Touching Must Be On An Intimate Part of Body

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're going to have to touch them on their breast, their 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, 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 that person is engaging in conduct that arguably could be a sexual battery. In that case, 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 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 sort of penetration going on in either 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 any 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 Can the Hedding Law Firm Help You?

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 need to have an attorney go out and interview witnesses or do any type of investigation, pull videotapes, 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 located in Los Angeles County and offers a free review at (213) 542-0940, or you can fill out a contact form. 

Use of Prior Incidents in Sex Crime Charges