California Penal Code Section 243.4 defines the crime of sexual battery as the unlawful touching of an intimate part of another person against that person’s will for the purposes of sexual arousal, gratification or abuse.
If you are charged with sexual battery, you face serious criminal consequences. Sexual battery under PC 243.4 is a wobbler offense, meaning it could be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Let our experienced sexual battery defense lawyers explain when sexual battery could be charged as a felony.
Is Sexual Battery a Felony? (PC 243.4)
When you are accused of sexual battery, it will be up to the prosecution to decide whether to file misdemeanor or felony charges. This decision will be based on the facts of the case.
An example of misdemeanor sexual battery is touching a woman’s breasts or buttocks without permission. However, more serious forms of sexual battery could be charged as a felony.
Under PC 243.4, you could felony sexual battery charges under the following circumstances:
- The alleged victim was unaware of the nature of the act because he or she was fraudulently convinced that the touching was for professional purposes
- The alleged victim was unlawfully restrained
- The alleged victim was institutionalized for medical treatment and was seriously disabled or medically incapacitated, or
- The alleged victim was forced to touch his or her own intimate parts or the intimate parts of the defendant or another under any of the above circumstances
Essentially, the difference between felony and misdemeanor sexual battery is that a felony occurs when you use a position of power, fraud, false pretenses or force to commit the act.
For example, let’s say you are a doctor and, for your own sexual arousal or gratification, you falsely tell a patient that you must feel her breasts in order to complete an examination, and you proceed to do so. You could be charged with felony sexual battery because the patient was fraudulently convinced that the touching was for professional purposes.
Punishment for Sexual Battery (PC 243.4)
Under PC 243.4, felony sexual battery is punishable by 2, 3 or 4 years in state prison and $10,000 in fines. You will also be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life under PC 290 if you are convicted of felony sexual battery.
A misdemeanor sexual battery conviction carries a punishment of up to six months in county jail and up to $2,000 in fines. You will also be required to register as a sex offender under PC 290 if you are convicted of a misdemeanor for sexual battery.
Contact the Sexual Battery Lawyers at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or someone you love is being accused of committing misdemeanor or felony sexual battery, you should speak to an experienced sex crimes attorney at Wallin & Klarich immediately. Our skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers have been successfully defending clients facing sexual battery charges for more than 35 years. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego, you can find an experienced Wallin & Klarich sexual battery lawyer available near you no matter where you work or live.
Call our law firm today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation regarding your case. We will get through this together.