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Is Sexual Assault and Rape the Same Thing?

In the state of Michigan, rape is a type of sexual assault (this is true in most other states, too). Additionally, sexual assault and rape are both considered “sex crimes.” According to the legal definition, a sex crime is a crime that is sexual in nature or intent.

Under this definition, there are several types of sex crimes, each being defined in a unique way under Michigan law. The sex crime charges you face depend on what you do, and each crime comes with different penalties if you are convicted.

Is Sexual Assault and Rape the Same Thing?

Since multiple crimes are considered sexual offenses, they are handled similarly in the legal system. Two of the biggest similarities is that, if convicted, you will likely spend some time in jail and be required to register on the public Michigan Sex Offender Registry after being released from prison. Due to the seriousness of these types of criminal acts, it is smart to reach out to an experienced sex crimes defense lawyer right away.

Those who need help due to issues related to rape can also reach out to National Sexual Assault Hotline. Seeking help and guidance is essential to building a defense to fight the charges you face.

Understanding the Categories of Sexual Assault and Abuse

Sexual assault is a term used to describe any type of unwanted sexual contact. The factor that makes sexual contact a crime is lack of consent. This includes not knowing if consent is given and the inability to consent. Learn what does non-consensual sex mean here.

An example will be if someone is drugged or extremely intoxicated. In these cases, the individual can not give or deny consent. Also, the age of consent in Michigan is 16, so anyone under the age of 16 cannot legally consent to sex or a sex act.

Common Types of Sexual Misconduct in Michigan

The most common type of sexual assault is rape. This often involves physical force, threats, and violence. It is also considered rape if the victim cannot consent, is not of the legal age to consent (called child sexual abuse), or is a victim of sexual coercion.

Criminal laws in Michigan have unique charges for all types of unwanted touching and unwanted sexual contact (see what is offensive touching). This includes rape. Each type of sexual assault and sexual abuse has distinct criteria that must be met and come with unique punishments.

Rape and Sexual Assault: Learning the Differences and Similarities

To fully understand how sexual assault and rape differ and why rape is considered a type of sexual assault, it is important to learn what must happen to be charged with each.

Sexual Assault Defined

Sexual assault includes situations where someone pressures or forces someone else into unwanted sexual contact. Sometimes, unwanted sexual contact may be forced on someone while they are unconscious, asleep, on drugs, or intoxicated. In Michigan, cases of sexual assault are called “criminal sexual conduct.” Learn what criminal sexual conduct means here.

Assault with Intent

According to Michigan law, the term “assault with intent” is actually used to define two different crimes. The first crime is “assault with intent to commit sexual penetration.” This charge means the person intended to force sexual intercourse on someone else (see what is sexual penetration).

Another name for this charge is “attempted rape.” In Michigan, this is a felony charge and, if convicted, punishment includes a prison sentence of up to 10 years and mandatory registration on the states sex offender registry.

The second charge someone may face is “assault with intent to commit sexual conduct involving contact.” This is another felony charge, and a conviction may result in a five-year prison sentence.

Rape Defined

Rape is a type of sexual abuse or sexual assault that involves the penetration of the body. This includes unwanted oral penetration and sexual intercourse. If someone forces any type of sexual penetration on someone who does not want it, is not old enough to give consent, or is intoxicated, it is considered rape. While rape is not a word that is officially recognized by Michigan law, it is a common term that is used (see what is statutory rape).

Understanding the Difference between Rape and Sexual Assault

Both terms, sexual assault and rape, refer to some type of sexual harassment or sexual violence perpetrated by one person on another. Any type of unwanted sexual contact is considered a crime in the state of Michigan.

In most cases of unwanted sexual contact, the perpetrator is seeking sexual gratification from their rape victims. Understanding the state laws will help you better understand Michigan’s stance on these crimes. It is also wise to contact a criminal sexual conduct attorney or the National Sexual Assault Hotline, both of which can provide additional assistance with your situation.

Hire Blank Law, PC

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Are you facing sexual assault or rape charges? If so, contact top rape defense attorney Nicole Blank Becker of Blank Law, PC by calling (249) 515-6583. You can schedule a free consultation to discuss your charges and to begin building sexual assault defense strategies for your situation.

 

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