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When is a Sexual Assault Criminal or Civil?

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding | Jan 31, 2019 | 0 Comments

There's a lot of sexual assault cases being filed across Los Angeles county both at the criminal level and there are civil lawsuits being filed, especially in Hollywood and against athletes.  The question comes, when is a case going to be filed criminal and when is it going to be civil.  The answer is, a lot of time the activity is both criminal and civil.

Intent to Commit Sexual Assault

If you attack somebody with the intent to sexually assault them, you're going to be filed against criminally if the police and prosecutors find out about it and can prove it.  But also on the back end, the other party can sue you civilly.

So, what I see a lot of times is, the party gets an attorney while the criminal case is going on or even before the criminal case in an effort to try to get some money related to whatever happened.  Or, they wait until the criminal case is done.

The person gets convicted or pleads guilty, then they use that conviction or guilty plea against the person to sue them civilly.  To me, that is a very common thing.

Sexual Harassment

If somebody is sexually harassing another person, like at work for example — bothering them, making stupid comments to them, making sexually-related comments to them — this probably is not going to filed criminal because there's really no criminal activity involved in that type of scenario where it's more work-place sexual harassment versus criminal sexual touching.

And that's the key.  Usually, when you're talking about a sex crime, you're talking about somebody touching another person in an inappropriate manner.

So, a lot of these civil harassment suits — even though the other party doesn't like them, they're unwanted — aren't necessarily criminal.  We're going to need some sort of unwanted touching in order to elevate it to a criminal situation.

Another thing that I see going on a lot now is that women will be trying to get something from men by using sex, and then when things go awry because the man does not want to pay them money, doesn't want to give him a job, or whatever the case may be.

Now all of a sudden, the woman turns around and says that the man, impermissibly, had sex without her consent and now they're going to the authorities trying to claim a criminal charge.

So obviously, in that scenario, we'd want to get proof that the woman is attempting to basically, extort the man for money and that if the man would have paid money, helped her with a job, helped her further here career.

There would have never been any criminal charges filed, but it was just the fact that the man didn't do what he promised to do or what the woman believed he was going to do, and that's the reason that she turned on him and all of a sudden, now is claiming that there's no consent.

So, this whole sexual assault area is a very ripe area for someone to be prosecuted criminally, so obviously, you don't want to get yourself in a position where someone is claiming you did something of a sexual nature that you did not do.  So, from the beginning obviously you want to pick the right attorney.

Developing a Defense Strategy

If you find yourself in this scenario, you have to get in front of a criminal defense attorney like me who's familiar with these sexual assault-related offenses in Los Angeles county.  We'll sit down.  You give me the whole rundown of what happened, and then we'll get our strategy together so that we can defend you properly, whether it be at the pre-filing stage which happens a lot, so I talk to the police.

I can give them kind of your version of events without you actually making a statement where they can twist your words around or claim you said something that you didn't say, because I'll be the one giving them the information and make sure, obviously, that I act as a buffer between you and the police officers.

Or, if it's a situation where the sexual assault charges have already been filed — and by the way, there's no such thing as really sexual assault charges even though a lot of times the prosecutors will talk that way, you're going to need to have some specific crime that the person committed related to whatever the prosecutors want to charge.

Consult With Our Defense Lawyers

So, if they're saying somebody assaulted somebody with the intent to rape them, that certainly is a crime under the Penal Code Section, but again, this whole nebulous concept of sexual assault — what does that mean?

What did the person specifically do?  And that's why when we get together we break everything down so we can talk about it and see what type of investigation we can do order to refute the charges against you.

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.


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