Our sexual assault lawyers at Seyb Law Group are committed to protecting the rights of those accused of sexual assault in our community and we can help you reach the best possible outcome in your case, possibly getting your charges reduced to a lesser offense or minimizing the penalties resulting from a sexual assault conviction.
Sexual assault is a criminal offense of a sexual nature, and the abusive or forceful element of sexual assault, whether actual or perceived, makes it especially devastating to be accused or convicted of a sex crime.
Even an arrest or simple rumor of sexual assault can destroy your reputation among your friends, family, and community, and the penalties associated with an Orange County sexual assault conviction can be a lifelong sentence – first served in prison and then after prison as a registered sex offender.
Consult our experienced and aggressive sexual assault lawyer at Seyb Law Group today to discuss your legal options.
ORANGE COUNTY SEXUAL ASSAULT LAWYER
Sexual assault is a serious crime that is punished harshly in Orange County, and if you have been arrested for this sex crime, you’re probably thinking that the odds are against you.
Most people will immediately sympathize with a victim of sexual assault and that doesn’t bode well for you in court. However, it is important to understand that you still have rights and that includes the right to hire legal counsel to defend you against these charges.
If you have been arrested on sexual assault charges in Orange County, you need a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney on your side to protect your rights, challenge the prosecution’s case against you and help you navigate the complicated criminal court process.
With the help of our sexual assault lawyer, you may be able to get your sex crime charges reduced to a lesser offense with less severe penalties, or possibly even dismissed altogether.
Our lawyers at Seyb Law Group have more than 60 years of combined criminal defense experience and we believe in fighting for the rights of the criminally accused, especially in sex crimes cases.
We also offer potential clients a free initial consultation, so you can discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your criminal case with one of our experienced sexual assault defense lawyers, with no obligation to hire our firm. Contact our criminal defense lawyers today to find out how we can put our expertise to work for you.
SEXUAL ASSAULT/SEXUAL BATTERY
Sexual assault, or sexual battery, is the crime of touching another person without consent or against that person’s will, and on an intimate part of his or her body, for the purpose of sexual arousal or sexual gratification. In order for this type of act to constitute the crime of sexual assault, the act must have occurred as a result of:
- Duress, threats or menace
- Fear of bodily harm or retaliation
Furthermore, for the purposes of Orange County laws prohibiting sexual assault, a lack of consent can mean that the alleged victim was either:
- Not aware of the nature of the touching, either because he or she was unconscious or asleep
- Unable to give consent because of a physical or mental disability
- Intoxicated and therefore unable to give consent
It is important to note that even if you are in a relationship with the alleged victim, you can still be charged with and convicted of sexual assault if you touch the victim in an intimate way without consent or against his or her will. There are other Orange County sex crimes that are related to sexual assault, including rape, child molestation, sexual abuse, indecent exposure, pandering and prostitution, statutory rape and unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor.
California Sexual Assault Penal Code § 243.4 PC
Penal code § 243.4 PC is the law in Orange County that makes it a crime to “touch 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.” Laws against sexual assault and battery are strict and if you commit any of the following acts, you could be charged with a misdemeanor or felony sexual assault under PC § 243.4:
- Touching another person in an unlawful sexual manner while that person is restrained (PC 243.4(a))
- Touching a person who is medically disabled or institutionalized in an unlawful sexual manner (PC 243.4(b))
- Touching another person in an unlawful sexual manner under false pretenses (PC 243.4(c))
- Forcing another person to touch you or another person in an unlawful sexual manner (PC 243.4(d))
- Touching another person in an unlawful sexual manner without any of the aforementioned circumstances ((PC 243.4(e))
PENALTIES FOR A SEXUAL ASSAULT CONVICTION IN ORANGE COUNTY
The crime of sexual assault under PC § 243.4 is a wobbler offense, which means you can be charged with either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the specific facts of your case, such as the nature and severity of the sexual assault and the existence of any prior convictions on your criminal record.
For instance, if you have a previous felony conviction for sexual assault and you commit any act in violation of PC § 243.4 upon a minor, you will be charged with a felony offense.
If you are convicted of misdemeanor sexual assault under PC 243.4(a) to PC 243.4(d), you could face up to one year in county jail and/or up-to $2,000 in fines, plus other possible penalties. If you are convicted of misdemeanor sexual assault under (PC 243.4(e), you could face up to six months in county jail and/or up-to $2,000 in fines.
However, if you are an Orange County employer and your alleged victim was an employee of yours, the associated fine could be increased to $3,000. If you are convicted of felony sexual assault, you could be sentenced to serve a term in state prison for two, three or four years and/or ordered to pay up to $10,000 in fines.
Orange County Sex Offender Registration Requirements
Orange County sex offender laws were established as a means of keeping track of defendants convicted of sex crimes, even after they have fully served the sentences imposed upon them by the court for their crimes.
Pursuant to Penal Code § 290 PC, defendants convicted of sexual assault and other sex crimes are required to register as sex offenders with the local authorities for a minimum of ten years or for life, depending on the circumstances of the case.
If you are subjected to lifetime sex offender registration because of a sexual assault conviction, your registration must be renewed every five years or any time you move to a new residence. And failure to follow sex offender registration requirements is in itself a criminal offense that can result in a lengthy prison sentence.
California’s “Three Strikes” Sentencing Law
The state of California has a “Three Strikes” sentencing law in effect that establishes harsh prison sentences for habitual felony offenders. Under this law, a defendant with one serious or violent felony on his record – known as a “strike” prior – could face double the prison sentence otherwise required by law for a new felony sexual assault conviction.
A defendant with two or more “strike” priors who is convicted of a new felony sexual assault offense could face an automatic prison sentence of 25 years to life.
ORANGE COUNTY SEXUAL ASSAULT DEFENSE
Because of the wide-reaching nature of the laws against sexual assault, rape, and other sex crimes in Orange County, you could find yourself facing charges for sexual assault without even realizing you committed a crime.
And with the strong social views regarding sex crimes like sexual assault, you could face unfair judgment and harsh treatment before you are even tried or found guilty of any wrongdoing, which is just another reason why seeking qualified legal counsel in a sexual assault case is imperative.
Once you have hired our sexual assault defense attorneys, we will immediately begin reviewing the facts of your case to evaluate the prosecution’s evidence against you and develop a strong defense strategy to dispute the prosecution’s version of events.
As in any criminal case, the prosecution bears the burden of proof in a sexual assault case. That means that in order to find you guilty of sexual assault, the prosecutor must prove the following “elements” of the sex crime beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You touched an intimate part of another person;
- The touching was done against his or her will; and
- The touching was done for the specific purpose of sexual arousal, abuse or gratification.
Best Defense Strategies in Orange County Sexual Assault Cases
As with any sex crime case, the stakes are high in an Orange County sexual assault case. Given the abusive nature of the crime of sexual assault, the police and the prosecutor’s office will do everything in their power to obtain a conviction and impose harsh penalties that could affect the rest of your life, ruining your reputation and forcing you to register as a sex offender.
Fortunately, there are a number of legal defenses your attorney can use to challenge sexual assault charges and create reasonable doubt in the minds of the judge and the jury that you are guilty of the crime. Some common defense strategies in Orange County sexual assault cases include the following:
- False accusation – The alleged victim has falsely accused you of sexual assault
- Consent – The touching was consensual, or you had a reasonable belief that the touching was consensual
- Insufficient evidence – There is not enough evidence to prove that you committed the crime
- Mistaken identity – You have been mistakenly identified as the person who committed the sexual assault
HOW HIRING A SEXUAL ASSAULT DEFENSE ATTORNEY CAN HELP
The Orange County courts take sex crimes like sexual assault very seriously and from the moment you are arrested for sexual assault, you will be fighting an uphill battle to prove your innocence.
After all, if the alleged victim of sexual assault says that it was you who committed the crime, convincing the jury otherwise will be extremely difficult.
However, that does not mean you should just give up and accept the consequences of a sexual assault conviction. On the contrary, you should hire a criminal defense attorney who will ensure that you understand the charges against you and aggressively represent you in court.
The unfortunate truth is that, because sexual assault allegations do not require a physical injury, it is relatively easy for someone to make false accusations of assault, either out of jealousy, revenge, or anger, or to gain the upper hand in a divorce or child custody dispute.
Any time you are facing charges for a serious sex crime like sexual assault, you need an attorney in your corner who has a clear understanding of the Orange County criminal justice system and who can ensure that you receive a fair trial. But don’t leave your future and your freedom up to just any attorney.
Your first course of action following a sexual assault arrest should be to hire a criminal defense attorney with extensive experience defending and winning sexual assault cases in Orange County.
CONTACT OUR SKILLED SEXUAL ASSAULT DEFENSE ATTORNEYS TODAY
The penalties associated with a sexual assault conviction in Orange County extend far beyond fines and a jail sentence. If you are found guilty of sexual assault, you may suffer long-lasting consequences that could adversely impact every aspect of your personal and professional life, including your future employment opportunities, voting rights, government benefits, and immigration status.
Additionally, a sexual assault conviction that comes with a sex offender registration requirement could affect where you can live and destroy your reputation in the community.
Our criminal defense lawyers at Seyb Law Group understand how severely a sexual assault conviction can affect you and your family, and we are prepared to use every resource at our disposal to help you avoid a conviction.