Recently, a 67-year-old man (name withheld to protect the accused’s privacy) was arrested by police in Placerville on charges of sexual assault. Local law enforcement agents claim that the man sodomized another individual on Thanksgiving Day. The alleged victim (someone the man was ‘in a relationship’ with for about 8 months) was asleep at the time of the purported incident.
In the state of California, sexual assault (CA Penal Code 243.4) is defined as any unwanted ‘touching’ of another person’s genitalia (or other private portions of their body) for the express purpose of being gratified sexually. This crime may be considered either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the circumstance, making it what is often referred to as a ‘wobbler.’ It is thus up to prosecutors to determine whether they will treat it as a less serious or more serious offense. Misdemeanor sexual assault covers occurrences like unwanted pats on the bum, while felony sexual assault is far more severe.
If convicted of a misdemeanor sexual assault charge, you could face up to 1 year in county jail and a $2,000 fine. However, if you are convicted of a sexual assault felony charge, you could pend up to 4 years in state prison and pay a $10,000 fine. In either case, you will have to register for your lifetime as a sexual offender.