Sex crimes carry several strict penalties. Upon a conviction, one can be placed on the state “sex offender” registry, which may limit future opportunities. And people who have been merely accused of these crimes and should be presumed innocent are punished before trial by being held in custody without the option of bond. This is why it's important to contact a skilled criminal defense attorney to aggressively investigate your case and serve as an advocate for you.
Rape [CA PC §261]
In the state of California, rape occurs when sexual intercourse takes place by means of force, threats, or fraud without the consent of at least one person involved.
Although many people assume rape solely occurs through physical force and intimidation (and in many cases it does), there are still other instances in which this act transpires that people may not be aware of. A few examples of actions that could lead to rape charges are:
- Having sexual intercourse with someone who lacks the capacity to consent (intoxication, physical disability etc.)
- Having sexual intercourse with someone who is unaware that the intercourse is occurring (an unconscious person, a person who is asleep)
- Having sexual intercourse by representing yourself in a way that is disingenuous or fraudulent ( ex. a doctor telling a patient that they need to participate in a sexual act for medical purposes)
California Rape Penalties
Rape is classified as a felony. If convicted, a defendant will be penalized with three, six, or eight years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000. An additional three to five years in prison will be added to a sentence if an alleged victim sustains a substantial bodily injury.
Statutory Rape [CA PC §261.5]
An adult is guilty of statutory rape when he or she engages in sexual intercourse with another person under the age of 18. California statutes label this offense as “unlawful sexual intercourse.” This law implies that minors do not have the capacity to consent to sexual activities. It is also exempt for adults and minors that are married to each other.
Whether the sex was consensual or not is irrelevant in these cases, the main element emphasized in these offenses is age. This means, that statutory rape could be charged in both a loving, consensual relationship or when people make false allegations out of anger and revenge. As a result, many innocent people are charged with this crime.
California Statutory Rape Penalties
This offense can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, it heavily depends on the age gap between all involved persons.
If a defendant is no more than three years older than the alleged victim, statutory rape will be charged as a misdemeanor. Potential penalties include probation, up to one year spent in jail and/or up to $1,000 in fines. If a defendant is more than three years older than an alleged victim, a person may be convicted of either a misdemeanor or a felony. If a defendant is older than 21 and the minor is younger than 16, he or she may be facing a misdemeanor or a felony. Although in this situation, the chances of being charged with a felony is exponentially heightened.
Sexual Battery [CA PC §243.4]
A person commits the act of sexual battery, also known as sexual assault if he or she touches another person without their consent for sexual arousal, gratification or abuse.
“Arousal” and “gratification,” refers to the defendant's actions for the purpose of gaining sexual pleasure. “Abuse” pertains to the battery of another person's private parts in order to humiliate or injure them.
California Sexual Battery Penalties
Defendants accused of this offense can be possibly charged with either a felony or a misdemeanor. Prior criminal history, as well as the facts in a case will be considered when determining a charge. However, there are aggravating factors that could increase a defendant's chances of being charged with a felony. These include:
- Unlawfully restraining an alleged victim
- Battering an alleged victim who is incapacitated, disabled or institutionalized
- Or representing yourself in a disingenuous way, convincing a person that these actions are necessary
A misdemeanor offense may result in up to six months in jail and a fine up to $2,000, while a felony offense carries penalties of up to four years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
Indecent Exposure [CA PC §341]
Indecent exposure is constituted under California law when a person reveals their genitals to another person with intentions to offend them or receive personal sexual gratification or arousal. It's important to note that a person can be fully clothed and still be charged with this crime. As long as a defendant's private parts (genitals, buttocks or female breast) are out, a conviction is possible.
The crime of indecent exposure is a misdemeanor unless one accrues subsequent offenses. A misdemeanor leads to penalties of up to six months in jail and a fine up to $1,000.
Prostitution/Solicitation [CA PC §647]
Prostitution, or the act of exchanging sexual acts for money or services, is strictly prohibited in California.
Police officers are permitted to arrest the prostitute, the customer willing to engage in these activities, and any other parties supporting the commission of this crime (a pimp). It's important to note that simply asking another person to engage in sexual acts for money or services, whether the person asked is a prostitute or not, is also a crime.
This offense is classified as a misdemeanor, which results in up to six months in jail and/or a fine up to $1,000.
Lewd Conduct in Public [CA PC §647(a)]
If a person engages in lewd conduct in any public place or solicits another person to do so, they are deemed guilty of this crime in accordance to California law.
“Lewd conduct” is defined in statutes as the touching of one's or another's private parts for purposes of sexual gratification or to offend others.
This offense is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a fine up to $1,000.
Experienced California Sex Crime Attorneys
If you have been suspected of a sex crime, you should contact a well-versed criminal defense attorney immediately. Harris B. Taback is devoted to protecting your rights. Call his office at (415) 241-1400 or contact him online for a free consultation.