California Penal Code 243.4 PC - Sexual Battery

Sexual battery under California Penal Code 243.4 PC involves 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 another person's private part, that will usually 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.

California Penal Code 243.4 PC - Sexual Battery
PC 243.4 PC sexual battery is defined as touching the intimate parts of someone for sexual gratification.

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

It usually has to be an intimate part.  It's usually not going to be if you 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'll have to touch them on their breast, butt, or private area — somewhere that is feeling for some sort of sexual gratification.

Defendant's Criminal Record

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

Suppose somebody has been convicted of a prior sex offense and is engaging in conduct that arguably could be a sexual battery. The prosecutors are much more likely to file that case in 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 a misdemeanor or felony crime and possible sex registry.

When you start restricting the difference between a sexual battery and some sort of activity like rape or digital penetration, the dividing line is how the touching is effectuated. In other words, if you're 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, suppose there's any penetration going on in the vagina or the butt. In that case, that will be more along the lines of a rape allegation — a digital penetration allegation that 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 touching.  Next, they have to show that the person had some sort of intent.

The Intent of Unlawful Touching

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 pass by each other in a crowded location, and there's a touching.

In that scenario, the prosecutors have a problem proving intent — that the person intended to touch the person versus it was just an accident. Suppose you or a loved one is being charged with sexual battery in any courthouses in Los Angeles County Courthouse?  It would help if you met 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 want to take a look at that.

How to Get the Best Result in a Sexual Battery Case?

California Penal Code 243.4 PC sexual battery in Los Angeles County and surrounding counties is a serious crime.  One of the worst things that happen if you get convicted of sexual battery is Penal Code Section 290 PC which says you have to register as a sex offender for ten years. 

Even though it's a misdemeanor charge, it still requires sex registration. So there's no way around it unless you can avoid getting convicted of the sexual battery charge, or you could work something out where maybe you take the plea and then get another charge put in its place later so you don't get convicted of the sexual battery.

When defending these cases and figuring out the best way to handle them, we have to sit down and discuss our case.  I have clients come into my office.  We go over all of the facts and details. 

It's all protected by the attorney/client privilege. Then we'll figure out how to design a plan that works for you – something that tries to avoid sex registration and all of the bad things that come with a conviction for sexual battery.

What Are the Possible Defenses?

First, we want to look to see if you have any defenses, such as the following:

  • Maybe you didn't commit sexual battery;
  • Maybe it was an accident;
  • There was some touching;
  • Maybe the alleged victim had some axe to grind against you and, therefore, is claiming that you sexually battered them.

So, we must sit down and decide our game plan once we decide whether to fight the case and take it to trial.  Then we make the next move.  If we fight it, we'll investigate it and prepare the case for trial.

Prepare a Mitigation Package

Suppose it's not the type of case that should be taken to trial. In that case, we will want to put together a mitigation package to keep you out of custody, see what we can do about the sex registration issue, and maybe try to get you a different charge than sexual battery. 

So, that's something we can talk about.  I've been doing this now for 30 years.  I've worked for the district attorney's office.  I've worked for a superior court judge and been a criminal defense attorney defending people like you, going down the road that you're about to go down since the early 1990s.

So, if you need the best, you're charged with sexual battery, and you're trying to figure out whether to fight it or negotiate it and your best options, 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. First, we will break down the case. Then, we will go over what evidence the prosecutors have against you. We will decide whether there's anything we can get out that has evidentiary value, and if we do, I've got my investigators. So we'll go out and get it. 

Then we'll decide whether to fight the case or negotiate it.  If we're going to negotiate it, you'll have a very savvy negotiator on your side who has much experience and is designed to get you the best possible result. Hedding Law Firm is located in Los Angeles County and offers a free review by phone or you can fill out a contact form. 

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