I've been handling California Penal Code 243.4 PC sexual battery cases in CCB 210 West Temple, the main downtown courthouse, for 30 years. So, if you or a loved one is charged with sexual battery and you're handling your case down at CCB, also known as the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center, pick up the phone and make the call.
We can set up a meeting to discuss your case and discuss precisely what the allegations are against you and what I can do to help. What we need to do is see what evidence they have to prove the case against you:
- Is it a situation where they have an eyewitness?
- Is it your word against somebody else's word?
- Is there video evidence?
- Have you made an admission?
Sometimes people get called by the alleged victim, and they do what's called a pretext phone call, where the alleged victim asks you a bunch of questions to try to get you to incriminate yourself. The police are either listening or having them tape-record the conversation.
Sometimes somebody is charged with PC 243.4 sexual battery, and the conduct was an accident. In other words, they admit or acknowledge that they touched another person, but it was done accidentally, and there was no intent.
There has to be an intention. If you accidentally walk by and graze somebody in their private part, and you didn't do it on purpose, and it was a mistake, it was crowded, whatever the case may be, you certainly would have a defense in that situation—that you did it by mistake. You didn't do it intentionally.
What Does the Law Say?
California Penal Code 243.4 PC defines sexual battery as the touching of the intimate parts of someone against their will for the purposes of sexual gratification, arousal, or sexual abuse.
A sexual battery charge can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony (wobbler), and a conviction could result in harsh penalties.
PC 243.4 says, “(a) Anyone who touches an intimate part of another person while they are unlawfully restrained by the accused or an accomplice, and if the touching is against the will and is for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse, is guilty of sexual battery.”
The penalties for violating this statute are punishable by imprisonment;
- in a county jail for up to one year,
- a fine up to $2,000, or
- imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, and
- a fine of up to $10,000.
A misdemeanor conviction for PC 243.4 sexual battery carries a minimum ten-year requirement to register as a tier-one sex offender. Most felonies will have a lifetime requirement on the sex offender registry as a tier three sex offender.
Sexual assault doesn't require that the perpetrator commit sexual intercourse or any penetration. Further, even in a dating relationship, you could still be convicted of sexual battery.
This statute also describes more severe offenses, such as aggravated sexual battery, when the victim:
- restrained by someone committing the sexual battery,
- admitted to a facility for medical treatment,
- severely disabled or medically incapacitated,
- defendant fraudulently represented the touching was for a professional purpose,
- forced to masturbate or touch the intimate part of the defendant or an accomplice.
What Are the Common Defenses in Sexual Battery Cases?
The types of stuff they're going to look at in deciding whether or not whatever you did is intentional is they're going to look at the surrounding circumstances, of course.
They'll look to see if you have any prior criminal record involving any sexual battery or similar type of conduct. They'll look to see if they've got other surrounding evidence to prove the case against you.
Did you make an admission? Is there an eyewitness? Again, they have to look at what happened and whether it makes sense that you committed a sexual battery.
If you did commit a sexual battery, you need a defense attorney right away. Even if you didn't and are being charged, you need a defense attorney immediately because there are things you can do.
There are investigations. Sometimes videos can be obtained. Sometimes witness statements can be taken. Some of the common defenses for Penal Code 243.4 PC sexual battery charges include:
- touching was consensual,
- insufficient evidence,
- false allegation.
Perhaps we can argue that the touching was consensual, or that you had a reasonable belief it was consensual, and that you did not commit a sexual battery.
Perhaps we can argue that there is not enough evidence to sustain a sexual battery allegation as the prosecutor has to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a sexual assault occurred. Often, this isn't easy without solid evidence. Perhaps we can argue that the allegations are false and that the alleged victim is motivated to lie.
Meeting with a Sex Crime Defense Lawyer
When you're facing sexual battery and up to a year in jail, and you're also facing having to register as a sex offender for ten years as part of the three-tier system, sexual battery, even though it's a misdemeanor, falls under sex registration.
So, I would like you to take this case seriously and get a game plan together. What I have you do is come in, and we meet in the privacy of my office, and we go through everything.
One of the first things we'll be deciding is whether we'll fight the case, say you're not guilty and take it to trial, or whether there's evidence against you.
Then, we need to work out some resolution, negotiate, and put together a mitigation package to try to convince the prosecutors maybe to give you something other than a sexual battery, something that doesn't cause that sex registration.
Whatever the case may be, you need the best. You've come to the right place. Pick up the phone now. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. I stand at the ready to help you. The Hedding Law Firm offers a free case evaluation via phone or contact form.