California’s sexual assault law, Penal Code 243.4 PC, prohibits the touching of another person’s intimate body parts for the purpose of sexual gratification, arousal, or abuse. It can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony sexual battery. Felony penalties normally apply if the victim was:
- illegally restrained
- fraudulently convinced that the touching was for a legitimate purpose (i.e. medical examination)
- institutionalized, and in a state of incapacitation or disability
- forced to touch or masturbate the assailant under any of the above circumstances.
Misdemeanor sexual assault is punishable by up to one year in jail, depending on the circumstances, and a fine of up to $2,000 (or up to $3,000 if the victim was an employee of the defendant). A conviction for felony sexual assault can result in up to four years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Both misdemeanor and felony convictions can subject defendants to lifetime registration as a sex offender, as well as probation for up to five years. While on probation a person may be required to perform community service, complete an education program, or attend a program aimed at those with sexual abuse issues.
Sexual assault is punished by federal authorities if the crime occurs in a federal prison or a special maritime or territorial jurisdiction of the U.S. government. Federal law sets a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and / or fines. It also directs that those convicted of sexual assault must compensate their victims financially for any expenses, such as hospital visits therapy, and attorneys’’ fees, that are directly related to the attack.
Assault, Battery, Forcible oral copulation, Forcible rape, Kidnapping, Sexual penetration by a foreign object, Sodomy by use of force and attempted sodomy by use of force.
Being accused of sexual assault can ruin a person’s life, even if the accusation turns out to be false: repercussions include fines, jail time, and registration as a sexual offender. If anyone is charged with a sex crime, they need to hire a California criminal defense attorney with experience in defending sexual assault allegations.
A person may successfully defend themselves against a sexual assault charge if they can prove that they were falsely accused or the other party was capable of consent and gave it.
On June 18 2014, James Smith, 35, was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a female college student. He was also charged with sexually assaulting three other women, the alleged crimes dating back to 2009.
Smith was charged with two counts of forcible rape and one count each of forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by a foreign object, and sodomy by use of force and attempted sodomy by use of force. He had allegedly forced a woman into his car, taken her to an abandoned house, and sexually assaulted her. If convicted, he could face life in prison.