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Sexual Battery Law, Penalty, & Defense
PC 243.4 Crimes

Information on the crime of sexual battery is found at California penal code section 243.4 & 243.4(e)(1). Sexual battery means to touch another person in a sexual manner without consent. A sexual manner means to arouse the defendant or attempt to arouse the victim (PC 243.4). There are several variations of sexual battery charges depending on the facts of the case.

Sexual Battery Laws

PC 243.4(a) Sexual batter by restraint: 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 (PC 243.4(a)) [Abbrev.].

PC 243.4(b) Sexual battery of a disabled person: Any person who touches an intimate part of another person who is institutionalized for medical treatment and who is seriously disabled or medically incapacitated, if the touching is against the will of the person touched, and if the touching is for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse, is guilty of sexual battery (PC 243.4(b)) [Abbrev.].

PC 243.4(c) Sexual battery by fraud: Any person who touches an intimate part of another person for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse, and the victim is at the time unconscious of the nature of the act because the perpetrator fraudulently represented that the touching served a professional purpose, is guilty of sexual battery (PC 243.4(c)) [Abbrev.].

 

Touching: The touching does not have to be skin to skin. The touching may be through the clothing of the defendant or the clothing of the victim, or both, but the touching must be against the intimate part of the victim's body.

Intimate Part: An intimate part means the sexual organ, anus, groin, or buttocks of any person, and the breast of a female.

Seriously Disabled: Seriously disabled means a person with severe physical or sensory disabilities.

Medically Incapacitated: Medically incapacitated means a person who is incapacitated as a result of prescribed sedatives, anesthesia, or other medication.

Institutionalized: Institutionalized means a person who is located voluntarily or involuntarily in a hospital, medical treatment facility, nursing home, acute care facility, or mental hospital.

Restrained: Unlawfully restrained means that the liberty of a person is controlled by words, acts, or authority. Unlawful restraint requires more than just the physical force necessary to accomplish the sexual touching.

Element of PC 243.4(a): To prove that the defendant is guilty of the crime of sexual battery by restraint, the prosecuting attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant:

  • Unlawfully restrained another person

  • Touched the intimate part of the person restrained

  • The touching was done against the victim's will (without consent)

  • The touching was done for the specific purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse

Sexual Battery Punishment

The crime of sexual battery is considered a wobbler, which means the crime of sexual battery may be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony. Both misdemeanor and felony sexual battery charges are filed under the same criminal code sections (PC 243.4 or 243.4(e)(1)).

Jail or Prison Sentence: If sexual battery is charged as a felony under any PC 243.4 charge, the defendant may face up to four (4) years in prison, If sexual battery is charged as a misdemeanor under any PC 243.4 charge, the defendant may face up to one (1) year in county jail.

Probation Sentence: Probation, with or without a jail or prison sentence, may be available in some sexual battery cases, even for felony sexual battery cases. Probation is a period of time (usually four (4) years) in which the defendant is placed on supervision as opposed to actual jail. Misdemeanor probation, also known as informal or summary probation, is not supervised by a probation officer.

 

Sex Offender Registration: If found guilty of any sexual battery charge under PC 243.4, 243.4(e)(1), or other, the defendant will be ordered to register as a sex offender. Sex offender registration includes registering the defendant's name and address with local law enforcement no less than once a year and within five (5) days of the defendant's birthday every year. Other conditions may apply depending on the defendant's status and any other sex crimes convictions associated with a sexual battery charge.

Crime of Moral Turpitude: A crime of moral turpitude is a crime that is morally wrong. Sexual battery may be considered a crime of moral turpitude depending on the circumstances of the case, such as whether or not the defendant inflicted great bodily injury on the victim during the sexual battery. Crimes of moral turpitude carry harsh collateral consequences for immigrants and licensed professionals.

Additional Punishments: In addition to the penalties listed above, if found guilty of the crime of sexual battery, the defendant may face any of the additional punishments: penalty fines, criminal protective orders (restraining orders), civil lawsuits, harsh probation or parole terms, loss of family law rights, loss of the right to possess a firearm, and more.

Sexual Battery Defenses

 

There is no perfect defense that applies to every sexual battery case as every case is different; however, there are defenses that are common to a sexual battery case. These common defenses include: Consent to touch, mistake of fact, jury nullification, coerced confessions, intoxication, insanity, and more.

 

To learn more about sexual battery crimes charged under PC 243.4, PC 243.4(e)(1)), and more, call our sex crimes criminal defense attorneys today for a free consultation. Call today!

909-913-3138

Quick Reference​ Sheet

Crime: Sexual Battery

Code: PC 243.4 (CalCrim No. 935-938)

Wobbler: Yes. PC 243.4 is a wobbler crime. This means that PC 243.4 may be charged as a felony or as a misdemeanor.

Incarceration:Felony PC 243.4 sentence range: 2, 3, or 4 years. Misdemeanor jail sentence up to 1 year.

Probation: Probation is allowed in felony and misdemeanor PC 243.4 cases (assuming that other crimes or enhancements that bar a probation sentence are not present). Whether or not a probation sentence is offered by the District Attorney, or granted by the court, depends on several factors, including the defendant's criminal history and the facts of the case.​

PC 1170(h)): No. PC 243.4 is not subject to PC 1170(h) sentencing. This means that any incarceration ordered after a felony conviction, that is not part of a probation sentence, must be served in state prison (as opposed to a county jail), and the prison sentence may not be split or suspended.

Strike: PC 243.4 is not a strike offense listed in California's Three Strikes law.

Credits: 50% good conduct credits available.

CIMT: PC 243.4 is a crime involving moral turpitude, which means that an arrest or conviction could lead to the following:

  • Immigration problems

  • Professional Licensing problems

  • Impeachment on credibility

​​

Firearms: Felony PC 243.4 convictions prohibit a defendant from owning or possessing firearms. Misdemeanor convictions prohibit the defendant from owning or possessing a firearm for 10 years. 

Registration: If convicted of PC 243.4 the defendant is required to register as a sex offender with local law enforcement. Applies to both misdemeanor and felony PC 243.4 convictions.

Bail: $50,000 (Felony) $25,000 (Misdemeanor) (San Bernardino)

Note: More penalties, direct or indirect, may apply. This info is created for that purpose only; accuracy is not guaranteed. No attorney/client relationship is formed by use of this info. If arrested or charged with a crime contact a lawyer without delay. 

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Related Crimes

  • Sexual battery of unconscious victim PC 243.4(c)

  • Sexual battery by forced masturbation PC 243.4(d)

PC 243.4 Laws (Sexual Battery)

PC 243.4(a) 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.  A violation of this subdivision is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, and by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000);  or by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, and by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

PC 243.4(b) Any person who touches an intimate part of another person who is institutionalized for medical treatment and who is seriously disabled or medically incapacitated, if the touching is against the will of the person touched, and if the touching is for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse, is guilty of sexual battery.  A violation of this subdivision is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, and by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000);  or by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, and by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

PC 243.4(c) Any person who touches an intimate part of another person for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse, and the victim is at the time unconscious of the nature of the act because the perpetrator fraudulently represented that the touching served a professional purpose, is guilty of sexual battery.  A violation of this subdivision is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, and by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000);  or by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, and by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

PC 243.4(d) Any person who, for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse, causes another, against that person's will while that person is unlawfully restrained either by the accused or an accomplice, or is institutionalized for medical treatment and is seriously disabled or medically incapacitated, to masturbate or touch an intimate part of either of those persons or a third person, is guilty of sexual battery.  A violation of this subdivision is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, and by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000);  or by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years, and by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

PC 243.4(e)(1) Any person who touches an intimate part of another person, if the touching is against the will of the person touched, and is for the specific purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse, is guilty of misdemeanor sexual battery, punishable by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding six months, or by both that fine and imprisonment.  However, if the defendant was an employer and the victim was an employee of the defendant, the misdemeanor sexual battery shall be punishable by a fine not exceeding three thousand dollars ($3,000), by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding six months, or by both that fine and imprisonment.  Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any amount of a fine above two thousand dollars ($2,000) which is collected from a defendant for a violation of this subdivision shall be transmitted to the State Treasury and, upon appropriation by the Legislature, distributed to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing for the purpose of enforcement of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act..., including, but not limited to, laws that proscribe sexual harassment in places of employment.  However, in no event shall an amount over two thousand dollars ($2,000) be transmitted to the State Treasury until all fines, including any restitution fines that may have been imposed upon the defendant, have been paid in full (Abbreviated).

PC 243.4(e)(2) As used in this subdivision, “touches” means physical contact with another person, whether accomplished directly, through the clothing of the person committing the offense, or through the clothing of the victim.

PC 243.4(f) As used in subdivisions (a), (b), (c), and (d), “touches” means physical contact with the skin of another person whether accomplished directly or through the clothing of the person committing the offense.

PC 243.4(g) As used in this section, the following terms have the following meanings:

(1) “Intimate part” means the sexual organ, anus, groin, or buttocks of any person, and the breast of a female.

(2) “Sexual battery” does not include the crimes defined in PC 261 or PC 289.

(3) “Seriously disabled” means a person with severe physical or sensory disabilities.

(4) “Medically incapacitated” means a person who is incapacitated as a result of prescribed sedatives, anesthesia, or other medication.

(5) “Institutionalized” means a person who is located voluntarily or involuntarily in a hospital, medical treatment facility, nursing home, acute care facility, or mental hospital.

(6) “Minor” means a person under 18 years of age.

PC 243.4(h) This section shall not be construed to limit or prevent prosecution under any other law which also proscribes a course of conduct that also is proscribed by this section.

PC 243.4(i) In the case of a felony conviction for a violation of this section, the fact that the defendant was an employer and the victim was an employee of the defendant shall be a factor in aggravation in sentencing.

PC 243.4(j) A person who commits a violation of subdivision (a), (b), (c), or (d) against a minor when the person has a prior felony conviction for a violation of this section shall be guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years and a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000).