4th Degree Sexual Assault: Everything You Need to Know
Facing a charge of criminal sexual assault can have life-changing consequences. Some potential consequences include jail time, registering as a sex offender, and significant fines. It is important to have all the facts related to a fourth degree sexual assault charge to understand your rights and your options for a defense.
What to Know About Criminal Sexual Assault Charges
If you are charged with criminal sexual assault, you are considered the “actor.” There are four of criminal sexual conduct degrees; before breaking them down, you need to understand a few things.
For example, the term “intimate parts” defines the main genital area, inner thigh, groin, breast, or buttock of someone. “Sexual contact” refers to deliberately touching someone’s intimate parts (see: what is offensive touching). The last term is “sexual penetration,” which refers to sexual intercourse, anal intercourse, cunnilingus, or the “intrusion” into an anal or genital opening by an object or body part.
4th Degree Sexual Assault
While there are four total sexual assault charges, including first, second, and third degree sexual assault, here we are going to focus on fourth degree sexual assault and what you need to know about this charge.
Fourth Degree Sexual Assault Charges
In Michigan, you will often hear this referred to as criminal sexual conduct 4th degree. It is a type of sexual contact that occurs when one of the following situations is present:
- The victim of the sexual assault was between 13 and 16 years old, and the actor was five or more years older than them at the time of the incident
- To achieve sexual intercourse or sexual contact, force or coercion was used
- The victim of the sexual assault was mentally incapacitated, physically helpless, or mentally incapable, and the actor knew or had reason to know this
- Engaging in some type of sexual contact with someone who is related to the third degree
- Having sexual intercourse or other sexual contact with a patient or client if you are a mental health care professional and it has been under two years since you treated the victim
- Some type of sexual contact with a student between 16 and 18 when you are a teacher, administrator, school employee, or in some way use this position to establish a relationship with the student in question (see: teacher sexual misconduct)
It is important to note that sexual assault or sexual contact with an animal or dead body may also be charged as fourth degree sexual assault; however, the specific charges will depend on the circumstances and situation.
Being convicted of fourth degree sexual assault is a misdemeanor in Michigan. Upon conviction, you will face up to two years in prison (see: CSC 4th degree Michigan penalty).
The Seriousness of Sexual Assault Charges
The situation can be emotional if you are accused of sexual assault or another criminal sexual contact charge. As mentioned above, being convicted carries serious penalties and even a stigma in your community that can impact all your personal and professional relationships.
If you have been charged with fourth degree sexual assault or another sexual contact crime, you need to hire a sex crimes defense lawyer who understands how sexual contact occurs and the laws related to the charges you face. The right attorney will be a local or regional board member and use their experience and resources to help you beat the sexual assault charges you are facing.
Building a Defense Against Sexual Assault Charges
If you engage in some type of sexual activity with someone and do not have the person’s consent, it can be charged as sexual assault. If you are facing this charge, you need an experienced criminal sexual conduct attorney with the resources and knowledge required to help build viable sexual assault defense strategies for the charge.
In some situations, allegations of sexual assault and criminal sexual conduct come down to the victim’s testimony. The attorney you hire will work to build a defense that challenges the individual’s credibility and help you achieve the desired outcome for your case. While there are no guarantees about the outcome of this type of charge, with a CSC defense attorney, you have someone who knows the law and who will fight for your rights.
Do you need help with your case? Have you been charged with criminal sexual conduct and are unsure what to do? If so, contact Attorney Nicole Blank Becker by calling (248) 515-6583. You can schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.