Sexual Assault vs Sexual Harassment: What's The Difference?

Sexual Assault vs Sexual Harassment: What’s The Difference?

by Nov 13, 2018

Sexual assault and sexual harassment, while both serious accusations in their respective areas of the law, are very different things. Being accused of one is absolutely not the same thing as being accused of the other. Most importantly, the consequences of being found guilty of sexual assault vs sexual harassment are far more severe.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is, in the United States, primarily dealt with as a workplace civil rights issue. Cases are handled in civil court, not criminal court.

Sexual harassment is defined as “Any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and any other physical or verbal harassment of a sexual nature.” Common forms of sexaul harassment include things like:

  • Unwanted touching and/or grabbing
  • Physical intrusion into someone’s personal space
  • Comments about an individual’s body parts
  • Sexual jokes aimed at a particular person

If the type of sexual harassment someone experiences is particularly aggressive, it may cross the line into sexual assault, depending on the circumstances.

Ready To Speak To An Attorney?

Call us now at (707) 540-2356

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is a crime, and those convicted of it go to jail. Sexual assault involves intentional sexual contact made through force, intimidation, or abuse of authority.

Examples of sexual assault include:

  • Unwanted contact, like kissing, touching, and/or groping
  • Rape
  • Statutory rape
  • Lewd acts
  • Inappropriately touching a child

If you have been accused of, or charged with, sexual assault, you need to contact a lawyer immediately. Sex crimes are severely punished in California. Also, depending on what you’re charged with, you could be prosecuted in both state and federal court and you may find yourself facing significant jail sentences in both venues.

You Need An Attorney In Both Cases

Regardless of if you been accused of either sexual harassment or sexual assault, you’ll need to hire an experienced attorney. For sexual harassment cases, you’ll want to contact an employment law attorney who handles workplace sexual harassment cases.

Dealing with sexual assault charges, you’ll need a criminal defense lawyer. At Quinnan Law, we have represented clients accused of all types of sexual assault offenses in both state and federal court. We know the law and how to represent you so that you obtain the best result possible. Contact us today for a free consultation.


At Quinnan Law, we offer every client a free phone consultation to discuss their unique situation and determine how we can help. To arrange a consultation, please fill out the adjacent form or call us at: (707) 540-2356.

We provide representation in California State and Federal Courts. We accept most major credit cards for your convenience.

2 + 4 =