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What Are the Sexual Assault Laws in California?

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Some of the most serious crimes involve murder or sexual assault. If someone has a rape or any other sexual assault accusation, it can change their lives. Even if they don’t actually have to go to prison, it can still ruin their life.

This is why it’s so important that anyone charged with a sexual offense relies on an experienced San Diego sexual assault lawyer. The law is complicated and you don’t want to face these kinds of charges alone.

San Diego criminal defense lawyers handle all types of sexual assault crimes. The two major types of sex crimes in California are sexual battery and rape. The big difference between the two is whether or not actual intercourse took place. If it did, then the crime will be considered rape. If it did not, it will be labeled as a sexual battery.

There are several types of sexual battery in California. If you or a loved one has a sexual assault charge, you need to speak with a San Diego criminal defense attorney.

Your San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney Can Break Down the Types of Sexual Offenses

Generally speaking, California sexual assault laws protect people from any unwanted touching of their intimate parts. The law defines intimate parts as:

  • The victim’s sexual organs, anus, groin, buttocks and
  • The breasts of a female

There are basically two types of sexual assaults or batteries in California: sexual assault and rape. As mentioned earlier, rape is a sexual assault that included actual intercourse. In order to establish that a defendant is guilty of sexual assault, the State must prove the following:

  • The defendant touched the victim’s intimate parts while the victim was restrained by the defendant or a third person. Keep in mind, this contact or touching can be to the victim’s intimate parts directly or through the victim’s clothing.
  • The touching was against the victim’s will.
  • The defendant intended to engage in the touching for purposes of sexual arousal, gratification or abuse. There are rare cases where a defendant can prove that the touching was intended for some other purpose, however, these are few and far between. One example of a non-sexual purpose could be a first responder providing emergency medical care to an accident victim.

If the state cannot prove these elements, they will have to reduce or dismiss the charges.

Your San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney Will Prepare a Defense

There really aren’t that many defenses to the crime of sexual assault. Either you touched someone or you didn’t. However, your attorney can argue that the victim consented to the touching or contact. Consent is one of the only defenses to sexual assault and rape.

A lot of times on tv or in the movies, they make it look like the victim has to prove that the touching was not consensual. In a way, this is true. The prosecutor has to show that the victim did not consent to the touching. However, the victim does not have to be the one to speak to this issue.

Your San Diego criminal defense attorney can prove consent using the following methods:

  • A recording of the event where the victim gives consent
  • a text message or voicemail where consent is given
  • Witness testimony that the victim did consent to the touching
  • Establishing a prior relationship between the defendant and the victim

Proving a lack of consent is the hardest part of the prosecutor’s case. This is why your lawyer will try to attack this part of his case. It’s easier to do this than to prove that touching did not, in fact, take place.

Can Your San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer Get the Sentence Reduced?

If you’re convicted of sexual assault in San Diego, you’ll be facing certain penalties. It is your San Diego criminal defense lawyer’s job to try to get these penalties reduced.

The penalties for sexual assault in California are as follows:

  • Misdemeanor sexual battery – Up to 6 months in county jail and fines for up to $2,000. If the victim was an employee of the defendant, the fines will be $3,000
  • Felony Sexual Battery – Jail of up to 1 year and fined up to $2,000. However, the penalty can be as high as 4 years in prison and as much as $10,000 in fines. The judge has discretion.

If you have a sex crime charge in San Diego, call and schedule a consultation with an experienced San Diego criminal defense lawyer. This is not something you want to face alone. There is simply too much at stake.

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