What Constitutes as a Sex Crime in California?

  • Post last modified:July 9, 2024

Being charged and convicted of a sex crime in California can mean a long prison sentence and expensive fines, according to our sex crimes lawyers. These serious crimes are aggressively prosecuted in California, partly due to recent updates to sex crime laws.

Understand how Sex Crimes in California are Defined

Sex crimes cover a number of illegal sexual conducts and apply to both males and females who are arrested and tried for these types of charges. California has gone through some changes in recent years regarding how it not only defines sex crimes but how the guilty are prosecuted and sentenced. Almost always, being convicted of a sex crime in California means an extensive prison sentence and a requirement of registering as a sexual offender, which has far-reaching implications. Further, efforts have been successful in passing mandatory life sentences for sexual predators, and with each hurdle, this bill is one step closer to becoming a California law.

California’s laws provide clear definitions of how sexual crimes are defined.

Rape in California or forced intercourse, whether it’s through physical force or psychological force (fear, coercion, threats, etc.), is considered rape. While that is clear-cut, there are variations of how rape is defined and prosecuted. For instance, statutory rape is defined as rape with a victim who is younger than 18 years old, but older than 14 years old. Date rape is forcible sexual intercourse with an acquaintance during a voluntary date or meeting. Date rape is sometimes carried out with the addition of drugging the victim, usually through a drink. Spousal rape is also a sex crime in California. This type of rape occurs between spouses, despite one spouse refusing any advances and being forced into the act anyway.

Sexual Battery

In California, sexual battery is defined as intimate touching of another person who is unable to resist, whether that person is physically restrained or perhaps is being influenced by drugs and/or alcohol.

Other sexual crimes recognized by California include oral copulation, sodomy, or penetration by a foreign object. Internet pornography can also be illegal in California, provided certain elements are part of the pornographic element. Exploiting minors with images is one of those very serious elements of internet pornography, though not the only one.

Chelsea’s Law

In 2010, California lawmakers undertook a mission to further extend the prison sentences for those convicted of certain sex crimes, including sex crimes against a child. Lawmakers wanted to see lifetime prison sentences handed down when the victim of a sexual crime were children. The state Senate vote was unanimous. Chelsea’s Law was named after a teenage girl, Chelsea King was kidnapped, raped, and murdered by a registered sex offender who was out on parole. This case is why the stricter sentencing rules were put in place and were used to cement the argument of “once a rapist, always a rapist.”

Convicted Sex Offenders in California

If you have been convicted of a sex crime in California, you must register on the state’s Megan’s list, most likely for the entirety of your life. You also face receiving a life sentence in prison, and if not life, then an extended period. Fines and restitution are also likely, according to our criminal defense lawyers. Rape and other sexually based crimes are treated as a priority in California and for good reason.