California Penal Code Section 243.4 defines sexual battery as the non-consensual touching of the intimate part of another for sexual arousal, sexual gratification or sexual abuse. It can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending upon the circumstances.
Some people may find this hard to believe but, even a slight pat or slap on the butt of another could result in a charge of sexual battery. It would most likely be filed as a misdemeanor but any type of charge for sexual battery looks bad.
There was a time when a man slapping a woman or girl on her behind may have been considered, in some weird way, an act of flirtation. But now, if that person was a stranger or even if they weren’t, if the person being slapped on the bottom is offended by the act, she/he would be within their right to file a police report.
For example, if you were out at a night club, drinking and dancing and you meet someone who you believe you hit it off with, if you start to get too touchy/feely, that person may become offended and you may end up being arrested. In this situation, you may have a defense in that you had been drinking and dancing with this woman, you two were flirting back and forth and maybe you felt that a little touching here or there would be okay. Well, the other person may not feel that way but, your attorney may be successful in convincing the District Attorney, before the case is even filed, that it was a misunderstanding or miscommunication.
The difference between a misdemeanor and a felony filing lies with the way in which the victim(s) were touched against their will. As an example, if it were alleged that someone restrained his victims from leaving a room or an area in which the battery occurred, this would elevate the charge to a felony.
Unlike misdemeanor sexual battery, if convicted of felony sexual battery, you face formal probation, 2, 3 or 4 years in State Prison, a maximum $10,000.0 fine and registration as a sex offender.
A misdemeanor conviction may result in informal probation, county jail time rather than state prison and the fines are much less. $2,000.00 is the maximum fine, unless the accused was your employer and then the maximum is $3,000.00. However, even a misdemeanor conviction may require registration as a sex offender.
Being convicted of sexual battery can have life long consequences. An experienced criminal defense attorney, specializing in sexual abuse cases, will be familiar the possible defenses available to this type of charge. Some defenses may include insufficient evidence, false allegations and consent, or the reasonable belief that there was consent.
Anyone who has been accused of sexual battery should seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney who is familiar with the Courts in the County in which the case is pending. An attorney who practices in the County where the case is filed should have a good understanding of how each individual court operates, the Judges, Clerks and District Attorneys. This will increase the chances of a favorable outcome for the client.