Feb 22, 2023
Sexual violence – whether in the form of sexual abuse, sexual assault, sexual battery, or even sexual harassment – can have long-term and devastating effects on survivors. Unfortunately, five years after the #MeToo Movement first made headlines, sexual violence continues to be a widespread issue in the United States.
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), approximately 81% of women and 43% of men nationwide report experiencing some form of sexual harassment and/or assault within their lifetimes. Those are staggering figures that highlight how much progress remains in the fight to eradicate all forms of sexual violence at the national level.
Two of the most common types of sexual violence include sexual assault and sexual battery. Let’s look at how California law distinguishes between the two forms of sexual violence in the sections below. Additionally, we’ll review how to file a civil claim for financial compensation and discuss what the legal process might entail.
California Penal Code 243.4 codifies how sexual assault and sexual battery are defined under the law. Although sexual assault and sexual battery offenses can be subject to the same charges, the actual crime can occur under various scenarios:
While some states treat sexual assault and sexual battery as different offenses, California essentially views any act of “touching one’s intimate parts” without consent as the same crime. In other words, California law considers sexual assault and sexual battery to be the same offense.
However, depending on the facts related to the crime that was committed, the charges as well as the penalties can vary. For example, sexual battery can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor depending on whether certain acts were performed. Examples include unlawful restraint or touching of a victim’s bare skin.
For sexual battery misdemeanor in California, the criminal penalties may include:
For sexual battery felony in California, the criminal penalties may include:
Rape is a form of sexual violence that is perhaps much more prevalent than the general public realizes. In fact, the NSVRC confirms that one in five women in the United States experienced either completed or attempted rape during their lifetime (with one in three of those victims enduring that specific form of sexual violence for the first time between the ages of 11 and 17).
Under California law, rape is defined as an act of sexual intercourse committed without the victim’s legal consent. Accordingly, rape is always charged as a felony, while various types of sexual battery may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Therefore, rape is technically considered a serious type of sexual assault under California law.
Sexual assault survivors in California have rights under the law. In addition to any criminal charges that may be filed by the District Attorney’s Office, survivors of sex crimes have the option to file separate civil claims seeking damages awards. Regardless of whether or not your perpetrator is ever charged with a criminal offense, you may be eligible to recover a cash settlement through a civil lawsuit with Dordulian Law Group (DLG).
A successful civil claim can help ensure that a survivor recovers compensation for the harm endured as a result of a sexual assault. Examples of damages that are commonly awarded in sexual assault civil claims include:
Under the recently passed California Assembly Bill 2777 (AB 2777), adult survivors of sexual assault now have a three-year window to file civil claims against perpetrators (through December of 2026). AB 2777 pauses the statute of limitations which would otherwise bar such sexual assault claims, affording survivors a limited opportunity at justice for crimes which may have occurred years ago.
DLG is immediately accepting clients with claims under AB 2777. If you’ve been victimized through an act of sexual assault or battery, we are here to believe you, to support you, and to fight tirelessly to secure the justice you deserve.
To learn more about how California AB 2777 can help you get justice for a past sexual assault, please visit our recent blog.
DLG is a full-service sexual assault firm dedicated to helping survivors secure justice. Founded by a former sex crimes prosecutor and Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County – Sam Dordulian – DLG offers clients a unique brand of all-encompassing legal representation.
Through our four-tiered SAJE Team (Sexual Assault Justice Experts), clients have 24/7 access to a full support network in addition to the very best legal representation available:
At DLG, we are fully committed to supporting every single survivor throughout the litigation process while fighting to get due justice for a sexual assault. And our results speak for themselves, with outstanding reviews and a number of recent multi-million dollar victories, including:
If you’ve been victimized by a sexual predator, DLG’s SAJE Team is here to help. We’ll fight aggressively on your behalf to ensure that the perpetrator is held accountable and you secure justice. Contact us today at 818-322-4056 for a free, confidential, and obligation free consultation with one of our dedicated sexual assault lawyers. We are available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have about the litigation process (including how long it may take to reach a settlement and how much your overall claim may be worth).
DLG’s No Win/No Fee Guarantee means we never charge a penny upfront. You pay nothing for our expert legal services until after we’ve successfully recovered a maximum financial damages award for your sexual assault case.
Our law firm in Glendale, CA advocates for victims of sexual assault, injury, employment disputes, and personal injury concerns.