Finding a Sexual Assault Lawyer in Los Angeles

Updated: Jan 21

Insights on sexual assault and abuse claims, and the payable damages.

Sexual assault is an attack on an individual that is sexual in nature, such as unwanted and offensive touching. The legal definition of sexual assault, on the other hand, varies widely from state to state. In some states, rape is associated with sexual assault, while others use words like criminal sexual penetration, sexual battery, or criminal sexual contact to describe the crime. These may lead to a slew of emotional and physical harm. A sexual assault case can be both a criminal case, and a personal injury claim.

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According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the number of people who have been raped or sexually assaulted has gradually risen over time. Rape or sexual assault claimed the lives of 300,165 people in 2013. That number was 393,979 in 2017.

Accusations of sexual assault vary from groping to battery to attempted rape. The terminology, structure, and scope of sexual assault offenses differ greatly across states, even though they share a few basic elements.

Coercion, force, or the victim's incapacitation may all be used by the perpetrator to commit sexual assault.

A victim is considered incapacitated by the statute if:

  1. They were either physically incapable of expressing themselves or displaying their inability to participate in sexual intercourse.

  2. They lacked the mental capacity to comprehend the sexual act's precise essence.

  3. Charges arising from the victim's incapacitation sometimes involve the use of date rape drugs or alcohol, rendering the victim incapable of giving legal consent.

In addition, several states' sexual assault laws have been expanded to cover partners. One of the following three strategies has been used to do this:

  1. Removing the spousal assault exemption

  2. Marriage as a defense to a sexual assault charge is being phased out

  3. Enacting different legislation banning your spouse from sexually abusing you

Non-consensual sexual interaction with people of any sex and age, not just between an adult woman and a man, is now protected by contemporary sexual harassment laws. In addition, many states use the word "sexual harassment" to refer to other crimes like unwanted sexual contact or rape. Other states differentiate between offenses involving penetration and those involving forced or coercive contact. The latter is a first-degree (aggravated) felony in this case, while the former is a lower-level offense.

Criminal Sexual Penetration or Rape

Suppose forced sexual intercourse is referred to as rape, sexual battery, criminal sexual penetration, or sexual assault in your state. In that case, it is typically referred to as sodomy or sexual penetration without consent. It may involve the use of aggression, terror, threats of violence, as well as the use of drugs and other intoxicants.

The following is a list of other applicable parts of the Penal Code that deal with sex crimes:

261(a)(2) PC – Harassment by intimidation

261(a)(3) PC – drug-assisted rape

261(a)(4) PC – Abuse of a person who is unconscious

261(a)(6) PC – Abuse with the threat of retaliation

262 (a)(1) PC – Spousal Rape

264.1 PC – Forcible rape while performing in front of an audience

PC – 266h(a) – Pimping

Soliciting a prostitute (section 266h(a) PC)

Sexual Battery and Criminal Sexual Contact

Most states have made it illegal to participate in sexual intercourse without the other person's consent, even though it does not include oral sex, sodomy, or penetration. When you enter an intimate part of another person's body (clothed or unclothed) without their permission for your sexual gratification or arousal, this is an example of sexual battery. Forcing others to access your private parts is also included.

The Factors That Affect Sentencing

Only after a jury finds the suspect guilty of sexual assault does the matter go before a court for sentencing. To assess a sentence, judges weigh a range of variables. Sexual assault sentences are commonly outlined in the criminal laws of the state where the offense occurred and typically included a minimum and maximum jail sentence, as well as probation, fines, and other penalties.

Set Sentencing Guidelines for Sexual Assault

Judges are in charge of deciding on sentences for sexual assault and other offenses. He or she must, however, abide by the United States Constitution and state rules. The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits judges from imposing unreasonable bail, imposing excessive sentences, or inflicting unusual and inhuman penalties for crimes committed. State and federal laws and constitutions expressly list sexual assault offenses. Furthermore, the provisions that describe sexual assault offenses also specify the necessary penalties.

Circumstances that are both mitigating and aggravating

Judges consider any mitigating and aggravating factors in the case before agreeing on the precise terms of the sentence. Any aspect of the case that could indicate the need for a harsher sentence, such as the seriousness of the offense or a defendant's criminal background, is referred to as aggravating factors. On the other hand, mitigating conditions favor a lighter sentence.

If a state's constitution specifies a set of possible penalties, judges typically weigh the mitigating and aggravating factors when deciding on a sentence. This helps them to determine where a criminal's sentence should fall on the prescribed penalty scale.

The most important factors that judges consider in a sexual assault case:

  • If the criminal is a repeat offender or a first-time offender

  • If the accused was the primary suspect or a co-conspirator

  • If the defendant was under a great deal of emotional duress or tension at the time the crime was committed.

  • The act's implications, such as pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.

  • If the offender was particularly cruel, vindictive, or destructive to the victim

The judge should consider whether the defendant is truly remorseful or contrite on occasion.

The Word of the Victim

The court must give your Los Angeles Attorney an opportunity to talk on your behalf under Federal Rule 32(a) of Criminal Procedure. The court will answer you by name and ask if you want to make a statement on your behalf or offer some evidence to lessen your sentence. Similar clauses can be found in most state procedural laws and statutes.

In certain states, the victim or survivor of a sexual assault crime will be given the opportunity to speak to the judge and recommend whether the sentence should be harsh or lenient. In any luck, the judge will consider the mitigating circumstances of your case and issue a light sentence. It is important to have a professional prosecutor on hand who is familiar with the state's sentencing laws and procedures.

Penalties for Sexual Assault

Sexual assault laws covering criminal sexual penetration and rape describe this act as a crime with severe consequences in many jurisdictions. Most states categorize rape offenses according to their seriousness. As a consequence, proceedings are based on the degree of force used, whether a lethal weapon was used, and whether the act caused physical harm. The potential sentences range from a year in prison to life in prison. Penalties are decided by the terms of sentencing laws and legislation of each jurisdiction.

When it comes to the duration of the sentence imposed, some states can give the judge some leeway. Others have simple sentencing statutes that the court must follow:

  • A mandatory minimum term to jail

  • A life term without the possibility of early release or probation

Criminal Sexual Battery and Sexual Contact Penalties

Sexual battery and sexual contact offenses that do not include any kind of penetration are not deemed as serious as criminal sexual penetration or rape, and therefore carry less severe sexual assault penalties and sentencing. Any criminal sexual contact committed with the threat of a weapon, by more than one person, or resulting in personal injury is considered a felony.

Criminal sexual intercourse involving coercion or intimidation without the use of a firearm is punishable as a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor conviction could result in a year in prison. However, not all crimes necessitate incarceration.

In addition to prison or jail sentences, penalties can be imposed.

If you are convicted of a sex crime, the state can order you to get treatment while you are in prison or jail or as a condition of your probation. The goal is to ensure that, in addition to your punishment, you are rehabilitated.

Both states have a sex offender identification program and laws requiring people convicted of sex crimes to register with their resident state's registry. Sexual assault suspects must meet a variety of criteria in order to register as sex offenders in each state. You will be asked to include your name, current address, and information about the crime you committed in order to register. All states have a sex offender website, and some or all of this information is made public.

State-by-State Differences in Sexual Assault Penalties

Per state has its own legislation about sexual assault, as well as various disciplinary schemes for those found guilty of sexual assault. If you commit a federal sexual assault offense, you will be subject to federal sentencing guidelines.

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Sexual assault, on the other hand, is classified as a Class D crime in New York. The judge has discretion when it comes to imposing a sentence at sentencing, but the statute limits his options to a narrow selection. In addition, in New York, sentences are indeterminate, which means that the judge is not required to set a specific definition. Instead, they can pick between the absolute minimum (one or two years) and the absolute limit (up to ten years) (seven years).

Sentencing for Sexual Assault under Federal Law

If sexual assault is committed in violation of state law, it is considered a federal crime. While certain offenses are punished in the states where they happened, any felony that violates federal law or regulations is tried in federal court. Some crimes begin at the state level but are elevated to the national level when factors (such as crossing state lines) are taken into account.

When deciding on a sentence, federal law allows judges to consider many factors, including the defendant's criminal background as well as their acknowledgment of guilt. Sexual assault is punishable by a maximum term of 20 years in prison under federal law. Fines are also included.

Furthermore, if you are convicted of a sexual assault charge under federal law, you must pay the victim for all costs directly related to the crime. Occupational or physical therapy, medical treatment, attorney's fees, and all other associated costs are included.

You will be placed on parole or probation after serving a federal prison term. Furthermore, sex offender registration is almost always required. Your state of residence may, however, require you to register with its program even if it does not apply in your case.

Involvement of the State and the Federal Government