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Sexual Assault Offenses & Penalties in California

Rape

In California, rape is defined as engaging in sexual intercourse with someone else without consent, by means of force/violence/duress/fear of injury, after being drugged or intoxicated, after becoming unconscious, under false pretenses, or while under threat of arrest, incarceration, or deportation. All forms of nonconsensual sexual assault—including slight penetration—may be considered rape.

Rape is a felony, punishable by imprisonment for three, six, or eight years. If rape is committed by means of force/violence/duress/fear of injury and the victim is under 14 years old, a conviction carries a prison sentence of nine, 11, or 13 years. If the victim is a minor who is older than 14 years of age, a conviction can result in imprisonment of seven, nine, or 11 years.

Additionally, getting convicted of rape carries a tier-three sex offender designation, resulting in lifetime registration.

Rape of a Spouse

Spousal rape of a spouse means engaging in sexual intercourse with a spouse by means of force/violence/duress/fear of injury, after being drugged or intoxicated, after becoming unconscious, by threat of retaliation, or while under threat of arrest, incarceration, or deportation.

This offense is a felony, punishable by imprisonment for three, six, or eight years. Spousal rape by force carries a tier-three sex offender designation, resulting in lifetime registration.

Sodomy

Sodomy is defined as sexual conduct that consists of contact between one person’s penis and another person’s anus.

If the victim is under 18 years of age, a conviction is punishable by imprisonment of up to one year. If the defendant is over 21 and the victim is under 16, a conviction carries a prison term of 16 months, two years, or three years.

If the victim is under 14 years old and more than 10 years younger than the defendant, if sodomy is accompanied by threats of retaliation, if the victim is unconscious or drugged, if the offense is committed under false pretenses or by the threat of retaliation, or if the victim is incapable of providing consent due to a mental or physical disability, a conviction can result in imprisonment for three, six, or eight years.

If sodomy is committed by means of force/violence/duress/fear of injury against a non-minor victim, a conviction carries a prison sentence of three, six, or eight years. If the victim is under 14, a conviction is punishable by imprisonment of nine, 11, or 13 years. If the minor victim is older than 14, a conviction can lead to imprisonment of seven, nine, or 11 years.

Depending on the circumstances of the offense, sodomy can require tier-one, tier-two, or tier-three registration as a sex offender in California.

Oral Copulation

Oral copulation means copulating a person’s mouth with another person’s sexual organ or anus.

If the victim is under 18 years old, a conviction is punishable by imprisonment of up to one year. If the defendant is more than 21 years of age and the victim is younger than 16, a conviction carries a prison term of 16 months, two years, or three years. If the victim is under 14 and more than 10 years younger than the defendant, a conviction can result in imprisonment of three, six, or eight years.

If the offense is associated with means of force/violence/duress/fear of injury, a conviction can lead to a prison sentence of three, six, or eight years for non-minor victims. If the victim is younger than 14, a conviction is punishable by imprisonment of eight, ten, or 12 years. If a minor victim is older than 14, then a conviction can result in a prison term of six, eight, or ten years.

If the offense is accompanied by threats of retaliation, if the victim is unconscious or drugged, if the offense is committed under false pretenses or by the threat of retaliation, if the victim is incapable of providing consent due to a mental or physical disability, or while under threat of arrest, incarceration, or deportation, a conviction can result in imprisonment for three, six, or eight years.

Depending on the circumstances of the offense, sodomy can require tier-one, tier-two, or tier-three registration as a sex offender in California.

Forcible Sexual Penetration with a Foreign Object

Forcible sexual penetration with a foreign object means penetrating another person’s vagina or anus using a foreign object without consent and by means of force/violence/duress/fear of injury. This offense is a felony, punishable by imprisonment of three, six, or eight years, as well as tier-three sex offender registration.

If the victim is under 14 years old, a conviction carries a prison term of eight, ten, or 12 years. If the minor victim is older than 14, a conviction can result in imprisonment of six, eight, or ten years.

If the offense is accompanied by threats of retaliation, if the victim is unconscious or drugged, if the offense is committed under false pretenses or by the threat of retaliation, or if the victim is incapable of providing consent due to a mental or physical disability, a conviction can result in imprisonment for three, six, or eight years.

Sexual Battery

Sexual battery is defined as touching the intimate body parts of someone else—against his/her will—for the purposes of sexual arousal, gratification, or abuse. This offense is generally a misdemeanor, punishable by a jail sentence of up to six months and/or a maximum fine of $2,000.

If the victim is unlawfully restrained, unconscious, medically incapacitated, or seriously disabled, then the offense is either a misdemeanor or felony. A misdemeanor conviction carries a maximum jail term of one year and/or a fine of up to $2,000, while a felony conviction can result in imprisonment of two, three, or four years and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Misdemeanor sexual battery carries a tier-one sex offender designation. Felony sexual battery is classified as a tier-three offense.

Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child

Aggravated sexual assault of a child means committing rape, sodomy, oral copulation, or forcible sexual penetration against a child under 14 years of age and who is at least seven years younger than the defendant. This offense is a felony, punishable by imprisonment between 15 years or life and a tier-three sex offender registration.

Sexual Acts with a Child 10 Years Old or Younger

If the defendant is at least 18 years old and engages in sexual intercourse or sodomy with a child who is 10 years of age or younger, a conviction carries a prison sentence between 25 years to life, as well as tier-three sex offender registration. If the defendant is at least 18 years old and engages in oral copulation or sexual penetration with a child who is 10 years of age or younger, a conviction is punishable by imprisonment between 15 years and life.

If you have been arrested for a sex crime in Los Angeles or Orange County, call Gibbons & Gibbons, A Law Corporation at (562) 372-6366 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a free consultation! Our legal team has more than 60 years of combined experience!