How Do Criminal Sexual Conduct Charges Affect My Life?
According to a 2019 report by The Michigan Daily, more than one University of Michigan woman in three reported non consensual penetration or touching on campus. The cases were prevalent among undergraduate women at 34.3%. The statistic was notably a decline from the 2015 figures, where the percentage stood at 38.2%, probably a positive impact of the Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct Laws.
Sex crimes are inarguably among the worst charges anyone can face. Many people are serving long jail terms in Michigan prisons over sexual crimes they did not commit. Michigan criminal law is broad and covers different types of sex crimes. If you face any sexual conduct charges, the best thing you can do is get an experienced Michigan sex crime lawyer. An experienced attorney knows the court procedures and the necessary steps you need to take to ensure you have a strong defense. Since sexual conduct charges are regarded as serious crimes, the penalties are always severe. The Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct Law establishes four different categories of sex crimes, each with varying penalties. Imprisonment is the most common penalty for most sex crimes. While Criminal Sexual Conduct 1-4 include a possible jail/prison term, that is not the only life-altering penalty for sex offenders. We will discuss the four degrees of criminal sexual conduct and how a conviction for each of them can/will affect your life.
Criminal Sexual Conduct Degrees
In Michigan, Criminal Sexual Conduct is commonly known as CSC. It refers to the unlawful or non consensual touching, assault, or penetration of another person. The offender’s conduct usually defines the degree of sexual assault as per the law’s categories. Each category is referred to as a ‘degree,’ and the severity of the crime varies across the four degrees. As such, the impact of the sexual conduct charges on your life is mostly dependent on the degree of sexual crimes your charges fall.
Criminal Sexual Conduct First Degree
The Michigan law considers Criminal Sexual Conduct First Degree the most severe sex offense charge anyone can face. The law considers it a capital offense, and as such, individuals convicted of the crime face the most extended jail terms that can go up to life imprisonment. The offense is defined based on the provisions of the law and the actions of the perpetrator. These provisions and actions include:
- Sexual penetration commonly, known as rape, of a minor below the age of 13 years
- Sexual assault of a physically or mentally challenged person
- The perpetrator was armed with a weapon during the act
- The defendant used force or coercion to make the victim to submit
- The defendant held a position of authority over the victim
As the most serious sex offense, consequences for first-degree sexual conduct are usually severe and include:
- A long prison term that can go up to a life
- Financial implications including court fines and costs
- Lifelong registration on the sex offender registry
- Permanent electronic state monitoring
- Loss of current employment and denial of employment opportunities in future
- Revocation or denial of professional licenses
- Denial or revocation of immigration documents including green card, visa, or citizenship application
- Denial of rental housing applications and restrictions on residence
Criminal Sexual Conduct Second Degree
Criminal Sexual Conduct Second Degree is a serious sex crime but less severe than the first degree since it does not involve penetration. The offense involves unwanted or nonconsensual touching for sexual gratification. The touching can be around the genital area, including the inside of the thighs.
The Michigan laws provide that second-degree sexual conduct involves a minor victim under the age of 13 years, a person under the perpetrator’s authority at the time of the sexual contact, a family member of the defendant, or a physically or mentally incapacitated person.
If you get convicted of a second-degree sexual offense, the consequences are severe, and some will permanently impact your life. The consequences will include:
- Imprisonment of up to 15 years
- Registration on the Sex Offenders Registry list
- Up to a lifelong electronic monitoring
- Financial impacts including court fines and costs
- Limitation on areas of residence and possible denial of housing facilities
- Loss of job and possible denial of future opportunities or restriction from specific jobs Loss of immigration documents or deportation if you are a non-citizen
- Full or partial loss of child custody
Criminal Sexual Conduct Third Degree
Criminal Sexual Conduct Third Degree is also referred to as statutory rape. It is a complex charge since the victim may not necessarily feel offended and consented to sexual penetration. However, the state regards it as a sexual offense due to the nature of the victim.
It involves sexual conduct with a minor under 13 years of age to 15 years of age. Under Michigan Law, you will be charged with third-degree sexual conduct if any of the following apply:
- You engaged in sexual activity with a minor who is above 13 years and older and less than 15 years
- You obtained sexual penetration using force or coercion
- You had sexual penetration with a student aged between 16 and 18 if you are a teacher or any other kind of employee or contractor of the school
- Sexual penetration with a special student aged between 16 and 26 if you are their teacher unless the student is your spouse
- You had sexual penetration with a minor of at least 16 years who lives under foster care, and you are an employee or a person authorized to work in the foster care facility
- You had sexual penetration with a person related to you to the fourth degree You had sexual penetration with a person you knew to have a physical or mental disability
A conviction for a third-degree sexual offense will attract penalties that include:
- Up to 15 years in prison
- Lifelong registration under the sex offender registration act
- Criminal case court costs and fines
- Restriction on the areas of residence
- You may lose your job or denied employment opportunities
- Revocation of professional licenses or you may not be able to get one on future
- Loss of child custody rights
- Revocation of your immigration documents and deportation for non-citizens
Criminal Sexual Conduct Fourth Degree
Criminal Sexual Conduct Fourth Degree is a high misdemeanor / low felony charge on unwarranted sexual touching. It involves an unwanted touching of any person, a minor, a person with a disability, a person under your authority, or a relative for sexual purposes.
This is a serious misdemeanor charge and can attract severe life-altering penalties, including:
- A jail / prison term of up to two years
- Court fines that can be up to $500 or more
- A lifelong criminal record as a sex offender
- Possible loss of your job and the ability to secure one in future
- Possible revocation of professional licenses
- Possible impacts on your immigration documents
- Possible loss of child custody
- Registration on the Sex Offender Registry List
The Advantages of Working with a Great Sex Crime Attorney
Criminal Sexual charges are treated as one of the most serious crimes in Michigan. Therefore, you need a great sex crime attorney to help you at a very pivotal time in your life. A professional criminal defense lawyer who solely focuses on sex crimes who wants nothing but the best for you and will appropriately be able to evaluate your facts and formulate a strong, tough defense strategy. A lawyer who solely focuses on sex crimes can explain to you in detail what to expect throughout the court process. A lawyer who has specialized experience in handling criminal sexual conduct cases is in the best position to help you make decisions at every stage of the process. That kind of special attention is required to better your outcome for your future.
Ultimately, if the sentence turns out unfavorable, your attorney may propose and pursue an appeal or submit a motion seeking reconsideration of your case. Besides, most sex crimes usually involve contradicting versions of events and statements from the victims, witnesses, and prosecutors. Therefore, an experienced attorney who focuses solely on sex crimes can help you identify the inconsistencies and gather pieces of evidence and facts that support your appeal.