A conviction of a sex crime, including sexual battery or sexual assault, may have serious, long-term effects on a defendant’s life. In the short term, these may include incarceration, fines, and other penalties. In the long term, it may involve life as a convicted felon or a registered sex offender, as well as all of the complications that accompany such an undesirable status. San Bernardino and Riverside sexual assault attorney Gregory H. Comings has represented people accused of this crime for more than 10 years. As a sex crime lawyer, he also represents clients against charges of possessing child pornography and solicitation of prostitution, among others.
The State of California takes the commission of a sex crime very seriously, imposing serious consequences. Even a misdemeanor offender may be sentenced to up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000 (or up to $3,000 if the victim was in the defendant’s employment at the time of the unwanted touching). Misdemeanor sexual assault or battery is generally defined as a sexual touching that is both unwanted by and offensive to the victim. Sexual groping, such as touching a female’s breast over her clothing, would likely be classified as misdemeanor sexual assault, if the act was done for the defendant’s sexual pleasure or gratification. By contrast, accidentally touching a man’s groin area while reaching in front of him to push an elevator button would not be considered a crime. Even though the touching was unwanted and potentially offensive, the offender lacked the requisite criminal intent of sexual gratification.
As the defendant’s actions become more offensive and potentially more injurious, the penalties for sexual assault increase. Felony sexual assault cases result in even more time behind bars and higher fines. Elements of the crime of felony sexual assault include a touching of the victim’s intimate parts against the victim’s will for the intent of sexual gratification, arousal, or abuse, while the victim was physically restrained by the defendant or a third person. The State has the burden of proving each element beyond a reasonable doubt, and a sexual assault lawyer in Riverside or San Bernardino can fiercely protect a defendant’s rights.
A defendant has a constitutional right to hire an attorney to mount a defense against the charges brought by the State. Experienced attorney Gregory H. Comings applies his courtroom experience and understanding of the law to the evidence in each case that he accepts. Depending upon the circumstances of the crime with which the defendant is charged, it may be possible to get a sex crime case dismissed or have the charges reduced if the defendant has a legitimate defense.
For example, consent is a possible defense in sexual assault cases because consent negates the “against the victim’s will” element of the crime. Of course, consent may be a difficult and controversial defense in many cases. Depending upon the alleged victim’s age, mental ability, and capacity to give effective consent, such a defense may or may not be appropriate in a given case. If a defendant claims actual innocence as a defense, this should be accompanied by not only an alibi but also other credible evidence showing that the defendant was in the victim’s presence at the time of the alleged crime. In some cases, a defendant may also assert a constitutional defense, such as an improper search or seizure of evidence. Under the “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine, illegally obtained evidence is inadmissible at trial.
Serious criminal charges like sexual battery require serious legal representation. Seasoned San Bernardino and Riverside sexual assault lawyer Gregory H. Comings can work with you to pursue a favorable resolution to your case. For an initial consultation, call 951-686-3457 or contact us online as soon as possible. Our office has Spanish language interpretation available, and we also can assist people who need a domestic violence attorney or help with fighting charges of drug crimes or white collar crimes.