In California, sex crimes are serious offenses whose penalties go beyond the jail sentence, fines, and probation. There are other serious consequences for some of these crimes, like mandatory sex offender registration for a lifetime. In addition, sex offender registration can significantly affect your personal and professional life. Therefore, if you or your loved one faces an arrest and are currently being investigated for a sex crime, speaking to an experienced criminal defense attorney is crucial.

Seeking legal guidance immediately after an arrest can make a difference between spending a long time in jail and walking free from the charges. Your attorney will guide you on the steps to take to avoid self-incrimination and other mistakes that could make your situation worse.

At California Criminal Lawyer Group, we offer legal guidance and representation for all our clients to help you fight your charges and avoid the harsh consequences that accompany a conviction for these offenses. We serve clients throughout Anaheim, CA, to ensure the best outcome in your case.

Some of the types of sex crimes prosecuted under the California Penal Code include:


Under California criminal law, rape is the use of force, threats, or fear to have non-consensual sexual intercourse. Before you are convicted for rape, the prosecution must prove the following factors beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • You engaged in the act of sexual intercourse with another person. You could not be convicted for rape unless there was actual penetration. Also, it is crucial to understand that ejaculation is not required to constitute the crime.
  • You were not married to the alleged victim at the time when you committed the act. 
  • You acted with consent from the other person. Consent is a critical element in a rape case. You will only be found guilty of violating CPC 261 if the alleged victim did not consent to the act. Also, it is crucial to understand that minors and individuals who are mentally challenged cannot legally consent to any form of sexual contact.
  • You accomplished the act using force, threats, or fraud. The prosecutor must establish that you accomplished the act by threatening to cause harm to the alleged victims or using violence.

In California, rape is a felony, and a conviction is punishable by an eight-year prison sentence and felony probation. If you caused serious bodily injury to the alleged victim, you could face a three to five-year additional sentence. In addition to the jail sentence, a conviction for rape requires that you register as a sex offender. If you are an immigrant facing rape charges, you risk deportation or being rendered inadmissible.

Spousal Rape

It is a crime to have sexual intercourse with your spouse without their consent. Spousal rape is a serious offense that falls under the category of both rape laws and domestic violence. Under CPC 262, rape occurs in marriage when one partner accomplishes the act without the other person's consent either:

  • The defendant used violence, force, or fear of bodily injury.
  • The alleged victim could not resist due to medication, drugs, or intoxication.
  • The victim was unconscious or mentally unable to resist the act.
  • The abuser made the victim believe that they were in a position of power, and failure to agree to the act would have legal consequences.

Violation of Penal Code 262 is a felony, and a conviction attracts a prison sentence of up to eight years and a fine not exceeding $10,000. Also, you may be required to register as a sex offender under CPC 290. It is not uncommon for a marital rape case to be based on false accusations. Therefore, retaining a competent defense attorney throughout your case is vital in fighting the charges.

Lewd Conduct with a Minor

You commit a crime of lewd conduct with a child when you touch a part of the child's body or cause the child to touch you with intent for sensual arousal. You will only be charged with violation of PC 288 if the victim of your acts was fifteen years or younger. Before you face a conviction under this statute, the prosecution must prove that:

  • You touched a part of the minor's body. Any contact with a child's skin or through the clothes will satisfy the elements of lewd conduct with a minor.
  • You acted willfully. A willful act is done intentionally. A prosecutor does not need to prove your intent to break the law.
  • You acted intending to arouse yourself or the child. Before you are convicted for lewd conduct with a child, your intention for sexual arousal must be clear. Also, it should be clear that the alleged victim was a minor. 

The penalty for lewd conduct with a minor varies depending on the age of the alleged victim. If the victim were below fourteen years, you would be charged with a felony, and your conviction will be a strike under California Three Strikes Law. When you are convicted for felony violation of CPC 288, you will face a jail sentence of up to eight years.

For victims between fourteen and fifteen years, the crime is treated as a wobbler. When charged as a felony, the offense is punishable by up to three years in jail, while a misdemeanor attracts a one-year jail sentence. If the alleged victim was sixteen or seventeen years at the time you acted, you might be charged with statuary rape instead of lewd conduct with a minor.

Whether you face misdemeanor or felony charges, a conviction for lewd conduct with a minor is accompanied by mandatory sex offender registration.

Sexual Battery

Sexual battery is a crime that occurs when you overpower another person or touch their intimate part with the intent of sexual gratification. Sexual penetration is not necessary for you to be charged with sexual battery. The elements that a prosecutor must prove to establish your guilt for sexual battery include:

  • You touched another person's intimate part. Touching another person means that you have contact with them. Contact can be accomplished directly, through clothing or using another object. For your actions to constitute a sexual battery, you must have touched another person's sexual organ, groins, or buttocks.
  • You touched the alleged victim against their will. You violate sexual battery law when you touch another person's intimate part without their consent. A person can only give their consent if they understand the nature of the act to which they are consenting.
  • You acted with the intent of sexual gratification. You can only be found guilty of sexual battery if you touched another person to aid sexual gratification, arousal, or sexual abuse.

Under CPC 243.4, more aggravated forms of sexual battery occur under the following circumstances:

  • When the victim is restrained unlawfully by the defendant or another person
  • The victim is institutionalized for serious disability or a medical condition
  • The victim does not understand the nature of the crime since the perpetrator fraudulently presented the touching
  • The victim is forced to touch another person for sexual gratification 

Violation of PC 243.3 in the basic form is charged as a misdemeanor. In addition, you commit a sexual battery misdemeanor for touching another person against their will without any aggravating factors. A conviction for a misdemeanor attracts a six months jail sentence, informal probation, and a fine of up to $3,000.

When the above aggravating factors apply to your case, you will be charged with a felony whose conviction is punishable by felony probation, a $10,000 fine, and registration as a tier three sex offender for life. In addition, if you are convicted of sexual battery of an individual receiving treatment in an institution, you may be subject to tier one sex offender registration.

Solicitation of a Prostitute

PC 647(b) of California makes it a crime to pay or accept money or something g of value in exchange for a sexual act. This section of California law criminalizes the following acts:

  • Engaging in the act of prostitution. You engage in prostitution if you willfully engage in lewd conduct or sexual intercourse with another person in exchange for compensation.
  • Soliciting a prostitute. In California, you solicit prostitution when you request another person to engage in a sexual act with you with a promise of payment.
  • Agreeing to engage in prostitution. CPC 647(b) seeks to punish both the prostitute and the client. Therefore, accepting money in exchange for sexual favor could attract criminal charges.

When you face charges for solicitation of prostitution, it is not necessary that the parties shared the same intent. Therefore, the prosecution could bring charges against one individual or both parties. Punishment for solicitation of prostitution is punishable by a six months jail sentence and a $1,000 fine for a first offender.

Prostitution is a priorable offense, and with each repeat offense, you will face harsher penalties. Also, your charges may be aggravated for soliciting or prostituting in a vehicle.

Possession of Child Pornography

In the United States, possession of child pornography is one of the most serious offenses. Also, you can face far worse penalties if you engaged in a sexual act with a child and recorded it with an intent to distribute. In California, sex offenses involving minors are as serious as crimes such as murder or drug crimes. The aspect of possession of child pornography is one of the many crimes related to child pornography. Both state and federal laws seek to prosecute individuals facing charges of possession of child pornography.

Child pornography is any material showing sexual conduct by an individual below the age of eighteen years. You will be found guilty of possession of child pornography if you act knowingly and know the nature of the content. It is crucial to understand that you can be charged with child pornography even when you did not intend to distribute the materials. A conviction for violating CPC 311.1 is a misdemeanor punishable by a one-year jail sentence and a $1,000 fine.

Indecent Exposure

Indecent exposure is a deliberate exhibition of a person's private parts in a public area and in front of other people. The elements of the crime that are specific to indecent exposure include:

  • You exposed your private parts. For this statue, private parts include the genitals, buttocks, and female nipples. However, it is crucial to understand that breastfeeding mothers are exempt from prosecution for exposing their breasts in public.
  • You exposed your private parts intentionally. You cannot be convicted for indecent exposure if you accidentally exposed yourself. The prosecutor must prove that you acted willfully.
  • You exposed yourself for sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or offending another person. In some states, you can be charged with indecent exposure regardless of your intentions. However, you can only be found guilty of violating CPC 314 if you acted with a specific intent for arousal or gratification. Since your motivation for the exposure must be clear, it is difficult for the prosecution to establish this element during the trial.
  • Exposure took place in a public area and the presence of other people. You would be guilty of indecent exposure if you exhibited your private parts in a public area.

Mostly, indecent exposure is charged as a misdemeanor. However, exposure that occurs after you enter an inhabited area may be considered a felony. Also, subsequent offenses for this crime are charged as felonies. A conviction for felony indecent exposure will attract a three-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $10,000. Additionally, you will be required to register as a sex offender.

Oral Copulation by Force

Oral copulation by force or fear is the non-consensual contact between one person's mouth with another individual's genitals or anus. Oral copulation by fear is a sex crime charged under Penal Code 288(a). You will only be convicted under PC 288(a), the prosecution must prove these elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • You created contact between the mouth and genitals of another person
  • You engaged in the act of oral copulation without the other person's consent
  • You employed force, coercion, or violence to retaliate against the victim

You can also face charged for non-consensual oral copulation if you engaged in the act with an unconscious person, an intoxicated person, or one that is not capable of consent. Oral copulation by force is a felony punishable by a prison sentence of up to eight years and a $10 0000 fine. Sometimes, the court may subject you to formal probation as an alternative for jail time.

Sex Offender Registration in California

In addition to jail time and fines that accompany a conviction for a sex crime, the court may require you to register as a sex offender. Sex offender registration is one of the harshest consequences you can face for a sex-related offense in California. Moreover, according to California sex offender law, you may be required to register even when you are convicted in another state.

The sex offender registry is accessible to the public and may appear on your background check. However, if you are a sex offender, you may miss out on job applications or other opportunists due to the social stigma associated with the sex offender status. Some of the penalties you may face for failure to register as a sex offender in California include:

  • A one-year jail sentence if you were convicted for a misdemeanor sex offense
  • A prison sentence not exceeding three years if you failed to register as a sex offender after a felony conviction

Failure to register as a sex offender as mandated by the court is a crime. In California, failure to register as a sex offender can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the underlying sex crime you were convicted of. 

Defenses against Sex Crimes in California

Sex offenses are considered to be serious crimes under California criminal law. If you or your loved one faces charges for one of these crimes, it would be helpful to retain a skilled defense lawyer throughout the case. Even though the charges are serious, your attorney could be able to negotiate a plea deal, seek a reduction of your sentence or have your charges dismissed. Some of the common defenses you can employ to a sex crime charge include:

Victim Consent

One of the critical elements that a prosecutor must establish in a sex crime case is lack of consent. In cases where the alleged victim is not a minor or incapable of consent, it must be clear that they did not consent to the act before you face a conviction. However, establishing consent or lack of consent can be challenging from the legal perspective. Also, refuting a lack of consent can be controversial since most sex offense cases are based on the victim and defendant's testimony.

If the alleged victim consented to the sexual act or you reasonably believe that they did, you can use it to defend your case. `

Lack of Sufficient Evidence to Support the Charge

When you face criminal charges for a sex crime in California, the burden of proof lies on the prosecution. The prosecutor must prove different elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt before you can be convicted. Most cases of sex crimes are based on the testimony of the witness. Especially in cases where there are no witnesses, it may not be clear that you committed the crime. 

Your defense attorney may question the evidence presented by the prosecutor to create a reasonable doubt and give you a chance to fight the charges.

False Accusations

Accusations for a sex crime are often very serious, and a conviction may turn your life upside down. Unfortunately, however, false accusations are a common occurrence for these types of cases. There are several reasons why a person could bring false accusations of sex crimes against you. Sometimes, when you misunderstand someone based on the aspects of your relationship, they may try to exact revenge against you by bringing false sex crime accusations.

During bitter child custody battles, it is not uncommon for one of the parents to falsely accuse the other of unlawful sexual behavior. Unfortunately, such an accusation may ruin a parent's chances of receiving custody and visitation rights.

Many people who face false accusations assume that the mistake will automatically be corrected during the trial. However, this is not always a good idea, and it could make the situation worse. Therefore, if you or your loved one faces charges for a sex crime based on false accusations, it is paramount to start working with your attorney as soon as possible to smooth out the situation.

Mistaken Identity

Most sex crimes often happen in secluded places or the dark, and it can be difficult for a witness to point out the perpetrator correctly. Also, the victim may be too scared and distraught, leading to false identification. If you believe that you are a victim of mistaken identity, your attorney will help you uncover the facts of the case to clear your name and avoid the consequences that accompany a conviction.

Lack of Actual Sexual Contact 

For each sex crime, specific elements must be present to establish your guilt for the offense. For example, you could not be convicted for some of these crimes if no actual sexual contact with the alleged victim. Therefore, this can be a valid defense for your case.

Find a Anaheim Criminal Attorney near Me

Under California law, sex crimes are offenses involving sexual activity. Depending on the nature of the crime and circumstances, sex crimes are charged as misdemeanors or felonies. Due to their violent nature, sex crimes are serious offenses, and a conviction will attract serious penalties.

A false accusation of a sex crime could be devastating for you and your family. Facing a conviction for one of these crimes could be life-changing given the serious legal consequences and the social stigma attached to sex crime charges. If you are successfully prosecuted for one of the many sex crimes addressed under the California Penal Code, your relationships and educational pursuits could be compromised. Fortunately, many sex crime charges are based on victim testimony which is not always correct, and you have a chance to fight the charges. When you or your loved one faces criminal charges for a sex crime, it is crucial to consult a competent criminal defense attorney.

If you are battling criminal charges for a Sex Crime in Anaheim, CA, we invite you to contact California Criminal Lawyer Group for some legal insight into your case. Contact us today at 714-766-0965