Were You Charged with California Crime Sexual Battery Under Penal Code 243.4?

Whether it is charged as a felony or misdemeanor, sexual battery is a serious crime, and a conviction can alter the course of your life forever. If you are found guilty of committing sexual battery in California, you will face months or years of incarceration, costly criminal fines, mandatory registration as a sex offender, and other consequences.

It is never easy for a person to face criminal allegations of a sexual nature, but it is critically important that you contact a skilled criminal attorney about your charges. At The Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC, our Ventura sexual battery attorneys have over 20 years of experience handling misdemeanor and felony sex crimes in Santa Barbara County and Ventura County. Call our law offices at (805) 643-5555 for a free consultation.

What Acts Constitute Sexual Battery Under California Penal Code 243.4?

Sexual battery, which is defined under Cal. Penal Code § 243.4, is sometimes referred to as sexual assault. In short, sexual battery involves physically contacting another person, against that person’s will, for the purpose of committing sexual abuse, or to satisfy a sexual desire.

The applicable statute defines the offense as “touch[ing] an intimate part of another person for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse,” regardless of whether such touching occurs under or over the victim’s clothing. The term “intimate part” is defined under Cal. Penal Code § 243.4(g)(1) to include the “sexual organ, anus, groin, or buttocks of any person, and the breast of a female.”

The same statute provides several additional, more specific definitions of sexual battery. These definitions are explained below.

  • Cal. Penal Code § 243.4(a) — Sexual battery while the victim “is unlawfully restrained by the accused or an accomplice.”Cal. Penal Code § 243.4(b) — Sexual battery of a person “who is institutionalized for medical treatment and who is seriously disabled or medically incapacitated.” The term “medically incapacitated” means the person is under sedation, under anesthesia, or influenced by other medications.
  • Cal. Penal Code § 243.4(c) — Sexual battery against a person who has been deceived into believing that the touching serves a legitimate medical purpose, or other professional purpose.
  • Cal. Penal Code § 243.4(d) — Causing a person “to masturbate or touch an intimate part of” another person, while the victim is restrained or institutionalized and “seriously disabled or medically incapacitated.”
  • Cal. Penal Code § 243.4(e)(1) — In addition to supplying the basic definition of sexual battery, this section also addresses sexual battery in cases where the alleged offender was the victim’s employer.

Criminal penalties for each of the aforementioned forms of sexual battery are described in the next section.

Penalties for Sexual Battery in Ventura: Fines and Prison Sentencing

Sexual battery is a “wobbler,” or a crime that can be classified and penalized as a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances under which the act occurred. While misdemeanors have lighter penalties than felonies, both can lead to harsh consequences for defendants who are convicted.

Like all sex offenses, sexual battery is subject to severe penalties under California’s sentencing laws. However, these penalties can vary depending on the specific nature of the offense, as described below.

  • Violations of Cal. Penal Code § 243.4(a)
    • Fine — Up to $2,000 (misdemeanor); up to $10,000 (felony)
    • Sentence — Up to 1 year in jail; 2, 3, or 4 years in prison
  • Violations of Cal. Penal Code § 243.4(b)
    • Fine — Up to $2,000; up to $10,000
    • Sentence — Up to 1 year in jail; 2,3, or 4 years in prison
  • Violations of Cal. Penal Code § 243.4(c)
    • Fine — Up to $2,000; up to $10,000
    • Sentence — Up to 1 year in jail; 2, 3, or 4 years in prison
  • Violations of Cal. Penal Code § 243.4(d)
    • Fine — Up to $2,000; up to $10,000
    • Sentence — Up to 1 year in jail; 2, 3, or 4 years in prison
  • Violations of Cal. Penal Code § 243.4(e)(1)
    • Fine — Up to $2,000; up to $3,000 when the act was committed by an employer against their employee
    • Sentence — Up to 6 months in jail

Do You Have to Register as a Sex Offender?

You will be required to register as a sex offender if you are convicted of sexual battery in California. The registry is national and can be viewed by anyone with internet access, including employers and landlords, as well as your coworkers, friends, and family members. You must remain registered for the rest of your life, regardless of whether you were convicted of misdemeanor or felony sexual battery.

Contact an Experienced Oxnard Sexual Assault Lawyer

If you or one of your family members has been charged with sexual battery in Ventura County or Santa Barbara County, it is vital that you are represented by a knowledgeable attorney who possesses the experience necessary to fight these serious charges. When the consequences of a conviction are so dire, you simply cannot afford to challenge a prosecutor without a skilled defense attorney in your corner.

At The Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC, we serve defendants throughout Ventura County and Santa Barbara County, including Oxnard, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, Santa Maria, Lompoc, Goleta, Guadalupe, and other communities. Call us right away at (805) 643-5555 to arrange a free and confidential legal consultation.

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