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When is a Sexual Assault Criminal or Civil?

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding | Jan 31, 2019

Many sexual assault cases are being filed across Los Angeles county both at the criminal level, and civil lawsuits are being filed, especially in Hollywood and against athletes.  When is a chance going to be filed criminal, and when is it going to be polite.  The answer is a lot of times; the activity is both criminal and civil.

If you attack somebody with the intent to assault them sexually, you're going to be filed 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, I often see that the party gets an attorney while the criminal case is going on or even before the criminal case 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 prevalent 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 be a filed criminal because there's no criminal activity involved in that type of scenario where it's more work-place sexual harassment versus unlawful sexual touching.

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

So, many of these civil harassment suits — even though the other party doesn't like them, they're unwanted — aren't necessarily criminal.  We will need some unwanted touching 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 them 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 extort the man for money and that if the man would have paid money, helped her with a job, helped her further her 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, 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 to 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 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 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 to talk about it and see what type of investigation we can do to refute the charges against you.

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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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