sexual battery (law) | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee


Course: Introduction / Criminal Law

Sexual Battery is any unwanted sexual contact for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification; many jurisdictions grade this offense based on the degree of harm done to the victim.

Sexual battery is a serious crime that can encompass a wide range of unwanted sexual contact or activity. It is typically defined as any unwanted touching, fondling, or sexual penetration that is committed without the victim’s consent and is done for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification. This can include actions such as groping, kissing, or sexual intercourse.

In many jurisdictions, sexual battery is considered a felony offense and is graded based on the degree of harm done to the victim. For example, if the victim is a minor or is physically or mentally incapacitated, the offense may be considered more serious and carry harsher penalties. Additionally, some jurisdictions may consider aggravating factors such as the use of a weapon, the infliction of serious bodily injury, or the commission of the offense during the commission of another crime, such as burglary or kidnapping.

The exact elements of sexual battery may vary depending on the jurisdiction, but generally require that the offender intentionally touch or penetrate the victim’s body without their consent, and with the intent to cause sexual arousal or gratification. In some jurisdictions, the offense may also require that the victim be unaware of the nature of the act or that the offender use force, coercion, or threat of harm to accomplish the sexual contact.

Victims of sexual battery may suffer a wide range of physical and emotional harm, including trauma, shame, and physical injuries. It is important for victims to report these crimes to law enforcement and seek medical and psychological care as soon as possible. Additionally, anyone accused of sexual battery should seek legal representation and be prepared to defend themselves against these serious charges.

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Last Modified: 07/17/2021


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