A sexual assault, or sexual battery charge in Long Beach, CA, may come as a shock. Not only will it have a devastating effect on your mental well-being, but it may also cause mental anguish to your family as they try to come to terms with the next steps. Your personal life, reputation, professional goals and opportunities, and financial state are all at grave risk with such an accusation, and it is indeed a heavy burden to determine how to protect yourself, your future, and your loved ones.
A natural outcome of a sexual assault charge is time spent in court defending yourself, monetary damages to the alleged victim, and possible jail time. For these reasons, it is imperative to find a local sexual assault attorney who will advocate for your rights and illuminate your side of the story with compassion and determination. Gibbons & Gibbons can help you navigate this complex and stressful time with a legal team skilled in defending against sexual assault and rape accusations, and we can promise to fight fiercely on your behalf for your innocence, if at all possible, or a lesser sentence in light of a conviction.
Sexual assault in California also falls under the term “sexual battery.” Simply put, sexual assault or battery refers to a person who touches another person’s private body parts without their consent. This unwanted touching includes these areas of the victim’s body:
Rape is a type of sexual assault because it is identified as non-consensual intercourse with another person.
Some of the most common charges for sexual assault include:
Rape is the most severe charge under sexual assault law. In order to be charged with rape, a scenario will not only include an instance of sexual intercourse without consent but may also show that the defendant threatened the alleged victim with intimidation or performed intercourse using physical force or duress.
Examples of this include the alleged victim believed they would be injured or another person would be harmed if they did not comply with the defendant. The alleged victim did not have the mental or physical ability to provide consent to intercourse, either because of intoxication, mental disability, or physical problems. The alleged victim was asleep or unconscious, or the defendant used false pretenses such as fraud to compel the victim to have sexual intercourse with them.
Furthermore, any sexual act with a minor person under the age of 18 is considered sexual assault, even if the minor person allegedly gives their consent. Under California law, anyone under 18 cannot actually give consent to sexual acts or intercourse with a lawful adult. In the case of rape of a minor, the charge can be very severe, and the penalties will only increase with the age disparity between the defendant and the alleged victim.
Once a person is convicted of sexual assault or rape, there are a variety of punishments that can be handed down by a judge according to the details of the case; these include fines, maximum and minimum prison sentencing, and other possible penalties. In California specifically, fines can be as high as $10,000 for sexual assault, up to 6 months of sentencing in county jail, and a range of 24-48 months serving time in state prison. A judge must thoroughly read through the details of the case before making a final decision regarding sentencing, as each case is unique to the defendant and may have other factors that either aggravate or mitigate the sentence.
The two types of sexual assault are misdemeanor sexual battery and felony sexual battery. The difference between these crimes depends on the facts of the case. A misdemeanor carries a sentence of up to 6 months in county jail and a maximum fine of $2,000, although this fine can increase to $3000 if the alleged victim works for the defendant as their employee. A felony has multiple potential punishments, such as a one-year sentence to a county jail with a maximum fine of $2000; however, the person convicted may end up spending 2-4 years in state prison and paying thousands of dollars more in fines.
Civil litigation following a conviction for sexual assault is also common in California. The victim and their family have the right to sue the defendant in civil court for damages caused by the assault and ensuing trauma of the trial. Post-conviction, the defendant may also be required to register as a sex offender; this will be information searchable in a public database that anyone can access at any time. Sex offender registration sometimes has time limits but can also be permanent, and it will affect where you are allowed to live, as well as potential future employment.
If you are arrested for the crime of sexual assault, you have the right to an attorney who is well-versed in sexual battery law and sexual abuse law and who will examine the details of your case to ensure you receive the strongest defense possible. If the case goes to court, the prosecutor must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the alleged perpetrator did, in fact, commit sexual assault or rape. Many defendants are able, with the help of a zealous and well-organized legal team, to prove the situation was, in fact, consensual, or was a case of mistaken identity. Alternatively, the defense can sometimes prove reasonable doubt with a defendant’s alibi for the time frame in which the crime occurred or portray other elements that negate the prosecution’s side of the story.
A: Sexual assault jail and prison sentences vary according to the severity and specific details of the crime. A misdemeanor sexual assault charge has less jail time than a felony sexual assault conviction. The punishments are up to 6 months served in a county jail and 24-48 months served in a state prison.
A: Fines are a mandatory consequence of sexual assault sentencing in California. If convicted of a misdemeanor sexual assault charge, a person will need to pay a maximum of $2000 in fines or a maximum of $3000 in fines if the situation involves an employer-employee relationship with the defendant and victim, respectively.
A: Variations exist regarding the statute of limitations for sexual assault in California. Depending on the case, convicting, and sentencing, certain felony sexual assault crimes can be fully prosecuted within any time frame after the alleged assault happened, even if it has been decades since, in particular for more severe accusations such as forcible rape. Other sexual assault charges have shorter statutes of limitations or three to six years if they do not include violence or if an offense can be punished by a sentence of more than eight years in state prison.
A: To prove a sexual assault charge in court, the prosecutor must show at least one of the following scenarios occurred between the alleged victim and defendant:
Obtaining the guidance of a reputable Long Beach sexual assault lawyer can be extremely beneficial to the outcome of your case. While you are grappling with the emotional, social, professional, and familial repercussions of such charges, an impassioned legal team can assist with organizing facts and sound defense, removing undue pressure from your life while you cope with any financial hardships and other stressors.
Gibbons & Gibbons can provide a legal team with the resources, years of service, and determination to cultivate an empowering defense that may minimize your sentence if convicted or prove your innocence if necessary. Do not hesitate to utilize our services to minimize long-reaching consequences in your case. Start with a consultation by contacting us online, and we can figure out your next steps together.