Misdemeanor Sex Crimes in California

All crimes are classified into three categories: infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. A misdemeanor carries a lighter sentence and smaller fine than a felony and can potentially be cleared off a criminal record after some time. Although there are all different sex crimes, misdemeanor sex crimes are not as common as felonies. There are minor sexual offenses that almost always get ruled as misdemeanors. Let’s take a look at what is considered minor.

What Defines a Misdemeanor Sex Crime

If you find yourself in a situation of being accused of a sex crime, you’ll want to do as much research as you can to find out what rights you do and don’t have. When determining whether the charge is considered a misdemeanor or a felony, a judge will look at the type of behavior. Typically, if the crime was charged as sexual battery it can be ruled as a misdemeanor if penetration did not occur according to California Penal Code 243.4. Section (e) (1) of penal code 243.4 clearly states:

 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, is guilty of misdemeanor sexual battery, punishable by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding six months, or by both that fine and imprisonment.

Misdemeanor Sex Crimes

A good place to start your research is by reading through some penal codes. Here are a few charges and corresponding penal codes that might help in determining the severity of the crime:

·         Penal Code 647.6 Annoying or molesting a child

·         Penal Code 647(a) Lewd acts in public

·         Penal Code 314 Indecent exposure

·         Penal Code 288a(b)(2)

·         Penal Code 243.4 Sexual battery

·         Penal Code 647 Solicitation and prostitution crimes

·         Penal Code 288.4 Soliciting a minor

The final sentence will ultimately depend on the particular situation, but these penal codes could help get a felony sex crime diminished to a misdemeanor sex crime. A specialized sex crime defense attorney can decipher the particulars of your situation.

What is a Wobbler Crime?

The tricky part is that some behaviors can be labeled as wobblers. A wobbler is defined as a crime that can be charged either as a misdemeanor or a felony. What determines the final ruling is the circumstances of the crime. The relationship between the two people is a major factor in the ruling. For example, if an employer inappropriately touches an employee, that is a major offense or a minor offense depending on many factors.

One such wobbler crime is the solicitation of prostitution. This can be confusing, especially if the accused party did not realize they were conversing with a prostitute. This is where a sex crime defense attorney would be the best resource. An attorney in this field will know how to get the charges dropped or the sentence lessened.

What to Expect for a Misdemeanor Sex Crime

If you are found guilty of a misdemeanor sex crime, you can expect a few things as a result. A fine of no more than $2000 ($3000 if employer/employee relationship exists). This is in addition to, no more than six months in jail. There are times when both the fine and the imprisonment must be satisfied before the defendant can re-enter society. The judge may also decide that the charged individual must register on the sex-offender registry for 10 years, 20 years, or a lifetime (rare for a misdemeanor). A good sex crime attorney will help to keep you off that list if at all possible.


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