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Sexual Battery: What is the law and punishment?

California Penal Code 243.4 "sexual battery" is a "wobbler" meaning the prosecutor may choose to file this charge as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the circumstances of the case and criminal history.  Sexual battery is a serious accusation that can lead to a lengthy jail sentence if the case is not handled properly.  

What Must Be Proven in a Sexual Battery Case?

PC 243.4 requires the following to be proven:

  1. the defendant touched an intimate part of the alleged victim;
  2. the defendant's act of offense was against the victim's will; and
  3. the touching was done with the specific intent to cause sexual arousal or abuse.

 The prosecution has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt that a sexual battery occurred.

What are the penalties for a Sexual Battery?


 PC 243.4 has a maximum fine of up to $2,000 and/or up to 1 year in county jail.  

A conviction or guilty plea will result in a lifetime registration as a sex offender.


PC 243.4 as a felony has a maximum fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to 4 years in state prison.

Lifetime registration as a sex offender is required if convicted.

What are the defenses to Sexual Battery?

The defendant was falsely accused of sexual battery

If it can be proven that the alleged facts did not or could not occur, the defendant should be found not guilty of sexual battery.  The defense will be given an opportunity to question the alleged victim and witnesses as well as present evidence of innocence at trial.  Inconsistencies in the accusers testimony or contrary testimony can be used to prove that a sexual battery did not occur as alleged by the victim.  

The defendant did not touch the alleged victim in a sexual manner

The touching must have been sexual nature.  A battery occurs when the defendant offensively touches another, such as pushing or hitting.  A battery is a different charge from a sexual battery.  If the touching was of an area that is not an intimate part of the alleged victim, the defendant should not be found guilty of sexual battery.

Bottom line, you need an experienced attorney who is willing to walk you through the entire process, evaluate your case effectively for weaknesses and exploit the issues in your case to achieve the best results.  The Law Offices of Steven McNicholl has that experience and will get you through your case in the best shape possible.

See also

PC 290(b) failure to register as a sex offender

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If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime, call the Law Offices of Steven McNicholl at (951) 405-0990. We have the skill and experience in San Bernardino County to protect your rights and get the best results in your case.

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