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Practices - Sexual Battery

California PC 243.4 - Sexual Battery

CA Penal Code 243.4 punishes the crime of Sexual Battery, or sometimes referred to as “Sexual Assault”. The California sexual battery defense attorneys from the Law Offices of Pereira & Moffatt are very experienced in defending against Sexual Battery charges in our Southern California courts.

PC 243.4 is known as a “wobbler”, or a law that the prosecutor can choose to charge as a misdemeanor or a felony. The prosecutor will base that decision on the circumstances of your case. If the alleged victim was mentally or physically incapacitated, mentally disabled, physically restrained, or unconscious at the time the battery took place, the prosecutor can charge you with a misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances of your case. 243.4(e)(1), where the sexual battery takes place without consent of the alleged victim and there is no restraint or physical/mental condition, is charged as a misdemeanor.

Elements of the Crime – PC 243.4 Sexual Battery
In order to be convicted of PC 243.4, the prosecutor must be able to prove that you:

  1. Touched the intimate part of another person;
  2. That there was no consent for the touching or that the consent was fraudulently obtained;
  3. That the touching was done for sexual arousal, gratification, or abuse.

What is “Touched the intimate part of another person”?
A “touch” is a physical touching. A felony 243.4 Sexual Battery charge will require a touching of the alleged victim’s bare skin, which can be done with your own bare skin or through your clothes.

For example, if you were at a bar, and rubbed a girl’s butt through her dress, it would be a misdemeanor Sexual Battery. If you lifted up her skirt and rubbed her bare butt, it would be a felony Sexual Battery, because you rubbed her bare skin. If you lifted her skirt and rubbed her bare butt with your pants, it would still be charged as a felony even though you “touched” her bare skin with your pants only.

An “intimate part of another person” is what our common sense tells us are “private parts”. A female’s breasts, the butt of a man or woman, or the sexual organs of a man or woman are “intimate parts”.

What is “consent” and how can it be “fraudulently obtained”?
Consent is given when someone freely and voluntarily agrees to something, and understands the nature of what he/she is agreeing to. A sexual battery occurs when you touch another person in a sexual manner and that person does not want to be touched, or cannot consent to being touched. A person who is unconscious or is not mentally capable of understanding the sexual nature of the touching cannot “consent”.

“Fraudulently obtained” consent typically occurs in cases where the defendant is a doctor and the alleged victim was a patient of that doctor. If a general practice physician convinces a female patient that he must touch her vagina for purposes of medical treatment, and that touching is not actually medically necessary, the doctor may be charged with a Sexual Battery.

What is “sexual arousal, gratification, or abuse”?
“Arousal and “Gratification” refer to a battery committed for the purposes of sexual pleasure. “Abuse” may refer to a battery of another person’s “intimate part” done to either harm or humiliate that person.

How can the criminal defense attorneys from the Law Offices of Pereira & Moffatt fight my PC 243.4 Sexual Battery charge?
Our experienced criminal defense attorneys have several ways to fight a PC 243.4 Sexual Battery charge in our Southern California courts. Some of the ways we fight your PC 243.4 Sexual Battery charges are:

  1. Consent. When the alleged victim consented to a sexual touching, there is no crime of 243.4 Sexual Battery. Also, when the defendant could not reasonably know that the alleged victim did not consent, there is no crime. Let’s say that Joe and Jane go on a date. After a night of dancing, they are back in Joe’s car. Joe and Jane start kissing, and Joe puts his hand inside Jane’s bra and underwear. Jane does not resist, and does not tell Joe to stop. Later, Jane claims that she did not consent. Because there is no way that Joe could have reasonably known that Jane was not consenting to the sexual touching, no 243.4 Sexual Battery has been committed.

  2. Insufficient evidence. If Joe touches Jane’s butt through her jeans, and is charged with felony 243.4 Sexual Battery, there is insufficient evidence to support a felony conviction because there is no “bare skin” touching. If Joe puts his hand down Jane’s underwear, and complies when Jane tells Joe to stop, there is no evidence of felony Sexual Battery, because Joe stopped when Jane told him to.

  3. False accusations. Unfortunately, it is common for people to be falsely accused of 243.4 Sexual Battery. In a domestic situation, during a divorce or child custody proceedings, people are often falsely accused of crimes like 243.4 Sexual Battery out of a desire for revenge, or to gain the upper hand in a court proceeding.

What sort of penalties am I facing if convicted of 243.4 Sexual Battery?
Remember, Penal Code 243.4 Sexual Battery is a “wobbler”. If convicted of misdemeanor 243.4, you may face the following penalties:

  1. California misdemeanor probation, otherwise known as “summary” or “informal” probation;
  2. Up to 6 months in county jail;
  3. Up to $2,000 in fines ($3,000 if the accuser is your employee);
  4. Registration as a Sex Offender pursuant to Penal Code 290;
  5. Successful completion of a Batterer’s Class, or
  6. Community service.

If convicted of felony 243.4 Sexual Battery, you may face the following penalties:

  1. Formal California probation;
  2. 2-4 years in a California state prison;
  3. Up to $10,000 in fines;
  4. Registration as a Sex Offender pursuant to Penal Code 290

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