Sexual Assault & Sexual Battery (PC 243.4)

California Sexual Assault & Sexual Battery Laws

Penal Code §243.4 PC Sexual assault cases begin with police officers contacting you and asking for your side of the story. Whatever you do, don’t talk to them. Call us immediately. The police are not your friends. They are not just trying to get the facts. They are trying to convict you. Don’t ruin your life. Call us. If you are a parent and the police want to talk to your son about some girl’s allegations of sexual misconduct at school, don’t let them talk to your child without an attorney. Contact our law firm now. Police are very skilled at encouraging people to talk. Be polite. Say you’d like to talk to an attorney. Then run, don’t walk, to the nearest phone and call us. If people would follow this simple advice, they could avoid much grief.

Sexual Battery

Sometimes a simple unwanted touch can result in life changing sexual battery charge. This can happen in a bar, perhaps a doctor brushing up against a co-worker, a nurse (male or female) taking care of a patient or a landlord collecting rent. Frequently these charges are baseless, but, they often are the beginning of a criminal charge and civil law suit. We are experienced at defending these.

California Penal Code §243.4 PC

Penal Code §243.4 PC defines sexual battery (alternatively referred to as sexual assault) as:

“Any person who touches an intimate part of another person while that person is unlawfully restrained by the accused or an accomplice, and if the touching is against the will of the person touched and is for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse, is guilty of sexual battery.”

In order to be charged with a violation of Penal Code §243.4 PC, the behavior would need to meet all of the following three elements:

  1. Touching the intimate part of another person,
  2. against that person’s will
  3. for the specific purpose of either sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse.

The basic type of sexual battery described above is a misdemeanor. Unlike the California crime of rape under Penal Code §261, sexual assault does not require that the offender engage in actual penetration or sexual intercourse. And it is important to understand that you can be convicted under California’s sexual assault law even if you are involved with the accuser in an on-going sexual relationship.

Penal Code §243.4 PC also addresses more aggravated forms of sexual assault. These types of sexual battery occur when the definition above is met and, additionally, the alleged victim is:

  • unlawfully restrained, either by the person who is committing sexual battery or by someone else;
  • institutionalized for medical treatment and is seriously disabled or medically incapacitated;
  • unaware of the nature of the act because the perpetrator fraudulently represented that the touching served a professional purpose; or,
  • made to masturbate or touch the intimate part of the perpetrator, an accomplice or another person…under any of the above circumstances.


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