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What constitutes sexual assault in California?

The state of California has specific laws that govern instances in which a person is accused of committing sexual assault. Specifically outlawed are acts that involve the non-consensual touching of another person's intimate parts. Under California law, "intimate parts" include a person's anus, groin, sexual organs, buttocks and breasts."

If you've been charged with sexual assault, you will not be found guilty of the crime unless the prosecution proves you to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In order to prove guilt, the prosecution must establish that:

-- The touching of another person's intimate areas happened while the person was restrained. The contact happened directly with the skin, or it happened while the victim was clothed.

-- The touching was not consensual. In other words, the victim did not allow it to happen and it was against his or her will.

-- The touching was intentional to achieve sexual arousal, sexual gratification or sexual abuse.

When a doctor is accused of sexual assault, the charge could be more difficult for the prosecution to prove because the doctor may argue that he or she had a legitimate reason to touch the defendant. Similarly, a sexual partner might also argue that he or she had consent to touch the defendant in such a manner.

Just because a California resident faces a sexual assault charge does not mean that he or she will be found guilty by a court of law. Those accused of such crimes will be able to employ a criminal defense lawyer to defend them against the accusations in court.

Source: FindLaw, "California sexual assault laws," accessed May 17, 2017

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