Sexual battery in Utah is defined as:
“A person is guilty of sexual battery if the person, under circumstances not amounting to an offense under Subsection (2), intentionally touches, whether or not through clothing, the anus, buttocks, or any part of the genitals of another person, or the breast of a female person, and the actor’s conduct is under circumstances the actor knows or should know will likely cause affront or alarm to the person touched.”
Sexual battery is a Class A Misdemeanor which is punishable by up to one year in jail. Serving prison time solely on a Utah sexual battery conviction is not possible, unless you have other charged felony offenses running concurrent to the sexual battery offenses. You can be assessed a fine of up to $2,500. You will often be placed on supervised probation for this type of sexual offense with a required psychosexual evaluation and sex offender treatment follow through.
The extent of the court ordered sex offender treatment will depend on how the sexual offender evaluation goes. Some evaluators may recommend little treatment based on a claimed accidental touching, others may require more.
f you are convicted four or more times of sexual battery in Utah, you will be required to register as a sex offender.
A very reliable source of what offenses are Utah registrable sex offense is the Utah Department of Corrections sex offense database. Also you can consult with a qualified Utah criminal defense attorney. The Utah Department of Corrections is charged statutorily to keep accurate sex offense registries, make certain information available to the public and investigate and apprehend sexual offenders. See Utah Code Ann. 77-41-103. There is also a national sex offense registry maintained by the federal government.
To be convicted in Utah of sexual battery you must intentionally touch the person against their will or without their permission. You can’t accidentally touch someone to be guilty. Accidentally brushing by someone at the grocery store does not count as intentionally committing sexual battery. It has to be your conscious objective to touch the other person in a specific place on their body, i.e., the female breasts, genitalia, anus, or buttocks.
Further, the prosecuting attorney mush show that the specific area was touched. Intentional or accidental touching of the hips doesn’t count. The thighs don’t count, the government needs to show intentional touching statutorily specified places on the other person’s body.
The easy cases to prosecute are clear intentional touching of the anus, buttock or female breast without the express consent of the person being touched. A vulgar, near assault like touching without permission is one type of clear case. Yet it becomes much murkier when the couple meets for the first time at the bar and flirting occurs, leading to mutual touching, or at least mutual touching at first. Or the couple that split up, but now is reconciling, which leads to touching.
The “devil is in the details” and each case is different, but your Utah sexual battery attorney should be talking with you to understand the circumstances and human interactions to best defend you.
This defense is that under the circumstances the alleged criminal touching claimed as sexual battery was reasonable. Meaning under the circumstances, it’s unreasonable to think that the person being touched would be alarmed or that it would be unexpected.
The legal standard is laid out in the statute to mean: “the actor’s conduct is under circumstances the actor knows or should know will likely cause affront or alarm to the person touched.” What type of touching conduct would cause “affront” or “alarm” is ultimately up to the jury to determine. Hiring an experienced, persuasive Utah criminal defense attorney who actually tries jury trials and goes to court regularly is critical to explaining your innocence.
With age, and time as a regular practicing criminal defense lawyer, comes experience. You want to choose an attorney with many, many jury trials under their belt. Especially jury trials conducted in private practice, rather than public defender jury trial experience.
If you can regularly find your Utah criminal defense attorney in the office at 9 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. that is a sign that he’s not in court. Good Utah criminal defense attorneys are in court multiple times per week. You also want to hire an attorney that has the law firm resources to investigate, understand experts and respond immediately during emergencies with adequate staff and associate attorneys.
Attorney Jake Gunter has nearly 20 years of experience. He has participated in over 2,000 plus court hearings. He has tried several “not guilty” verdicts in felonies and misdemeanors.