What is Sexual Assault?

sexual assault
Sexual assault or sexual battery, generally referred to sexual assault is defined as:

  • Touching the intimate parts of another person,
  • Doing so against the other person’s will,
  • Done so for the specific purpose of either sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse.

Unlike California’s rape law, sexual assault does not mean that sexual penetration or sexual intercourse has to occur. It’s possible to be accused of sexual assault even if you are in a sexual relationship with the accuser.

Penalties for Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is a wobbler, meaning it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances, your criminal history, and how the sexual assault was committed.

Penalties as a Misdemeanor

This crime is charged as a misdemeanor if the crime only consists of the following:

  • Touching someone’s intimate parts,
  • Doing so against that person’s will, and
  • Done so for the purpose of sexual gratification, arousal, and abuse.

The misdemeanor penalties include:

  • Up to six months in a county jail,
  • A fine up to $2,000 or $3,000 if the victim was your employee,
  • Informal probation for up to five years, and/or
  • Registration as a tier one sex offender for a minimum of ten years.

Penalties as a Felony

In order to be charged as a felony, there have to be aggravating factors involved with the crime. These include any of the following:

  • The victim was unlawfully restrained by the person committing the crime or by someone else.
  • The victim was institutionalized for medical treatment and is seriously disabled or medically incapacitated.
  • The victim was not aware of the nature of the act because the perpetrator fraudulently represented that the touching was for a professional purpose.
  • The victim was forced to masturbate or touch the intimate part of the perpetrator or an accomplice or another person under any of the above circumstances.

The penalties as a felony include:

  • Formal probation,
  • Two, three, or four years in a California state prison, and an additional three to five years if the alleged victim had a great bodily injury in the process,
  • A maximum fine of $10,000, and/or
  • Registration as a tier three sex offender for life.

Legal Defenses for Sexual Assault

There are a lot of legal defenses for sexual assault that an experienced criminal defense lawyer can fight with. Here are the most common ones.

There was consent.

If the touching is consensual or you held reasonable belief that it was consensual, then you cannot be convicted of this crime.

There is insufficient evidence.

Physical evidence can be a hard thing to for prosecutors to find. It required to show that a sexual assault occurred beyond a reasonable doubt. An experienced criminal defense lawyer knows what questions to ask to get to the truth.

You were falsely accused.

False allegations are very common for this crime. That’s why it’s important that sufficient evidence is necessary. Insufficient evidence can dismiss these charges.

Fresno Sexual Assault Lawyer

Have you been charged with sexual assault? Hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer to fight the charges for you!

Any questions? Contact us.