Sexual Assault Lawyer

Do you need a sexual assault lawyer in San Jose?

When a person is a victim of a sexual assault in San Jose, California, he or she may suffer lasting harm. In addition to any physical injuries that the person might have received during the incident, it is common for sex assault victims to suffer from lasting emotional harms. Sexual assaults are called sexual battery under the state’s criminal and civil laws. Even if a sexual assault case is filed within the criminal justice system, it often makes sense for the victims to file civil lawsuits against the perpetrators with the help of an experienced sexual assault and battery attorney in San Jose.

What is a sexual assault in California?

Sexual battery is defined in the state’s criminal and civil laws. A sexual assault may give rise to civil liability under Cal. Civ. Code § 1708.5 if the victim is able to prove the following elements:

  • The defendant intended to cause harm by intimately touching another person’s private parts without his or her consent and did touch him or her; or
  • The defendant intended to contact another person’s private parts with the defendant’s sexual organ, resulting in a direct or indirect contact; or
  • The defendant intended to cause the victim to feel apprehension that the defendant would imminently contact the victim’s private parts; and
  • The victim did not consent to the sexual contact; and
  • The victim was offended or harmed by the contact.

How and when should you file a sexual assault lawsuit?


There are a couple of relevant provisions that outline when sexual assault lawsuits must be filed in California. Under Cal. Civ. Code § 335.1, civil lawsuits for assaults and batteries must be filed within two years of the incident. However, for sexual assaults that occurred before the age of majority, Cal. Civ. Code § 340.1 provides that victims will have eight years after turning age 18 to file lawsuits or up to three years after they discover that their emotional and psychological problems were caused by the childhood sexual assault, whichever is later. Sexual assault lawsuits are started by filing formal civil complaints in the courts that have proper jurisdiction.

What evidence is necessary when filing a sexual assault lawsuit?

In order to prove a sexual assault civil lawsuit, you will need to be able to prove that the defendant committed the assault against you on a specific date and that you did not give consent or were legally unable to consent. In some cases, direct evidence might exist, including DNA evidence or confessions. Most cases will rely on circumstantial evidence, which might come down to your word versus the perpetrator’s. Your lawyer can assess the facts and circumstances of your claim in order to identify the evidence to present at trial.

How often does sexual assault occur?

According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, an American is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds. One out of six women in the U.S. have been the victims of sexual assault or attempted sexual assaults, and one out of 33 men have also been victims.

Penalties for San Jose sexual assault charges

The criminal code provides for varying lengths of imprisonment and substantial fines for sexual battery. The sentences will depend on whether the conviction is for a misdemeanor or a felony as well as the circumstances of the case. In civil lawsuits for sexual assault, Cal. Civ. Code 1708.5 provides that people who commit sexual assaults may be liable to pay general, special and punitive damages to the victims. Judges may also order injunctions and other equitable relief.

Why you should contact a San Jose sexual assault lawyer

Since the burden of proof in a civil case is lower than that for a criminal case, it is a good idea for victims to file civil lawsuits regardless of whether or not a criminal case is filed against the perpetrators. Through a civil lawsuit, the victims might be likelier to be able to hold the offenders accountable for their actions. Contact an experienced San Jose sexual assault lawyer today.

San Jose Personal Injury Attorneys