23, 2020

Unfortunately, these sexual battery cases are more and more common in the County of Los Angeles. Police and prosecutors are inundated with these cases, and people are facing registration as sex offenders for ten years.  In my opinion, that's probably the worst punishment related to a sexual battery in Los Angeles County.

If you get convicted of that crime, the Judge must make sure that you register as a sex offender.  The way the legislature has things set up, that Penal Code Section 243.4 sexual battery charge could also get you sent into custody for up to one year.  Nobody wants to go to jail, especially for a sex offense, because if the sheriffs tell the other inmates you were convicted of a sex offense, you obviously could be in danger.

There are several defenses regarding sexual battery. The main one is that whatever happened between you, and the other person was consensual. California Penal Code 243.4 defines the crime of sexual battery.

So, if both parties agreed to some sexual touching, then obviously, that would be a complete defense, as long as the person was at least 18 years of age to the crime of sexual battery.  So, that's one defense that I see used all of the time in dealing with cases.

You have to decide whether or not you can be successful with that defense before you try to employ it because if prosecutors file a sexual battery case against you, they think you've done something wrong. The alleged victim is claiming that it wasn't consensual.

The argument of Consensual Sex or Accidental Touching

So, you've got to have a defense that can counter that.  Sometimes it's a he-said/she-said situation.  Sometimes there are other witnesses.  Sometimes there's further evidence that both the prosecutors and the defense can use.

The other defense that I've seen used in Penal Code 243.4 sexual battery scenario throughout Los Angeles and the 38 courts is the argument that whatever the touching was accidental.

I've seen people in various situations accidentally touch another person in a private area or close to a remote location, and the person thinks that, in reality, they were trying to do that intentionally so they could touch the person. The person says, no, I didn't do that intentionally.  It was an accident.  I apologize.

But the bottom line is it's not a criminal act, and therefore, I should not be charged with a sex crime. Often, you can be successful with that type of defense as long as you've got the evidence to support that, or your story is more believable than the other person's story.

That's kind of what it boils down to is that you've got to be able to mount a good argument that you're innocent, you didn't do whatever it is that they're claiming that you did relate to sexual activity.

False Accusation

So, I think what you have to do comes to somebody like me who's been doing this now for 26 years, defending sexual battery cases, to get a good feel whether or not that defense will be able to work its way out.

I would say probably the last and third defense that I've seen employed in sexual battery cases is that the person is simply lying, and they're trying to get some motive to lie or angle for lying, or they're wrong.

They think that you touched them or the person that touched them, and you're not, and they don't have the proof.  Therefore, you're innocent, and you shouldn't be charged.

Experienced Sexual Battery Defense Lawyer

What I have you do is come into the office.  We sit down and talk about, number one, what happened.  Of course, I encourage you to be honest and give me all of the details.  Give me the details from the perspective of the police so I can see what they're actually claiming that you did. 

Then we can talk about anything mitigating relating to the case, or maybe you have a complete defense to the crime of sexual battery.  There has to be intent there.  In other words, if you just walk by somebody and you accidentally touch them in some sexual manner, they have to prove that you did it on purpose.  Of course, they're going to look at the facts and circumstances surrounding the case.

We need first to decide whether or not you can actually defend the case.  If you cannot defend the case, we need to take a different approach – mitigation. We will review the following:

  • Do you have any prior criminal record? 
  • Have you ever been convicted of a sex-related offense before? 
  • Do you have a job? 
  • Do you have a family? 

All of these are things that the prosecutor and judge will consider when deciding your punishment.  So, when we talk about what could happen to you, you could end up as far as custody, a year in jail, and you could end up having to register as a sex offender and be on Megan's Law website for ten years.

These are pretty serious consequences that will impact your life moving forward.  So, we've got to figure out what the best strategy is, whether or not you really deserve to be convicted of this type of offense, or maybe we can come up with some other offense that does not require sex registration, and we could come up with an alternative to jail, like sex offender classes, community service – other things that make sense.

We may want to get a psychologist or a psychiatrist to evaluate you and do a report for the judge and prosecutor, evaluating whether or not you truly are a danger to society, a danger to women, a or danger to children.  These are all the things that judges and prosecutors are worried about.

I see all these defenses when it comes to sexual battery cases,  which will depend on the facts and circumstances surrounding your particular case.  You have to give all the information you have to your defense attorney.

Be honest.  Tell them what happened, and you and your defense attorney decide whether or not it's the best move to assert one of the defenses or whether your attorney should work out some deal or negotiation with the prosecutors.

I do this all the time.  I have had a lot of success with it.  I'm pretty good at hearing what the client has to say and, obviously, giving them the best advice possible so that they can end up with the best possible result.

Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located in Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. Contact our office for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0979.

Related Content:

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.