Hire a Sexual Assault Attorney

  • Home
  • /
  • Hire a Sexual Assault Attorney

Sexual assault charges are serious. Our top rated attorneys can help you navigate your case. View our guide for defense.

Los Angeles Sexual Assault Attorney

California Penal Code 243.4 describes what sexual assault (also called sexual battery in California) is.

In California, a sexual assault occurs when one person touches an intimate part of another person’s body without that person’s consent. The perpetrator does so for his or her own sexual gratification or arousal or to abuse the victim.

Depending on the facts of the case, the police can charge perpetrator with a misdemeanor or a felony. Conviction for felony sexual assault can mean jail time in state prison and placement on California’s sexual offender registry for life.

However, the police may charge innocent people with sexual assault when, in fact, they had no intention of engaging in such conduct. If you or a loved one are facing sexual battery charges, you need a Los Angeles sexual assault attorney to protect your rights and prepare a vigorous defense to the charges.

Touching an Intimate Body Part

In California’s sexual assault statute, an “intimate body part” is an anus, buttocks, sex organ or female beasts. The contact can be made through clothes. However, the perpetrator has to touch an intimate body part of the victim.

Therefore, if the perpetrator took the victim’s hand and placed it on his penis, he has not committed a sexual assault; he may have committed another crime for such a lewd act, but not sexual assault since no contact was made with an intimate body part of the victim.

In order for a sexual assault to have occurred, the illegal touching must happen without the consent of the victim. If a person is riding a crowded bus and intentionally brushes against the buttocks of another passenger who he doesn’t know, the victim passenger presumably did not give the stranger permission to make that contact.

In another scenario, a dentist touches a female patient’s breasts a few times as he hovers over the prone patient, examining or cleaning her teeth. He is doing that for his sexual gratification.

Meanwhile, the patient believes the touching is accidental and/or incidental to the treatment she is receiving. In that instance, a sexual assault has occurred since the patient did not consent to the dentist touching her breasts for his sexual gratification.

The Touching Occurs for Sexual Gratification or Abuse

The illegal touching by the perpetrator must be done to sexually gratify the perpetrator or to “hurt, humiliate, injure or intimidate” the victim. In the crowded bus example above, if one passenger brushes against the buttocks of another passenger, without intending to do so, because the bus stopped short or drove too fast while making a turn, an experienced Los Angeles sexual assault attorney would argue that no sexual assault occurred.

When Does a Sexual Battery Become a Felony?

As said earlier, depending on the facts of the case, a sexual assault in California can be a misdemeanor or felony. Police or prosecutors may file felony sexual assault charges in the following circumstances if the victim is:

  • Restrained by the perpetrator or an accomplice of the perpetrator;
  • A patient in an institution and is medically or mentally disabled;
  • Unaware that a sexual assault occurred because the perpetrator fraudulently made the victim believe the illegal touching was proper and part of a professional service the victim was receiving (such as the dentist above); or
  • Made to masturbate or touch an intimate body part of the perpetrator or another person in any of the three circumstances described in this section (this is the only instance in which the touching of another person’s intimate body part becomes a sexual assault in California).

What Are the Penalties for Sexual Assault in California?

A judge can place a person convicted of misdemeanor sexual assault in county jail for up to one year. The convicted person will be placed on Tier One of the California sex offender registry. That person will remain on the registry for at least 10 years.

  • A judge can also fine the offender up to $3,000 if the victim was an employee of the offender.

  • Otherwise, the fine can be up to $2,000.

  • A conviction for felony sexual assault can mean up to four years in state prison. That person will also be placed on Tier Three of the sex offender registry for life.

  • Fines for conviction of felony sexual assault can be up to $10,000.

What are the Defenses to Charges of Sexual Assault?

Experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys can raise several defenses to the charge of sexual assault. If the touching was consensual, there is no crime. Even if you can show you had a reasonable belief that the touching was consensual, there is no crime.

For many sexual assault cases, there is no physical evidence to support the charges. Many cases are more of a “he said, she said” type of case.

In those situations, experienced Los Angeles sexual battery lawyers can carefully examine the circumstances of the charges, possibly get the sexual assault charges reduced or even dismissed.

As with any criminal prosecution, the prosecutors must prove every element of the alleged crime “beyond a reasonable doubt.” That is a very high standard. Experienced Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers will hold prosecutors to that standard in a sexual assault case.

Experienced Los Angeles Sexual Assault Attorneys

As can be seen from the above, sexual assault in California is a serious crime. In this #MeToo era, charges of sexual assault can be publicized and receive increased scrutiny from police and prosecutors.

Daniel Perlman and Matthew Cohen are experienced Los Angeles sexual assault lawyers at Perlman & Cohen. They have appeared in Los Angeles courts on behalf of sexual assault defendants for years.

If you or a loved one have been charged with sexual assault, contact them at (310) 299-0062 to set up a free consultation so they can help you begin the fight against the sexual assault charges and protect your rights.

Types of Cases We Handle

Schedule a Risk Free Consultation With Our Defense Attorneys