Third degree criminal sexual conduct is the second most severe sex offense charge in Michigan. It is even harsher than the criminal sexual conduct 2nd degree charge. Third degree criminal sexual conduct refers to crimes involving sexual penetration that are not classified as criminal sexual conduct 1st degree.
3rd degree CSC covers cases involving minors (see: 3rd degree sexual abuse of a minor). It may also occur among teenagers. This CSC degree may also be committed when sexual penetration occurs between two consenting parties, even if the alleged victim does not feel sexually assaulted.
It does not matter if the alleged act involving sexual penetration is consensual. In a criminal sexual conduct 3rd degree case, the law is concerned about the involvement of a party who has not reached the legal age of consent in an activity involving sexual penetration. The law also considers whether the alleged victim was physically helpless or mentally incapacitated.
You risk receiving a lengthy jail term if you are found guilty of CSC 3rd degree in Michigan. Therefore, you should immediately contact a sex crimes defense lawyer. Attorney Nicole Blank Becker is a Michigan criminal sexual conduct attorney who can advise and fight for you aggressively in court.
Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct
Third degree criminal sexual conduct refers to crimes involving sexual penetration. It occurs in the following circumstances:
- When the alleged victim is a person 13 thru 15
- When the alleged victim is between 16 and 18 and the perpetrator is a teacher, substitute teacher, or another member of the school staff where the victim is enrolled (see: teacher sexual misconduct)
- It may also occur when the victim and offender are related
- The victim is physically helpless or mentally incapacitated
- When the victim is between the ages of 16 and 26 and is receiving special education services
According to Michigan Compiled Laws, MCL 750.520d,
(1) A person is guilty of criminal sexual conduct in the third degree if the person engages in sexual penetration with another person and if any of the following circumstances exist:
- That other person is at least 13 years of age and under 16 years of age.
- Force or coercion is used to accomplish sexual penetration. Force or coercion includes, but is not limited to, any of the circumstances listed in section 520b(1)(f)(i) to (v).
- 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 fourth degree, and the sexual penetration occurs under circumstances not otherwise prohibited by this chapter. 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.
- 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:
(i) 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.
(ii) 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 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:
(i) The actor is a teacher, substitute teacher, administrator, employee, or contractual service provider of the public or nonpublic school from which that other person receives special education services. This subparagraph does not apply if both persons are lawfully married to each other at the time of the alleged violation.
(ii) 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.
- 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 penetration occurs during that other person’s residency. As used in this subdivision, “child care organization,” “foster family home,” and “foster family group home” mean those terms as defined in section 1 of 1973 PA 116, MCL 722.111
Other Degrees of Criminal Sexual Conduct Under Michigan Law
Criminal sexual conduct (CSC) refers to all sex-related offenses in Michigan. Sexual acts occurring in the following circumstances are considered to be sex crimes:
- The victim is a minor
- The sexual act violates public decency standards
- The sexual act is non-consensual, even though it occurs between two adults
CSC offenses include statutory rape, sexual assault, child pornography, indecent exposure, and lewd conduct. There are four degrees of criminal sexual conduct, including third degree CSC. The other degrees are
CSC 1st Degree
First degree criminal sexual conduct refers to the gravest sex offenses, such as rape, sexual assault, and child sexual abuse. A person may be prosecuted with first degree criminal sexual act if they engage in vaginal, oral, or anal sexual penetration without the other person’s permission. Also, 1st degree CSC occurs when the victim is a person under 13 or a person with a physical or mental disability. 1st degree CSC is a felony punishable by a maximum life sentence (see: CSC 1st degree Michigan penalty).
CSC 2nd Degree
Crimes involving unwanted sexual contact fall under second degree criminal sexual conduct. It does not cover crimes involving sexual penetration. A person may be prosecuted with 2nd degree CSC for touching someone else sexually without that person’s consent (see: what is offensive touching?).
2nd degree CSC also occurs if the victim is a minor under 13, a person with a physical or mental impairment, or someone who believes the perpetrator to be in a position of authority over them. Criminal sexual conduct 2nd degree carries a heavy punishment and a possible prison term of 15 years, per the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines (see: CSC 2nd degree Michigan penalty).
CSC 4th Degree
Minor sex crimes involving non-consensual sexual contact in Michigan are typically covered by criminal sexual conduct 4th degree. You may be charged with 4th degree sexual assault for touching another person on the breasts, inner thighs, buttocks, or crotch without that person’s permission. Criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree carries a maximum 2-year prison sentence (see: CSC 4th degree Michigan penalty).
When Should You Talk to a Sex Crimes Lawyer?
You must consult a skilled Michigan sex crimes lawyer once you suspect the police may contact you regarding the commission of a sex crime. Third degree criminal sexual conduct can be tricky, mainly because you may not feel like you have committed a crime. However, you could be convicted and punished severely for this criminal offense (see: CSC 3rd degree Michigan penalty).
Therefore, you should immediately hire a CSC defense attorney if you have been arrested or charged with third degree criminal sexual conduct in Michigan. An excellent attorney will assist you in preparing for a police investigation and advise you on communicating with law enforcement officers to avoid accidentally incriminating yourself. Your rape defense attorney will also help you develop sexual assault defense strategies designed to help you avoid a conviction or face lesser penalties.
Nicole Blank Becker is a seasoned criminal defense attorney who fights for those facing sexual assault allegations in Michigan. She can help you handle the complexities of the criminal justice system and get the best result possible in your CSC case.
Penalties for a Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct Conviction
You will be charged with third degree CSC if you participate in an act that involves sexual penetration with a minor between 13 and 15. Third degree CSC has severe consequences that may permanently change your life. After 1st degree CSC, 3rd degree CSC has the second harshest penalty.
Criminal sexual conduct in the third degree carries a maximum 15–year jail sentence. There is also a mandatory minimum sentencing of one year on those guilty of 3rd degree CSC. In addition, you must register with the Michigan Sex Offender Registry. In some cases, you could be subjected to lifetime electronic monitoring as well.
Other consequences of a 3rd degree CSC conviction include losing your visa as an immigrant, job, or license as a professional. You may also be placed on the Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry in Michigan. A sex crime conviction affects your relationships, reputation, and overall quality of life.
This is why you need to go with top sex crime lawyers to help you fight third degree CSC charges. You increase your chances of avoiding a conviction with the aid of a skilled CSC defense attorney.
Attorney Nicole Blank Becker is a top Michigan defense lawyer who can help you create an aggressive criminal sexual conduct defense to keep you out of jail or get the penalty reduced. Contact her for a Michigan criminal defense attorney free consultation today.
Legal Defenses for Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct Charges
A solid defense is the best way to handle sexual assault allegations. Anyone who accuses you of 3rd degree criminal sexual conduct must back it up with proof. Also, the prosecuting attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime. Therefore, you may avoid a sexual assault conviction by refuting the prosecution’s claims.
Consult with experienced sexual assault lawyers if you want to challenge the allegations against you. With the help of the right defense attorney, you can lessen the severity of the criminal charges brought against you or get them dropped altogether.
There are several legal defenses available to those accused of 3rd degree CSC. It would help if you determined which defense(s) is most suitable for your particular case.
Consent is one of the most popular defenses in CSC cases. However, it is only applicable if the alleged victim is an adult who is not physically or mentally incapacitated. Since 3rd degree CSC cases often include minors who have not reached the age of consent, it may not qualify as a valid defense in such cases.
A mistaken identity is another potential legal defense in Michigan CSC cases. There are several reasons a victim or law enforcement authorities may wrongly identify someone as the perpetrator of the offense. These reasons include intoxication, drunkenness, and mishandling of DNA evidence.
Additionally, if there were witnesses at the alleged crime scene, they could exonerate you in court by testifying. Also, if you have a solid alibi, along with witnesses to back it up, you could show that you are innocent of the offense. In some situations, you could also call a character witness in court to show that you are not someone who engages in sexual violence.
Finally, you could work out a plea agreement depending on the situation. However, you must admit that you committed the alleged offense to get a plea deal from the prosecution. The implication of a plea deal is a reduced sentence. So, while you will not be exonerated from the offense or free from punishment, a plea bargain can reduce your sentence. You should consult a criminal defense lawyer to explore this route.
At Blank Law, PC, we defend those facing sexual assault claims. Once you initiate an attorney-client relationship with us, we will work with you to develop an aggressive CSC defense strategy tailored to your circumstances. Please fill out this online form to arrange a free case evaluation with our law office.
Can Your Record Be Removed from the Sex Offender Registry?
Anyone found guilty of a criminal sex act is required to register as a sex offender. This requirement applies to defendants convicted of 3rd degree criminal sexual conduct in Michigan. The Michigan Sex Offender Registry keeps track of convicted offenders’ private and public criminal histories. The records include information about the offenses and the offenders’ names, residences, photos, and registration numbers. It can be challenging to find employment, find housing, or integrate into society with a criminal record as a sex offender.
Convicted offenders can delete their records from the registry under rare circumstances. However, the procedure is time-consuming and challenging, so you would benefit from assistance from a skilled criminal defense lawyer. You can erase a conviction for a tier 1 sex offender offense from your record after 15 years. You can also delete a conviction for a tier 2 sex offender offense from your record after 25 years. However, you can not delete your record if your crime is classified as a tier 3 sex offender offense. Learn how to get off the sex offender registry in Michigan here.
You may need to discuss your case with sexual abuse lawyers in Michigan to know which tier your offense belongs to. A CSC defense attorney can also advise you on deleting your criminal record if it is an available option.
Is the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA) Applicable?
Facing criminal charges for sexual assault can be terrifying, especially considering the implications of being convicted of a sex crime. Not only do you face potential jail time and hefty fines, but you also risk having a criminal record as a sex offender.
Fortunately, Michigan law allows eligible offenders to have their criminal offenses dismissed. According to the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA), a person accused of a crime, who was between the ages of 18 and 24 at the time the crime was committed, can admit guilt without a conviction appearing on their criminal record.
The implication of the provisions of HYTA for sex offenders is that they plead guilty to the crime, but their record does not show a conviction for the offense. Also, they are not required to register as a sex offender.
Although HYTA does not typically apply to many criminal sexual conduct cases, there is a chance that you may be eligible if you meet all the requirements. It may be applicable in a third degree CSC case if the alleged victim is 13 or older, but under 16. However, you should know that the court does not apply the provisions of the act in every 3rd degree CSC case meeting the eligibility requirements.
You need to consult a seasoned criminal defense lawyer to determine if your CSC case is eligible for the provisions of HYTA. Only the judge can grant HYTA to defendants between 18 and 21. However, the prosecution must consent before the judge can issue HYTA to defendants between the ages of 21 and 24. In cases where you cannot get HYTA for a 3rd degree CSC charge, you may be allowed to plead guilty to a lesser offense instead.
Contact our sex offender lawyers at Blank Law, PC to ascertain if you meet the eligibility criteria for the provisions of HYTA. We can advise you on alternative options and legal defenses to avoid a conviction for 3rd degree CSC in Michigan.
Do Statutes of Limitation Apply?
In some situations, a criminal case may no longer be prosecuted after a specific duration. It is invalid if a prosecutor files a case against an accused person after the specified period has passed. Thus, the person can no longer be accused of committing that crime.
A statute of limitations is the time restriction during which the prosecution may bring legal action against an accused party. This period begins to count from the day the criminal act was allegedly committed. Once that period has passed, the prosecution is prevented from bringing criminal charges against the accused. However, if it has not passed, the accused can be charged.
The statute of limitations does not apply to felony offenses, like first degree CSC. However, for 3rd degree CSC, judicial action must be taken against the perpetrator before the alleged victim turns 28 or 15 years following DNA identification.
Hire Michigan Sex Crimes Attorney Nicole Blank Becker if You Are Charged With Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct
Female criminal defense attorney Nicole Blank Becker is a top lawyer in Michigan with years of experience handling cases involving sex offenses. She can defend you if you or a loved one has been charged with third degree CSC. She can also provide insight into how the criminal justice system works and advise you on potential legal defenses available in your CSC case.
Once you establish an attorney-client relationship with us at Blank Law, PC, our legal team will assist you in improving your prospects of successfully beating the sexual offense allegations brought against you. Nicole’s background as a former sex crime prosecutor gives her a distinct advantage in assisting you in creating an aggressive CSC defense. Call (248) 515-6583 to schedule a free consultation with our legal team now.