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Criminal Sexual Conduct 2nd vs. 4th Degree: What’s the Difference?

According to a report by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), about 734,630 people in the United States were raped or threatened with rape in 2018. However, there was notably a decline in the number of rape cases reported to the police in 2018 compared to 2017. About 40% of the 2017 sexual assault cases were reported, while only 25% of the 2018 cases were reported. While most of the perpetrators may go unpunished for the victims’ failure to report, the Michigan criminal sexual conduct laws ensure that the few convicted suffer dire consequences.

The statute establishes punitive measures for any sexual assault, making even the slightest crime such as unwarranted contact a serious sexual misconduct. If you or a person close to you is charged with a sex crime in Michigan, you would consider getting an excellent Michigan sex crime defense attorney.

However, the law in Michigan does not treat all sexual crimes equally but sets up different criminal sexual assault levels known as degrees. Each degree of a sexual offense is defined differently and carries different consequences. In any case, no sex crime is treated lightly in Michigan.

While Michigan criminal sexual conduct law establishes four distinct degrees of sexual crimes, we focus on the second and fourth-degrees in this article to see how distinct they are.

Second Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

In Michigan criminal sexual conduct second degree involves a person who engages in sexual contact with another person AND one of the following circumstances exists.

The law does not allow for unwarranted contact with a minor for sexual gratification. While the statute emphasizes minors, it also sets out other categories of persons, including adults, that can warrant a person to be charged with a second degree criminal sexual conduct. It is a serious charge and the offender could go to prison for up to 15 years or more if you are a habitual offender.

A Conviction For Second-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

Sexual contact with another person when any of the following circumstances exists:

  • That other person is under 13 years of age; That other person is at least 13 but less than 16 years of age and any of the following:
    • The actor is a member of the same household as the victim;
    • The actor is related by blood or affinity to the fourth degree to the victim;
    • The actor is in a position of authority over the victim and the actor used this authority to coerce the victim to submit;
    • The actor is a teacher, substitute teacher, or administrator of the public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district in which that other person is enrolled;
    • The actor is an employee or a contractual service provider of the public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district in which that other person is enrolled, or is a volunteer who is not a student in any public school or nonpublic school, or is an employee of this state or of a local unit of government of this state or of the United States assigned to provide any service to that public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district, and the actor uses his or her employee, contractual, or volunteer status to gain access to, or to establish a relationship with, that other person; or
    • The actor is an employee, contractual service provider, or volunteer of a child care organization, or a person licensed to operate a foster family home or a foster family group home in which that other person is a resident and the sexual contact occurs during the period of that other person’s residency
  • Sexual contact occurs under circumstances involving the commission of any other felony;
  • The actor is aided or abetted by 1 or more other persons and either of the following circumstances exists:
    • The actor knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally incapable, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless; or
    • The actor uses force or coercion to accomplish the sexual contact;
  • The actor is armed with a weapon, or any article used or fashioned in a manner to lead a person to reasonably believe it to be a weapon;
  • The actor causes personal injury to the victim and force or coercion is used to accomplish the sexual contact;
  • The actor causes personal injury to the victim and the actor knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally incapable, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless;
  • That other person is mentally incapable, mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless, and any of the following:
    • The actor is related to the victim by blood or affinity to the fourth degree; or
    • The actor is in a position of authority over the victim and used this authority to coerce the victim to submit;
  • That other person is under the jurisdiction of the department of corrections and the actor is an employee or a contractual employee of, or a volunteer with, the department of corrections who knows that the other person is under the jurisdiction of the department of corrections; That other person is under the jurisdiction of the department of corrections and the actor is an employee or a contractual employee of, or a volunteer with, a private vendor that operates a youth correctional facility, who knows that the other person is under the jurisdiction of the department of corrections;
  • That other person is a prisoner or probationer under the jurisdiction of a county for purposes of imprisonment or a work program or other probationary program and the actor is an employee or a contractual employee of or a volunteer with the county or the department of corrections who knows that the other person is under the county’s jurisdiction; or
  • The actor knows or has reason to know that a court has detained the victim in a facility while the victim is awaiting a trial or hearing, or committed the victim to a facility as a result of the victim having been found responsible for committing an act that would be a crime if committed by an adult, and the actor is an employee or contractual employee of, or a volunteer with, the facility in which the victim is detained or to which the victim was committed.

Although CRIMINAL SEXUAL CONDUCT IN THE SECOND DEGREE involves merely contact with no attempted or actual penetration, the Michigan law establishes harsh penalties for this crime. Therefore, if you are being investigated or charged you should seek legal assistance immediately.

  • Serving a sentence of up to 15 years in prison
  • You may have to pay court fines and prosecution costs
  • Permanent registration on the sex offenders registry
  • Loss of job or the ability to secure employment due to your criminal record
  • If you hold a professional license, it may be revoked or denied one if you apply in future
  • Loss of child custody rights
  • Loss of immigration visa or green card denied citizenship, or get deported if you are not a U.S citizen
  • Lifetime electronic monitoring
  • Limitation on where you can live, or denial of housing facilities

 

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Fourth Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

Criminal sexual conduct fourth degree also involves unwarranted touching. It is regarded as a high misdemeanor but low felony.  It must be handled at Circuit Court with all other felony charges.  Being charged with Criminal Sexual Conduct Fourth Degree also has severe consequences, including a possible prison sentence of up to 2 years or jail time in your local county. In Michigan, you may be charged with fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct if you are a suspect of the following:

  • Sexual contact with another person when any of the following circumstances exist:
    • That other person is at least 13 years of age but less than 16 years of age, and the actor is 5 or more years older than that other person; Force or coercion is used to accomplish the sexual contact.
    • Force or coercion includes, but is not limited to, any of the following circumstances:
      • When the actor overcomes the victim through the actual application of physical force or physical violence;
      • When the actor coerces the victim to submit by threatening to use force or violence on the victim, and the victim believes that the actor has the present ability to execute that threat;
      • When the actor coerces the victim to submit by threatening to retaliate in the future against the victim, or any other person, and the victim believes that the actor has the ability to execute that threat. As used in this subparagraph, “to retaliate” includes threats of physical punishment, kidnapping, or extortion;
      • When the actor engages in the medical treatment or examination of the victim in a manner or for purposes which are medically recognized as unethical or unacceptable; or
      • When the actor achieves the sexual contact through concealment or by the element of surprise;
    • The actor knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally incapable, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless;
    • That other person is related to the actor by blood or affinity to the third degree and the sexual contact occurs under circumstances not otherwise prohibited. It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under this subdivision that the other person was in a position of authority over the defendant and used this authority to coerce the defendant to violate this subdivision. The defendant has the burden of proving this defense by a preponderance of the evidence. This subdivision does not apply if both persons are lawfully married to each other at the time of the alleged violation;
    • The actor is a mental health professional and the sexual contact occurs during or within 2 years after the period in which the victim is his or her client or patient and not his or her spouse. The consent of the victim is not a defense to a prosecution under this subdivision. A prosecution under this subsection shall not be used as evidence that the victim is mentally incompetent;
    • That other person is at least 16 years of age but less than 18 years of age and a student at a public school or nonpublic school, and either of the following applies:
      • The actor is a teacher, substitute teacher, or administrator of that public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district. This subparagraph does not apply if the other person is emancipated or if both persons are lawfully married to each other at the time of the alleged violation; or
      • The actor is an employee or a contractual service provider of the public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district in which that other person is enrolled, or is a volunteer who is not a student in any public school or nonpublic school, or is an employee of this state or of a local unit of government of this state or of the United States assigned to provide any service to that public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district, and the actor uses his or her employee, contractual, or volunteer status to gain access to, or to establish a relationship with, that other person;
    • That other person is at least 16 years old but less than 26 years of age and is receiving special education services, and either of the following applies:
      • The actor is a teacher, substitute teacher, administrator, employee, or contractual service provider of the public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district from which that other person receives the special education services. This subparagraph does not apply if both persons are lawfully married to each other at the time of the alleged violation; or
      • The actor is a volunteer who is not a student in any public school or nonpublic school, or is an employee of this state or of a local unit of government of this state or of the United States assigned to provide any service to that public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district, and the actor uses his or her employee, contractual, or volunteer status to gain access to, or to establish a relationship with, that other person; or
    • The actor is an employee, contractual service provider, or volunteer of a child care organization, or a person licensed to operate a foster family home or a foster family group home, in which that other person is a resident, that other person is at least 16 years of age, and the sexual contact occurs during that other person’s residency.

A conviction for Fourth Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

Although the penalties for all criminal sexual conduct offenses are severe in Michigan, Criminal Sexual Conduct Fourth Degree has the least severe consequences out of all of the 4 Degrees of Criminal Sexual Conduct.  The consequences may include

  • Imprisonment for up to two years
  • Court fines
  • Permanent registration in the sex offenders registry
  • Possibility of loss of child custodial rights
  • Possible impact on your immigration including deportation for non-citizens, revocation, or denial of visa or green card
  • Loss or denial of professional licenses
  • Limitation on your area of residence or work
  • Loss of job or inability to secure employment due to your criminal record

Need a Sex Crime Attorney?

Besides helping you create a strong defense, an expert sex crime attorney can help you when your life has been threatened with a sex crime. Contact Nicole Blank Becker today for legal assistance when it comes to sex crimes.

3150 Livernois Rd. Suite 126
Troy, MI 48083
(248) 515-6583
law@nicoleblankbecker.com

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