Sacramento Sexual Assault Lawyers
If you’ve suffered sexual assault or abuse, then you’ve come to the right place. The Sacramento sexual assault lawyers here at Cutter Law P.C. have the education, experience, and strategies necessary to defend your rights and to hold your abuser responsible in a court of law.
At Cutter Law P.C., we understand just how much of a toll sexual assault and abuse cases take on survivors. We also know how difficult it can be to come forward and hold your abuser responsible for their actions. Fortunately, our attorneys are here to represent you and your interests in a court of law. We’ll make sure you’re as comfortable and well-taken-care-of as humanly possible throughout the entire process. We’ll be there for you every step of the way.
What is a sex crime under California law?
For sex crime survivors in Sacramento, California, the law provides civil and criminal remedies for forced or illegal sexual contact. Accusing another person of a sex crime is a challenging process for survivors. Still, a clear understanding of how the law protects victims of sexual assault and punishes offenders may help a survivor gather the strength to come forward to the authorities and a lawyer.
Under criminal law in California, sex crimes fall within the scope of “Crimes Against the Person,” described in Title 8 of the California Penal Code. Various codes define different types of sex crimes and their punishments. Title 8 also deals with offenses like murder, mayhem, kidnapping, and the taking of hostages. There is no “one size fits all” for sex crimes in the California Penal Code. Unfortunately, it may feel overwhelming for a survivor of a sex crime to understand how the law may deal with a specific sex crime with so many different statutes, definitions, and punishments.
For example, rape in California is a crime where an offender engages in any form of nonconsensual sexual assault. Statutes in the California Penal Code, specifically those found in Cal. Penal Code §§ 261, 261.6, 263, 263.1, 269, and 288.7, define the crime of rape and its possible punishments. Other penal codes address offenses like sexual battery, aggravated sexual assault of a child, and oral copulation, and each has its own set of punishments.
Types of Sexual Offenses in Sacramento
According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), California law defines sex crimes as the following within the California Penal Code.
- Oral copulation
- Sexual battery
- Forcible acts of sexual penetration
- Unlawful sexual acts procured by fraud or false pretenses
- Aggravated sexual assault of a child
- Unlawful sexual intercourse with a person under 18
- Sexual acts with a child ten years or younger
A survivor who is unsure whether their experience qualifies as a sex crime in California will benefit from talking to the authorities, consulting with a lawyer, or taking advantage of the assistance of a sexual assault survivor organization. For example, the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence offers a comprehensive list of organizations that help California and Sacramento residents.
Sacramento Sexual Assault Statistics
Like any crime, sex crime statistics in Sacramento increase and decrease over time, but some in law enforcement suggest violent crime is on the rise in places like Sacramento. In an article published by KXTV-TV in Sacramento, the district attorney of Sacramento County states that it is a “very dangerous time right now in California.” As an example, the DA presented the case of a woman who was sexually assaulted and killed in her home in September 2021.
As reported by the City of Sacramento and the Sacramento Police Department, citizens reported 85 rapes in 2020. Unfortunately, the number of rapes was already at 100 when Sacramento PD reported statistics for the first eight months of 2021. For the first three quarters of the year, Sacramento residents experienced a greater than 28 percent increase in reported rapes from 2020 to 2021.
What to Do After a Sexual Assault in Sacramento
According to a 2015 Sexual Assault Study published in Scientific World Journal and reported by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, sexual assault cases often suffer from insufficient levels of disclosure, reporting, prosecution, and conviction. Biological evidence is often the sole opportunity prosecutors have to prove that a crime was committed by a specific person.
One of the most critical steps a survivor can take after experiencing a sex crime is to contact the police to report the crime and go to a hospital. A medical professional will conduct an exam and collect critical evidence to help identify an assailant. Pieces of evidence collected may include fibers from clothing, bodily fluids, and hair. Some survivors may also have a sample of cervical tissue taken for laboratory analysis.
Some of the rights given to survivors of sexual assault crime in California come from the Sexual Assault Survivor’s Bill of Rights, PC 680.2 / AB 1312. Survivors may ask for a Court Order for protection, ask questions about test results and evidence from the assault, and apply for financial assistance to help pay for costs related to the assault, as well as ask for other information related to their experience. Survivors have the choice to get a physical exam, participate in a criminal case, and report the assault.
Also, under the legislation, sexual assault survivors can request information from the California Attorney General’s Victims’ Services Unit in Sacramento for information such as rape kit results and any information entered into the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Tracking (SAFE-T) database. SAFE-T is a repository of evidence collected and processed from sexual assault evidence (SAE) kits. Senate Bill 215 was approved in October 2021 and amended Penal Code §§ 680.1 and 680.3.
In the difficult time after a sex crime occurs, survivors may wish to obtain the services of a sex crime lawyer. An experienced attorney can help protect the survivor’s rights, as well as help file a restraining order when needed or file a civil lawsuit for possible monetary compensation from the accused. There is no single path that a survivor must take after experiencing an assault, but law enforcement agents, survivor networks, and attorneys can offer aid.
Here are some helplines and resources for Sacramento residents.
- WEAVE Rape Crisis Center: 1-916-920-2952
- Sacramento State Sexual Violence Support: 1-916-278-5850
- National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673
- Mercy General Hospital: 1-916-453-4545
- Sutter General Hospital: 1-916-454-2222
- Methodist Hospital of Sacramento: 1-916-423-3000
- Sacramento Police Department: 1-916-808-5471
California Laws and Sexual Assault Penalties
Sexual assault penalties in Sacramento, California, depend on many factors like the nature of the crime, the victim’s age, and the punishments available for sentencing according to the California Penal Code. Some crimes feature minimum sentences, and others include a possible monetary penalty. Here are the prison penalties for different sex crimes in California.
- Rape: Three to 14 years
- Rape of a Spouse: Three to eight years imprisonment or a $1,000 payment when the offender gets probation
- Sodomy: 16 months to 14 years
- Forcible Acts of Sexual Penetration: 16 months to 12 years
- Oral Copulation: 16 months to 14 years
- Sexual Battery: Six months to four years and a possible fine up to $10,000
- Unlawful Sexual Acts Procured by Fraud or False Pretenses: One to four years
- Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child: 15 years to life in prison
- Sexual Acts with a Child Ten Years or Younger: 15 years to life in prison
- Unlawful Sexual Intercourse with a Person Under 18: Sixteen months to four years plus civil penalties up to $25,000
Guidelines for sentencing sex offenders are complex because the court deems some sex crimes “One Strike” offenses, which carry maximum sentences of life in prison. For example, the punishment for someone convicted of rape may increase when the accused has prior convictions or multiple victims. For an offender convicted of sodomy, the sentencing guidelines are complex and highly varied, depending on the various facets of the crime.
Factors That Influence Sexual Abuse and Assault Claims in the Courtroom
Winning a lawsuit for sexual abuse or sexual assault claims in the courtroom depends on many factors, including the specific details of the crime. Here are some of the factors the court may consider, which may help the survivor during a trial or court proceeding.
- Lack of victim consent
- The offender has a history of sex offenses
- The victim incurred medical expenses
- The victim lost income
All of these situations may not occur for every case or determine the result of every sexual assault trial. However, preparing for a trial with a lawyer often requires exploring these integral factors.
Can I sue my attacker after a sexual assault in Sacramento?
Participating in a criminal case against an alleged attacker may represent one of the most challenging experiences a survivor may ever undertake, but you are not alone. Civil remedies exist within the law for sex crime lawsuits in Sacramento, California. You can sue your attacker, and there are laws to help with the process. For survivors who want to file a lawsuit against their attacker, the California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) lists the rules guiding these lawsuits.
For example, CCP § 340.1 provides lawsuit rules on childhood sexual assaults. CCP § 340.16 outlines rules on civil actions for assaults that occurred on or after the plaintiff’s 18th birthday. The Code of Civil Procedure is a comprehensive and complex part of the legal system. A sex crimes lawyer is an essential ally in successfully filing a sex assault lawsuit in California.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit after a rape or sexual assault in Sacramento?
Filing a civil lawsuit against someone for sexual assault or a sex crime is difficult, but it may become impossible when the statute of limitations has expired. The statute of limitations is a set number of years during which a victim may file a lawsuit against another person or entity for a particular crime.
One of the beneficial developments in California as far as the statute of limitations is concerned is Assembly Bill 218, which was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2019. Before the Assembly passed the bill, victims of sexual abuse had to file a lawsuit within eight years of turning 18, or within three years of the date they started experiencing psychological damage from the abuse.
Assembly Bill 218 increased the statute of limitations to 22 years after the victim reaches the age of majority, currently 18-years-old in the United States and California. This change was particularly beneficial to the legions of young people abused by the Boy Scouts of America. Figures quoted by The Los Angeles Times revealed that the Boy Scouts organization received more than 92,000 sexual abuse claims, a number dwarfing the allegations made against the Catholic Church.
The statute of limitations for civil crimes changes on occasion, and it iss essential to speak with an attorney quickly, even if the victim has many years available to file a lawsuit under California law.
Who else can be held liable for a sexual assault?
Many consider sex crimes a crime with two participants: the victim and the perpetrator. However, there are some instances where additional people or entities may play a part in the crime. In some civil cases, a third party may be held liable by the court when they violate a “duty of care” requirement to the victim.
For example, suppose an assault or sex crime occurrs at work or a school. The court may hold the company or school responsible if these entities fail to provide adequate protection to the victim through proper supervision or security. One notable example of a third-party liability is when a person is assaulted while in an Uber or Lyft rideshare vehicle. Under the law, these companies may be held responsible for sexual assaults committed by a driver.
What damages can be recovered for sexual abuse?
In a civil lawsuit, a survivor may receive compensatory damages that pay for the financial losses they might have experienced because of the abuse. A victim may receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages due to time off work, physical or psychological therapies, and lost future earnings due to physical or emotional harm. Some lawsuits also award plaintiffs punitive damages, those reserved for particularly terrible crimes.
How Our Sacramento Sex Crime Lawyers at Cutter Law Can Help
Filing a lawsuit after experiencing a sex crime might be one of the most challenging actions anyone will take in their life, and we want you to know that we are here for you. We offer caring and professional legal representation, and we put everything we can into fighting for our clients. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experienced team today for a no-obligation consultation. The team at Cutter Law will be at your side at every step and will vigorously pursue justice for your case.
When it comes to sexual assault and abuse cases, the more experienced your attorney, the better off you’ll always be. And, luckily, our Sacramento sex abuse lawyers have decades of combined experience representing victims in a court of law. We’ve won several awards for our legal prowess, including an Avvo Rating of 10.0, and the Legal Leaders Top Rated Lawyers award.