Types of Sex Crimes and How They’re Treated in a California Court

Sexual misconduct is a term used to describe various sexual behaviors that are illegal under California law. They include harassment for pay, child sexual abuse, sexual harassment, lewd exposure to assault, among others.

It is important to understand what is meant by sexual misconduct. This can help you recognize it in your daily life and avoid being falsely accused.

How California law defines sexual crimes

A sex crime is an act of touching a body part such as buttocks, genitals, breasts or anus without consent. The circumstances under which the contact took place and the type of contact also play a major role in determining whether or not a sexual offense has been committed.

For example, if you’re at a restaurant and a waiter accidentally touches your breasts as they pass by, that wouldn’t be a sex crime under California law. However, if another waiter deliberately reaches out to touch your breasts, it is a sexual offense.

A sex crimes attorney can help you understand the different types of sex crimes in California and how they are handled by the courts.

Crime Sex Offenses

Examples of sex offenses include deliberately stroking a stranger’s breasts without their consent and touching someone’s buttocks without their consent.

The penalty for such an offense not involving an unlawful restraint is six months in prison in addition to a fine of up to $2,000. The fine could be up to $3,000 if the suspect was the victim’s employer.

Criminal act

Examples of a crime include:

  • Have someone with an intellectual disability masturbate for you
  • Forcibly holding and kissing a person or taking their clothes off
  • A male doctor convincing a female patient to let her breasts be felt for their sexual arousal or satisfaction

These types of sex offenses carry different penalties. If filed as a misdemeanor, the accused could face up to one year in prison at a county jail and a fine of approximately $2,000. In the case of a felony, the defendant could face a prison term of up to four years and a fine of up to $10,000.

Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is a broad term that can mean a lot. The term is generally divided in two by California law.

Quid pro quo harassment

This usually occurs in a professional setting where a supervisor, directly or indirectly, forces a junior staff to submit to sexual cooperation to avoid being demoted or fired. For example, a manager may not ask a female employee to sleep with him to avoid getting fired.

Hostile work environment

This form of behavior does not necessarily involve any form of sexual advances. It usually manifests as sexual harassment. This is where individuals are discriminated against based on their gender. It may include using degrading comments about bodies, crude sexual jokes, or sexist remarks. Such actions are categorized as sexual harassment because they are sexual.

Child sexual abuse

Child abuse is taken very seriously in the state of California. As such, anyone found guilty of such crimes is subject to harsh punishment. Child sex offenses include the following:

  • Sodomy
  • Sex crimes on the Internet against minors
  • Voluptuous or lewd acts with a child
  • Oral copulation with a child
  • Continued sexual abuse of a child
  • Child prostitution
  • Kidnap a child to sexually abuse it
  • Child pornography

Limitation period for sexual assault claims in California

The deadline for filing a sexual assault case depends on whether the victim is a child or an adult. If the assault happened on or after the victim’s 18th birthday, they must report it within 10 years from the time of the incident. They must also apply within three years from when the victim discovers an illness or injury as a result of the sexual act.

Find legal representation

If you have been charged with a sex crime in California, contact an attorney immediately. A sex offense attorney provides legal support to clients and helps protect their rights during court proceedings.

Mark Scott

With a law degree under his belt, Mark Scott understood very early on that legal communications was a relatively neglected area. He decided to help people by ‘translating’ the language and offering information and advice in a clear, usable and useful way. For this reason, rather than finding him in court, you will most likely find his name online, where he is very active and thriving as a legal columnist. His part in making the world a better place is to make the law less of a maze. He wants to make it easier for people to understand when and how to seek legal advice, how to proceed in a significant number of legal cases, and to find the right resources to stand up for their rights.

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