A 19-year-old man sits in a Sacramento County jail this evening for what police believe to be his part in at least 2 sexual assaults, resulting in 8 different related felony charges. In one incident, a young woman riding her bike was almost sexually assaulted, but managed to get away, even after having been pulled from her bike. This first occurrence happened near Peacekeeper Way and Watt Avenue in December of last year. The second incident involved a 63-year-old woman who was out for a walk (also near Watt Avenue, but this time at A Street) when a young man threatened her, forced her into her own home and then assaulted her sexually.
In California, misdemeanor sexual assault charges differ greatly from their felony counterparts (CA Penal Code 243.4). Misdemeanor sexual assault, for example, might include such things as touching the intimate parts of a stranger, like a woman’s breast, or patting someone on the bottom without their permission. However, sexual assault rises to the felony level, it seems, when force or threats are used in order to gratify another person’s sexual desires. For example, if you use any method of intimidation or fear, from real threats to forcing someone in an inherently coercive environment like a nursing home or a mental institution) to participate in sexual acts, then this behavior would be considered serious enough to be placed under the ‘felony sexual assault’ umbrella.
If you are convicted of a misdemeanor sexual assault or battery, you can expect to spend up to 6 months in county jail (depending on the particular circumstances of your case) and to pay a fine of around $2,000. However, if you are convicted of a felony sexual assault charge, you could spend up to 4 years in state prison and pay a fine of $10,000.