Legal Dictionary


Sexual Battery

Facing charges for Sexual Battery? Even the mere mention or accusation of Sexual Battery can devastate your life, reputation, career, and your personal relationships. A conviction for this crime carries life-long sex registration including county jail or state prison time. Consult with one of our experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys who can aggressively defend you in court, including trial, and protect your rights.

California Law

Sexual Battery is the unwanted touching of another person's intimate parts. Sexual Battery is a crime in most states. Sexual Battery can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. In determining how to charge the crime, prosecutors primarily consider the defendant's criminal history, the victim's condition and circumstances and whether the defendant touched the victim's bare skin. The California Sexual Battery Laws are in Penal Code section 243.4.

Misdemeanor Sexual Battery

Misdemeanor Sexual Battery is touching an "intimate part" (breast, buttocks, anus, groin, sexual organ, buttocks) of a victim,

  • And the touching is against the will of the victim,
  • And the touching is for the specific purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification or "sexual abuse" (insulting, humiliating, intimidating or physically harming the victim by touching his or her intimate part(s)). Penal Code 243.4(e).

Misdemeanor sexual battery does not require the defendant to have contact with the victim's skin (i.e., the touching can be done entirely through the offender's and victim's clothing).

Sexual Battery--Misdemeanor or Felony

Penal Code sections 243.4(a)-(d) cover the sexual battery of restrained, incapacitated and deceived victims. These offenses are "wobblers," meaning that they can be charged as either felonies or misdemeanors. For these offenses, "touching" is defined as physical contact with the skin of the victim, whether directly, or through the offender's clothing. Like misdemeanor sexual battery, the touching must be against the victim's will and the touching must be done for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification or "sexual abuse." The victim must be:

  • Unlawfully restrained - Penal Code section 243.4(a),
  • Seriously disabled or medically incapacitated and institutionalized for medical treatment - Penal Code section 243.4(b), or
  • Unconscious of the act because the offender has fraudulently represented that the touching served a professional purpose - Penal Code 243.4(c), or

Additionally if the victim is unlawfully restrained or institutionalized and disabled/incapacitated, forcing the victim to masturbate or touch an "intimate part" of the victim, offender or a third party is sexual battery (Penal Code 243.4(d)).

Sexual Battery Penalties

Whether charged as a misdemeanor or felony, a sexual battery conviction requires lifelong registration as a sex offender. Misdemeanor Sexual Battery is punishable by up to six months in county jail and/or up to $2000 in fines and informal probation. Felony Sexual Battery is punishable by up to 4 years in state prison and, a maximum fine of $10,000.

Legal Defenses

The following list of defenses to a sexual battery is not exhaustive, but are common defenses to sexual battery and sex crimes:

  • Consent: Many individuals are accused of sexual battery because of a mistaken belief that the victim had consented to being touched. If there is proof that the offender's belief of the victim's consent was both reasonable and knowledgeable, the prosecutor may dismiss the sexual battery charges, or reduce them to a lesser offense.
  • False Allegations: Alleged victims falsely accuse individuals for a variety of reasons. In a sexual battery case, there are usually no other witnesses and no evidence of the crime. Resolving these cases often rest on who is more believable.

Los Angeles Sexual Battery Attorneys

At Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners, we realize how serious a sexual battery allegation is and we have proven strategies for building an effective defense. All legal options will be pursued to secure the best possible outcome in your case, including plea negotiations, trial defense and alternative sentencing. We handle all types of sex crime cases, and as experienced and aggressive attorneys we will put our experience to work for you. We get results!

Call Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners to speak with a qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney. Initial consultations are FREE.