Sex Crimes: Everything About Penalties and Convictions
Being charged with a sex crime in Michigan is an extremely serious matter that can put every aspect of your life at risk – your relationships, your career, your finances, and, most especially, your freedom. If convicted, you may even have to register as a sex offender.
So you know what’s at stake when you are accused of such an offense, here is a comprehensive list of the penalties for various sex crimes in Michigan. Knowing what you are potentially facing should factor in your decision when looking for the best sex crimes lawyer in Michigan.
The Michigan Penal Code defines a “sexually delinquent person,” also known as a “sex offender,” is anyone who:
- Engages in compulsive or repetitive sexual acts that indicate a disregard for the negative consequences or the recognized personal rights of others
- Uses force, the threat of force, or other forms of coercion against another person to attempt sexual relations
Examples of these kinds of sex crimes would include sexual assault, date rape, unwanted sexual contact or offensive touching, and human trafficking
- Commits sexual contact or aggression against a minor child under the age of consent, which is 16. This could include such sex crimes as statutory rape, possession of child pornography, or the criminal sexual abuse or sexual exploitation of a child.
Sex Crimes Against Children
Many sex crimes are committed against minor children under the age of 16, and the penalties for convicted sex offenders can be severe.
Accosting, Enticing, or Soliciting a Child for Immoral Purposes
Michigan Penal Code Sections 750.145a and 750.145b
This sex crime involves anyone who acts to induce or force a minor child to commit an immoral, indecent, or depraved act, including sexual intercourse or contact.
A felony conviction of accosting a child for immoral purposes is punishable by up to four years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $4,000.
Subsequent felony convictions are punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Possession of Child Sexually Abusive Material or Child Pornography
Michigan Penal Code Section 750.145c
This class of felony sex crimes is classified by any erotic or sexual depictions of a child under the age of 18. These illegal depictions can be on any viewable or transmittable medium – printed, video recording, mechanical, electronic, or sound – and may be originals or reproductions.
Of special importance, producing, transmitting, copying, or possessing these materials are against state and federal law, whether they actually include a child or appear to show a child engaged in a listed sexual act.
Any person who entices, coerces, or forces a child to engage in sexual conduct for use in sexually abusive material may be convicted of a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $100,000.
However, if the child is prepubescent, if the material depicts bestiality or sadomasochistic child abuse, or if the sexually abusive material contains a video or more than 100 unlawful images, the felony penalty is up to 25 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $125,000.
Knowingly financing, promoting, or distributing child pornography carries penalties of up to seven years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $50,000.
However, if the same aggravated circumstances listed above exist, then the penalty worsens to up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $75,000.
Finally, seeking, accessing, or possessing child sexually abusive material is a felony punishable of up to four years in prison and/or a fine of $10,000.
Aggravated circumstances carry stiffer penalties of up to 10 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $50,000, or both.
For anyone convicted of a second or subsequent violation of section 750.145c, the mandatory minimum sentencing is five years imprisonment.
Criminal Sexual Conduct in the First Degree
Michigan Penal Code Section 750.520b
Criminal sexual conduct 1st degree occurs when a person has sexual penetration with another under any of the following circumstances:
- The victim is a person under 13 years old
- The victim is at least 13, but younger than 16, and:
- Both parties live in the same home
- They are related by blood or affinity
- The actor/perpetrator uses their position of authority over the victim to force or coerce them into submission
- The perpetrator is a teacher, official, administrator, employee, contractor, or volunteer at the school or district where the victim is enrolled (see: teacher sexual misconduct)
- The perpetrator was an employee, contractor, or volunteer at the foster home or child care organization where the victim was a resident at the time of the sexual assault
- The penetrative criminal sexual act happened during the commission of another felony
- The victim is mentally disabled, incapable, or incapacitated or physically helpless
- The perpetrator coerces the victim through the use of a weapon, physical force, threats, extortion, or fear of future retaliation
Sexual abuse 1st degree is a felony that carries harsh penalties, including imprisonment of any length, including life.
For a perpetrator age 17 or older who is convicted of sexual assault against a victim younger than 13, the minimum mandatory sentence is 25 years, up to life imprisonment.
For violations involving a perpetrator older than 18 and victims younger than 13, a second or subsequent conviction can carry a penalty of life without the possibility of parole.
In addition to any other penalty, individuals convicted of CSC 1st degree are subject to lifetime electronic monitoring as convicted sex offenders. Learn more about the CSC 1st degree Michigan penalty here.
Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Second Degree
Michigan Penal Code Section 750.520c
Criminal sexual conduct 2nd degree is characterized by the same circumstances as a first degree violation, but now involves any sexual contact between the two parties, i.e. touching a person’s private parts.
CSC 2nd degree sex crimes are classified as felonies punishable by imprisonment of up to 15 years.
Additionally, if the violation involves a perpetrator over the age of 17 and a victim younger than 13, the Court will require sex offender registration and lifetime electronic monitoring. Learn more about the CSC 2nd degree Michigan penalty here.
Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Third Degree
Michigan Penal Code Section 750.520d
Criminal sexual conduct 3rd degree is very similar to a first degree criminal sexual act because both involve actual sexual penetration. The main difference is while first degree offenses typically involve unwanted, forced, or coerced sexual intercourse or activity, CSC 3rd degree can occur even when both parties are willing.
However, willingness does not necessarily qualify as the legal ability to give consent. This means that even if the victim engaged in the activity intentionally, they may have been too young or too mentally incapable to legally grant consent. This is why this charge is often referred to as statutory rape.
In other words, the court can still bring charges, even if the victim refuses to cooperate.
Since criminal sexual conduct in the third degree is a federal crime, it is classified as a felony punishable by a prison term of up to 15 years. Learn more about the CSC 3rd degree Michigan penalty here.
Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Fourth Degree
Michigan Penal Code Section 750.520e
Like second degree sex crimes, criminal sexual conduct 4th degree is also characterized by unlawful non-penetrative sexual touching of a person’s private parts.
The major determining factor behind which sex crimes charges are filed is the ages of the parties. If the victim is younger than 13, second degree charges are more likely. If the victim is 13 to 15 years old and the perpetrator is five or more years older, then 4th degree sexual assault charges will probably be filed.
Fourth degree sex crime charges are also warranted when the court believes it can prove that unlawful touching took place, but prosecutors do not have enough evidence to reasonably expect to get a second degree conviction.
Unlike other sex offenses of this type, CSC 4th degree violations are classified as misdemeanor sex crimes, punishable by up to two years in prison and/or a fine of up to $500. Learn more about the CSC 4th degree Michigan penalty here.
Michigan Penal Code Section 750.335a
There are three different degrees of indecent exposure that are sex crimes under Michigan law.
The first involves anyone who knowingly exposes their private or modesty area or that of another person.
The next level is when they are also fondling their genitals, buttocks, pubic area, or breasts.
The most serious type of indecent exposure is when the act is performed by individuals who are considered to be sexually delinquent, i.e. sex offenders.
In the State of Michigan, acts of indecent exposure are misdemeanor sex crimes.
First level penalty for indecent exposure is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, up to one year in prison, or both.
Second level indecent exposure doubles the potential penalty – a fine of up to $2,000 and/or up to two years imprisonment.
Sexually delinquent persons convicted of indecent exposure can be imprisoned indefinitely, from one day to life.
Gross Indecency Between Persons
Michigan Penal Code Sections 750.338 thru 750.338b
Sex crimes involving gross indecency between males, females, or males and females typically involve engaging in a sex act in public.
Gross indecency between persons is considered a felony in Michigan and is punishable by up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $2,500, or both.
Again, sexually delinquent persons convicted of gross indecency between persons can be imprisoned indefinitely, from one day to life.
Michigan Penal Code Sections 750.448 thru 750.462a
There are many sex crimes involving prostitution charges, which is the exchange of money for sexual intercourse or other sex acts. Charges can range from relatively minor offenses, such as solicitation charges or engaging in prostitution, to more serious offenses, such as operating a brothel or human trafficking.
Engaging in prostitution is a misdemeanor, and the maximum penalty for first-time offenders is a $500 fine and/or 93 days in jail. A second conviction is also a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or one year in prison.
However, a third or subsequent conviction now qualifies as a felony, with maximum penalties of 2 years in jail, a $2,000 fine, or both.
Soliciting or engaging the services of a prostitute is generally a misdemeanor with the same penalties prescribed for prostitution.
However, engaging or attempting to engage prostitution services from someone under the age of 18, i.e. solicitation of a minor, is a much more serious charge – a felony punishable by a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both.
Operating a brothel is a felony punishable by up to five years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $5,000. Knowingly letting or renting out a dwelling to someone who intends to use it for the purposes of prostitution is a misdemeanor carrying a fine of up to $750, up to six months in jail, or both.
Some crimes involving prostitution or sexual exploitation are serious felonies that are punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Most sex crimes of this nature involve forms of sex trafficking or sexual slavery.
Examples of these types of offenses include, but are not limited to, procuring inmates/sexual slaves for a brothel, coercing someone into prostitution by force or threats, abusing a position of authority to force someone to work as a prostitute, or receiving the earnings of someone working as a prostitute.
Under Michigan Penal Code Section 750.13, anyone who takes away or entices a minor child under the age of 16 for the purposes of prostitution has committed a felony punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment.
What Does All This Mean to YOU?
The biggest takeaway from this list of offenses and possible penalties is how important it is to have the right representation in court. Being convicted of a federal crime of a sexual nature will ruin your life – imprisonment, hefty fines, loss of reputation, and scandal. Sex offender registration will also limit where you live and work for the rest of your life.
To best protect yourself and your future, you need an experienced sex crimes defense attorney in Michigan who understands local and federal law and knows how to fight for your legal rights.
Sexual abuse or sexual assault charges are rarely black and white, and many facts are open to interpretation. Very often, when the prosecution is forced to produce provable facts that support the charges, they are unable to do so beyond a reasonable doubt.
That is what the best Michigan sex offender lawyers can do for you.
For over 20 years, Attorney Nicole Blank Becker has specialized in cases involving sex crimes. Her past experience as an Assistant Prosecutor working in local and federal court and her role as the former Chief of Macomb County’s Sex Crimes Unit and Child Abuse Crimes Unit gives her a unique insight on how to counter the prosecution’s claims.
If you are being charged with a sex crime in Michigan, Blank Law, PC is your first, last, and best line of defense.
For a FREE CONSULTATION about your case, contact us TODAY.