California Penal Code 243.4 PC – Sexual Battery

Sexual battery really has to do with someone touching another person usually of the opposite sex inappropriately.  An accidental touch is not going to do it.

In other words, if someone accidentally bumps against the private part of another person, usually that will not trigger a sexual battery claim.  It has to be intentional.

Sometimes, though, there’s a fine line between whether it’s intentional or not.  People will sometimes claim that they did something accidentally.

Touching Must Be On An Intimate Part of Body

California Penal Code 243.4 PC - Sexual Battery

Penal Code 243.4 PC sexual battery is defined as touching the intimate parts of another person, against their will, for sexual gratification.

However, if you look at the surrounding facts and circumstances, there’s a real good argument that they didn’t do it accidentally and they intentionally touched another person intimate part.

It usually has to be an intimate part.  It’s usually not going to be if you just pat somebody on the back.  That’s not going to be a sexual battery under Penal Code 243.4 PC.

If it’s a woman, you’re going to have to touch them on their breast, their butt or private area — somewhere that is clearly a touching for the purpose of some sort of sexual gratification.

Defendant’s Criminal Record

Also, what the prosecutors and police will look at is whether or not the person who is the target of the sexual battery, whether that particular person has a prior criminal record, especially for any type of sexual-related offenses.

Obviously, if somebody has been convicted of a prior sex offense, and that person is engaging in conduct which arguably could be a sexual battery, the prosecutors are much more likely to file that case.

On the flip side, somebody else who has a clean record in a questionable case where it could go either way — whether or not it truly is a sexual battery.

How the Touching was Accomplished

How Do Prosecutors Prove a Sexual Battery Case in Los Angeles?

PC 243.4 is a “wobbler” that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony crime and possible sex offender registration.

When you start to demarcate the difference between a sexual battery and some sort of activity like rape or digital penetration, the dividing line, obviously, is how the touching is effectuated.

In other words, if you’re just touching someone’s butt or private area over their clothes, then it’s probably going to be categorized as a sexual battery which is huge, because most sexual batteries are filed as misdemeanors versus felonies.

However, if there’s any sort of penetration going on in either the vagina or the butt, that’s going to be more along the lines of a rape allegation — a digital penetration allegation which is both a strike and a felony.  The person will be looking at prison time in that scenario.

So, the way the prosecutors prove these sexual batteries is, first they have to show that there was touching.  Next, they have to show that the person had some sort of intent.

Intent of Unlawful Touching

In order to show those things, they’re typically going to have a scenario where it’s clear from the facts and circumstances surrounding the touching.

They will need to show that the individual who did the touching was attempting to arouse themselves or arouse the other person, versus a situation where two people just pass by each other in a crowded location and there’s a touching.

The prosecutors really have a problem in that scenario proving intent — that the person intended to touch the person versus it was just an accident.

If you or a loved one is being charged with sexual battery in any of the courthouses in any  San Fernando Valley courts or in Los Angeles County, you should meet with somebody like me who has been practicing criminal defense for the last 26 years.

I also wrote a book related to sex offenses called, Know Your Rights.  You definitely want to take a look at that.

Contact Hedding Law Firm for Help

It will give you a basis for what you’re up against and what your procedure should be in trying to figure out exactly how to handle a sexual battery investigation.

Contact Hedding Law Firm for Help

Contact our law firm for a free case evaluation.

Also, whether or not you actually need to have an attorney go out and interview witnesses or do any type of investigation, pull video tapes, whatever the case may be.

Of course, you’re not going to do the same investigation in every single sexual battery allegation.

You have to look at the facts and circumstances, and then I, of course, use my experience to see what type of evidence might make a difference.

Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located in the San Fernando Valley at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0940.

Use of Prior Incidents in Sex Crime Charges