Los Angeles Sexual Assault Defense Attorney

Ambrosio RodriguezHave you recently been arrested on sexual assault charges in Los Angeles, CA? You need to defend yourself aggressively in order to protect yourself and your future. The best course of action is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to handle your case.

At the Rodriguez Law Group, our team not only has decades of combined experience, but it is led by a former prosecutor. During his time as a Senior Deputy District Attorney, Ambrosio Rodriguez led Riverside County’s Sexual Assault/Child Abuse Unit. That gives him a unique perspective on sexual assault cases. You can directly benefit from his experience, insight, and knowledge by calling the Rodriguez Law Group for help with your defense today.

We offer a free consultation, so don’t hesitate to reach out to our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys to schedule one today. Our team will gladly review your case, explain your rights, and offer some preliminary advice to you during this stressful time.

What is Sexual Assault?

In California, sexual assault is sometimes also known as sexual battery. The crime can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the factors that are involved.

Misdemeanor Sexual Assault

Under California Penal Code Section 243.4(e)(1) PC, misdemeanor sexual assault is defined as “touching an intimate part of another person” against their will “for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse.”

Put another way, misdemeanor sexual assault involves making sexual contact with another person without their consent in a sexually motivated way.

Felony Sexual Assault

Under 243.4 PC, felony sexual assault is the same as misdemeanor sexual assault, except that the crime must involve unwanted sexual contact with another person while they’re “unlawfully restrained by the accused or an accomplice.”

Whether or not you’ll face misdemeanor or felony charges will ultimately hinge on whether the alleged victim was forcibly and unlawfully restrained at the time of the attack.

Breaking Down the Crime of Sexual Assault in California

Just because you’re accused of sexual assault in Los Angeles doesn’t mean that your life is over. Remember, the state has to prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In order to do this, prosecutors have to prove every element of the crime. Here’s a look at what the state has to prove in a criminal sexual assault case.

Touching: Sexual assault requires that you touch another person. Touching, in this context, means any contact between you and the other person. It doesn’t have to be direct or skin-on-skin. It can include touching that’s accomplished over clothing.

Intimate Part: You must have touched someone else’s “intimate part” to be guilty of sexual assault. In California, this is defined to include “a female’s breast or the anus, groin, sexual organ, or buttocks of anyone.”

Against the Person’s Will: When two people agree to engage in sexual conduct together, it’s typically not a crime. That changes the moment one person does not consent. In order for sexual contact to be consensual, the person must “act freely and voluntarily and know the nature of the act.” Consent can be revoked at any time. Once consent is revoked, sexual contact is against that person’s will.

Unlawfully Restrained: If you face felony charges, the state must prove that the victim was unlawfully restrained at the time of the sexual contact. Restraint means that a person is not free to exercise his or her own free will or liberty. Restraint doesn’t have to be physical. The use of force or threats can be enough to restrain someone.

What is Aggravated Sexual Assault in Los Angeles?

There are times when the crime of sexual assault can be aggravated – meaning that the circumstances warrant harsher penalties. You can face charges for an aggravated count of sexual assault if:

  • The victim was institutionalized for medical treatment at a hospital or nursing home;
  • The victim was seriously disabled, meaning that they have a severe physical or sensory disability;
  • The victim was mentally incapacitated;
  • You abused a professional role and falsely represented the intimate contact as necessary; or
  • You forced the victim to touch or masturbate another person.

Aggravated sexual assault is felony sexual assault, but subject to longer terms of imprisonment and other penalties.

What Are the Penalties for Sexual Assault in Los Angeles?

Like all sex crimes in California, a conviction for sexual assault carries incredibly harsh penalties. Ultimately, a lot of different factors can influence the possible consequences – including the specific charge, whether the victim suffered serious injury or death, and your own criminal record.

Misdemeanor Sexual Assault

A misdemeanor sexual assault conviction in Los Angeles can be punishable by any or all of the following:

  • Between 6 and 12 months in a Los Angeles County jail
  • Up to $3,000 in fines, and
  • 5 years of informal probation.

This offense also requires registration as a tier one sex offender in the state of California. As a tier one offender, you will be required to register for a minimum of 10 years.

Felony Sexual Assault

A felony sexual assault conviction in Los Angeles can be punishable by any or all of the following:

  • Imprisonment for up to four years in a California state penitentiary
  • Up to $10,000 in fines, and
  • Formal probation.

As a felony, sexual assault is a tier three sex offense. As a tier three offender, you’ll be required to register as a sex offender with the state for life.

Aggravated Sexual Assault

If a crime of sexual assault involves any aggravating factors, you can face additional jail time and penalties. For instance, if the victim sustains significant bodily injury, an additional three to five years could be tacked onto your prison sentence. The additional penalties will depend on the specifics of each individual case.

Collateral Consequences

A sexual assault charge can turn your life upside down. Even after you’ve served your time, you can still face collateral consequences because of your conviction. Consequences can include:

  • Family law issues, including restraining orders and the loss of child custody and/or visitation rights
  • The loss of your job or professional licenses
  • Difficulty finding a home to rent or buy
  • Difficulty securing personal or business loans
  • Loss of certain government benefits and privileges, and
  • Liability in a separate personal injury lawsuit.

The best way to avoid any of these things is by making sure that you put forward the strongest sex crime defense possible. Call the Rodriguez Law Group to find out how we might be able to help today.

Defending Sexual Assault Charges in Los Angeles, CA

You have the right to defend yourself if you are facing criminal sexual assault charges in Los Angeles. Keep in mind that the state will use whatever resources it has at its disposal to get you to take a plea or convict. When you hire the Rodriguez Law Group, our attorneys will do the same in your defense.

Our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys will carefully investigate your alleged crime, interview witnesses, gather and review evidence, and analyze anything recovered from the state during discovery. We’ll bring in experts to help us identify the best defense strategies. We’ll argue anything that can help to explain, excuse, or justify your alleged actions. This might include:

  • You have been falsely accused
  • You have been mistakenly identified by the victim
  • You reasonably believed that you had the victim’s consent
  • You did not unlawfully restrain the victim
  • You did not touch the victim
  • You did not touch any of the victim’s intimate parts, or
  • Your rights have been violated in some way.

Part of our defense strategy will focus on finding weaknesses in the state’s case against you. We’ll carefully scrutinize how your case has been handled from start to finish. Our goal will be to identify any indicators that your rights have been violated – such as an unlawful arrest or illegal search and seizure. If we find evidence of a violation, we will immediately petition the court to exclude evidence or, better yet, drop the charges against you.

We will fight tirelessly on your behalf, challenging the prosecution each step of the way. Our goal is to make it as difficult as possible for them to build a persuasive case against you.

Our Los Angeles Sexual Assault Attorneys Are Here to Help

Have you or a loved one been arrested for sexual assault in Southern California? Remember, anything that you say can be used against you. So, simply explain that you’d like to speak with an attorney and then invoke your right to remain silent. When you’re able to, call the Rodriguez Law Group and have our Los Angeles sex crimes defense attorneys take charge.

We’ll handle all communication with detectives and prosecutors, provide guidance and clarification along the way, and do everything we can to minimize the consequences of your arrest. Our team will work diligently to protect your future. All you have to do is give our Los Angeles law office a call to schedule a free initial case assessment to get started.