Have you been charged with a misdemeanor sexual offense or a felony sexual offense? If so, the charges against you can have a devastating effect on your life and the lives of your family members. If you are convicted of a sexual offense in California, you could face significant prison time, expensive fines and court fees, forced sexual offender registration, and mandatory sexual offender counseling sessions. You may be restrained from seeing your own children and other family members.
The prosecutors who handle these specialized criminal charges aggressively pursue defendants and seek a conviction at any cost. Many sexual offense cases are filed even though there may be very little evidence that can be corroborated through witness testimony or physical evidence. Regardless, once the sexual assault charges are filed, the suspect is regarded as a sexual offender and needs an experienced, effective sex crime defense attorney to protect his or her freedom.
Greenberg & Greenberg, APLC, has sex crime attorneys with extensive experience protecting the rights and freedom of individuals accused of sexual assault. Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor sexual offense or a felony sexual offense, you need the assistance of a skilled criminal defense attorney. If you have been charged with a sex crime in San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles, San Diego, or Orange County, we are here to provide support, guidance, and legal counsel to you during this difficult and stressful experience.
What is Sexual Battery?
Several different situations of sexual offenses are outlined in California law, with all situations constituting at the very least a sexual battery. Sexual battery is defined as touching “an intimate part of another person against the will of the person being touched and is for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse.”
There are four specific situations defined as sexual battery:
- The victim is restrained by the accused person or an accomplice
- The victim is institutionalized for medical treatment and is seriously disabled or medically incapacitated
- The victim is unconscious of the nature of the touching because the person fraudulently represented that the touching served a professional purpose
- The victim, who is unlawfully restrained, is institutionalized for medical treatment, or is seriously disabled or medically incapacitated, is forced to masturbate or touch an intimate part of the perpetrator or a another person
The fifth section specifically states that “any person who touches an intimate part of another person, if the touching is against the will of the person touched, and is for the specific purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse” is guilty of a misdemeanor. The “touching” in this section is specifically described as physical contact “through the clothing of the person committing the offense, or through the clothing of the victim.”
Because the statutes regarding sexual battery can be confusing as to the circumstances that define sexual battery, especially those relating to a felony sexual offense versus a misdemeanor sexual offense, you need an experienced sex crimes attorney as soon as possible to protect your freedom. Because the touching can be through clothing, you could be charged with a sexual offense for patting a person on the buttocks.
Regardless of the charge, you need an attorney who will develop a strong criminal defense to protect you. The criminal defense attorneys of Greenberg & Greenberg, APLC treat every sexual battery charge seriously and aggressively investigate the facts and circumstances to develop a defense strategy that will give you the best possible outcome in your case.
What Makes a Sexual Battery Offense a Felony?
In California, the prosecutor can choose to charge the suspect with a misdemeanor sexual offense or a felony sexual offense depending on the circumstances of the crime.
A prosecutor can choose to charge the suspect with a felony sexual offense when the victim is physically restrained, unconscious, mentally ill, physically incapacitated, or in the instance of fraud. If you are charged with a felony sexual offense, the stakes become much higher as those offenses carry a much higher punishment than a misdemeanor sexual offense.
Punishment for Misdemeanor Sexual Battery Offenses and Felony Sexual Battery Offenses
If the prosecution chooses to charge you with a misdemeanor sexual offense, the possible punishments include:
- Summary or informal probation
- Up to twelve months in a county jail
- A fine of up to $2,000 (or $3,000 if the victim was your employee)
- Required registration as a Sex Offender
- Enrollment and completion of a sexual battery course
If the prosecution finds evidence that would elevate the charge to felony sexual offense, you could be facing additional penalties including:
- Formal probation
- With probation, up to twelve months in county jail
- Without probation, from two to four years in a state prison
- Fines of up to $10,000
Registration as a sex offender is required regardless of whether you are charged with a misdemeanor sexual offense or a felony offense. Being placed on the Sex Offenders Registry has an extremely negative effect on your future. In addition to being branded as a sex offender by your family and friends for the rest of your life, being on this list restricts where you can live and work. It is vital that you retain an experienced sexual offender defense attorney as soon as possible to prevent this from happening.
Experienced Sex Crimes Defense to Protect Your Future and Your Freedom
California authorities are very serious about sexual offenses. Prosecutors have taken a strong stance against individuals suspected of any sexual offense or sexual misconduct; therefore, the state will use every resource available to ensure that you are found guilty of these charges. If possible, the prosecutor may try to add the felony charge in order to increase the level of punishment.
If you have been charged with a misdemeanor sexual offense or a felony sexual offense, do not hesitate to contact Greenberg & Greenberg, APLC immediately. The longer you wait to address these charges the more difficult it can be to develop a strong defense strategy. The negative stigma and public bias make it difficult and challenging for a defendant to be treated fairly during the judicial process. By having an experienced sex crimes defense attorney, your legal rights are protected and you can receive a fair and just outcome.
As former District Attorneys, we understand the judicial process and we know how to protect your freedom and your legal rights. Contact Greenberg & Greenberg, APLC at (951) 397-0003 or online to schedule a consultation.