While pretty much everyone has heard the terms “sexual battery” and “rape,” there is often confusion as to what these terms really mean. Our experienced sex crimes lawyers have been successfully defending clients facing sexual battery and rape charges for more than 35 years. Our lawyers know how California distinguishes these separate criminal offenses. Let’s examine the difference between sexual battery and rape.

The Crime of Sexual Battery (PC 243.4)

Under California Penal Code Section 243.4, sexual battery is the touching of an intimate part of another person against that person’s will for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification or sexual abuse. “Intimate parts” include genitals, the buttocks and breasts. This touching can be contact with the victim’s bare skin or through his or her clothing.

For example, you could be charged with sexual battery if you are at a bar and you grab a random woman’s buttocks without her permission.

The Difference Between Sexual Battery and Rape (PC 261)

The key difference between rape and sexual battery is that rape involves penetration.

Rape is defined under California Penal Code Section 261as an act of sexual intercourse that the other person did not consent to.

Punishment for Sexual Battery

Sexual battery is a wobbler crime, meaning it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the facts of the case and your prior criminal history.

If you are convicted of misdemeanor sexual battery, you face up to 364 days in jail and up to $2,000 in fines. A felony sexual battery conviction could result in up to four years in prison and fines of up to $10,000. You will also be required to register as a sex offender under California Penal Code Section 290 if you are convicted of sexual battery.

Punishment for Rape

Rape is a felony offense in California. If you are convicted of rape under PC 261, you face 3, 6 or 8 years in state prison and fines of up to $10,000. You will also be required to register as a sex offender under PC 290 if you are convicted of rape.

The crime of rape is a “strike” crime, which means you will receive a strike on your criminal record if you are convicted of this crime. If you have a prior strike on your record and you are convicted of rape, your sentence could be doubled. If you have two prior strikes on your record, you could face 25 years to life if you’re convicted of rape.

Contact the Sexual Battery Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today

If you or a loved one is facing allegations of rape, sexual battery or any other serious sex crime, you should speak with an experienced sex crimes attorney at Wallin & Klarich immediately. Our skilled and knowledgeable sex crimes attorneys have been successfully defending clients facing sexual battery and rape 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 sex crimes attorney available near you no matter where you are located.

Call our office today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.

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