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California Penal Code 243.4(e)(1) - IE Criminal Defense

I. California Penal Code 243.4: Sexual Battery


Legal Definition: 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. (PC 243.4(e)(1))

For a person to be convicted of a violation of PC 243(e)(1) the prosecution must prove the following:

  1. You touched an intimate part of another person;
  2. The touching was done against that person’s will; AND
  3. The touching was done for the specific purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse.

II. What does this mean?


An intimate part is a female’s breast or the anus, groin, sexual organ, or buttocks of anyone. Touching, as used here, means making physical contact with another person. Touching includes contact made through the clothing. An act is done against a person’s will if that person does not consent to the act. In order to consent, a person must act freely and voluntarily and know the nature of the act.

This is simply a battery charge, where the touching was sexual in nature. This is no different than grabbing a woman’s butt as she walks by, or grinding up against another person at a bar, so long as it is done for sexual arousal, or one of the others above, then it is a Sexual Battery.

III. Penalties


Sexual Battery under this section is a misdemeanor offense only. If you are convicted under this section, you would be sentenced to County Jail for up to one year. You would be required to serve 50% of that sentence. In addition, you would be required to register as a Sex Offender under PC 290 for up to 10 years as a Tier 1 offender.

In addition, a conviction under this section would almost assuredly be a Crime of Moral Turpitude and affect a person’s temporary citizenship in the United States. It would also subject any person carrying a Professional License to have to appear in front of an Administrative Board, in order to justify the conviction and explain how it would not affect their employment and license.


IV. Other relevant violations under this section


1. PC 243.4(a):

Legal Definition: 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.

Unlawfully restrained under this section means that the liberty of a person is controlled by your words, acts, or authority. Unlawful restraint requires more than just the physical force necessary to accomplish the act of sexual touching, similar to that of force.

Penalties: This is a wobbler offense, meaning that it can be charged as a Felony or Misdemeanor, depending on certain factors as well as your criminal background. If you are convicted of this charge as a Misdemeanor, you could be sentenced to County Jail for up to one year. If you are convicted of this charge as a Felony, you could be sentenced to upwards of two, three, or four years in State Prison. You would be required to serve 50% of that sentence. You would also be required to register as a Sex Offender under PC 290 for up to 20 years as a Tier II offender.

2. PC 243.4(b)

Legal Definition: 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.

Seriously disabled under this section means a person with severe physical or sensory disabilities. Medically incapacitated means a person who is incapacitated as a result of sedatives, anesthesia, or other types of medication. Institutionalized means a person who is located in a hospital, medical treatment facility, nursing home, acute care facility, or mental hospital.

Penalties: This is a wobbler offense, meaning that it can be charged as a Felony or Misdemeanor, depending on certain factors as well as your criminal background. If you are convicted of this charge as a Misdemeanor, you could be sentenced to County Jail for up to one year. If you are convicted of this charge as a Felony, you could be sentenced to upwards of two, three, or four years in State Prison. You would be required to serve 50% of that sentence. You would also be required to register as a Sex Offender under PC 290 for up to 20 years as a Tier II offender.

3. PC 243.4(c)

Legal Definition: 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.

A person is not conscious of the sexual nature of the act if he or she is not aware of the essential characteristics of the act because the perpetrator fraudulently represented that the touching served a professional purpose when it did not.

Penalties: This is a wobbler offense, meaning that it can be charged as a Felony or Misdemeanor, depending on certain factors as well as your criminal background. If you are convicted of this charge as a Misdemeanor, you could be sentenced to County Jail for up to one year. If you are convicted of this charge as a Felony, you could be sentenced to upwards of two, three, or four years in State Prison. You would be required to serve 50% of that sentence. You would also be required to register as a Sex Offender under PC 290 for up to 20 years as a Tier II offender.

4. PC 243.4(d)

Legal Definition: 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.

Penalties: This is a wobbler offense, meaning that it can be charged as a Felony or Misdemeanor, depending on certain factors as well as your criminal background. If you are convicted of this charge as a Misdemeanor, you could be sentenced to County Jail for up to one year. If you are convicted of this charge as a Felony, you could be sentenced to upwards of two, three, or four years in State Prison. You would be required to serve 50% of that sentence. You would also be required to register as a Sex Offender under PC 290 for up to 20 years as a Tier II offender.

V. Common Defenses


  1. Statute of Limitations
  2. Insufficient Evidence
  3. Consent
  4. Violation of your Rights
  5. Intoxication
  6. False Accusations
  7. Coerced Confessions

Actual consent to any sexual touching, or a reasonable belief by you that the alleged victim actually consented to any sexual touching, is a defense to sexual battery. This belief has to be reasonable, you cannot simply say a person was “giving you the eyes” or you just thought based on a text message you received, that you could touch the alleged victim. This uses a reasonable person standard to determine whether your belief was reasonable.

Another common issue is the accidental touching of another person. It can be common for most people who are in a crowded situation, be it a concert, or a bar, where you just naturally bump into people given the number of people present. However, if you accidentally bump into a person’s butt, that is not a Sexual Battery. Instead, it is needed that you did the touching intentionally and that it was for the purpose of sexual gratification or arousal in some way. If instead, the touching was that you were trying to move past another to use the restroom in a crowded bar, then this would be a defense to the allegations that you sexually battered another.

VI. Call Today


Most commonly, people are in the situation of being charged with this crime as a misdemeanor under PC 243.4. The other sections are more specific, and usually require some person unable to resist, or you physically restraining another in order to accomplish the sexual assault. However, even if it is a misdemeanor offense, it still would require Sex Registration for up to 10 years. Sex Registration, as many people have told me, is usually much closer to a death sentence than any time a person can do in jail. That is why having an experienced Sex Crimes Attorney on your side can help be the difference between getting your case reduced or dismissed, or having to register with local law enforcement every year on your birthday. That is a terrible birthday present for anyone to have. Our PC 243.4 Ontario attorney has successfully defended numerous cases and personally specializes in all Sex Crimes including PC 243.4. The initial consultation is free and we are available to answer your questions 24/7. Call the Inland Empire Criminal Defense today at 909-939-7126! Located in Ontario, CA.

Disclaimer: The legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor should it be considered the formation of a lawyer or attorney-client relationship. If you would like to find out more information about your particular legal matter, contact our office for a consultation.

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