Individuals are often falsely accused of sexual assault or battery. While sexual assault is a serious matter, people can be caught in an unfortunate incident that they had no bad faith in. Here’s everything you need to know about sexual assault laws in California.
California sexual assault laws prohibit any unwarranted touching of an individual’s private parts for the purpose of sexual abuse, arousal, or gratification.
Legal Definition of Sexual Assault or Battery
According to California Penal Code 243.4, sexual assault, often referred to as sexual battery, is legally defined as unwarranted touching of an individual’s private parts for the purpose of sexual abuse, arousal, or gratification.
In order for prosecutors to viably charge you with sexual assault, three elements must be met:
- Touching another person’s private parts
- Without their consent or against their will
- For the purpose of sexual abuse, arousal, or gratification
Therefore, an individual whose partner consented to the sexual act is protected under California’s sexual assault laws.
Examples of Sexual Assault
Carl willfully grabs Grace’s buttocks without her permission.
Celine willfully touches Nathan’s private parts without his consent.
John forcibly pulls down Mary’s underwear and touches her private parts against her will.
Gabriel convinces Addie, a mentally institutionalized woman, to masturbate in front of him.
Therapist Jon tells patient Emilia that by removing her clothing and standing naked in front of him she is overcoming her fear of nudity.
Max consensually fondles Noa’s breasts. Noa’s boyfriend finds about about her affair. When confronted, Noa claims Max fondled her breast without permission and seeks to prosecute Max. Because Noa consented to Max’s fondling, Max cannot be convicted of sexual assault or sexual battery.
Legal Penalties of Sexual Assault in California
Although a sexual assault conviction may be considered a lesser offense than rape for example, its legal penalties are very serious.
Sexual assault can be charged as either a misdemeanor a felony, depending on the circumstances at hand.
If convicted of a misdemeanor, the convicted must register as a sex offender with the state of California every year for a minimum of 10 years. Furthermore, the convicted may be sentenced to either 6 months or 1 year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,000.
If convicted of a felony, the convicted typically must register as a sex offender with the state of California every year for the rest of their life. Furthermore, the convicted may be sentenced to either two, three, or four years in county prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Legal Defenses Against Sexual Assault in California
If you have been charged with sexual assault or battery, your attorney can argue that
- The alleged victim consented to the sexual act
- There is insufficient evidence to reach a verdict
- Your identity has been mistaken
- This is a false allegation
Contact Pride Legal
If you or a loved one has been accused of sexual assault or battery, we invite you to contact us at Pride Legal for legal counseling or any further questions. To protect your rights, hire someone who understands them.