What Does Criminal Sexual Conduct 2nd Degree Mean?
Criminal sexual conduct (CSC) in Michigan is the equivalent of sexual assault in other states.
According to Michigan law, CSC is categorized into four broad categories: first, second, third, and fourth degree CSC.
Irrespective of the degree or your CSC charge, a conviction for a criminal sexual conduct charge can be life-altering.
Besides possible lengthy jail time and costly fines, convicted offenders suffer damaged reputations, a permanent criminal record as a sex offender, and a state-enforced sex offender registration, ranging from 15 years up to a lifetime, depending on the degree of your charges and the age of the victim.
Defending your sex-related crimes in Michigan can be very complicated, with the odds almost always being stacked against the suspect. If you are under investigation or charged with a CSC in Michigan, it would be in your best interest to talk to a skilled Michigan attorney who only focusees on sexual assault cases to ensure that your rights and future are protected.
In this blog post, we’ll go over everything about criminal sexual conduct in the second degree, including definition, penalties, and possible defense strategies.
What Does Criminal Sexual Conduct 2nd Degree Mean?
Second degree CSC is a serious felony offense that involves unwanted sexual contact, without sexual penetration.
Second degree criminal sexual conduct is similar to CSC fourth degree in that both crimes do not involve penetration. However, they differ when it comes to the victim’s age and other circumstances surrounding the offense, of which we will discuss later.
Unwanted Sexual Contact
Under Michigan law, sexual contact is defined as willfully touching another person’s intimate parts, or the clothing covering those parts, for sexual gratification or arousal, revenge, anger, or to humiliate the person.
Sexual contact is not limited to touching the victim. If the defendant forced, coerced, or caused the victim to touch their intimate parts, it could also be considered sexual contact.
The parts of the body considered intimate include:
- Genital area
- Inner thigh
- Breast for females
When there is evidence of unwanted sexual touching, the defendant can be charged with either second degree criminal sexual conduct or fourth degree CSC. With that said, second degree CSC is the more serious offense of the two.
Elements of Sexual Contact that Constitutes Criminal Sexual Conduct 2nd Degree
Both second and fourth degree criminal sexual conduct involve unwanted sexual contact.
However, some elements in an individual case may be considered aggravating, resulting in a second degree criminal sexual conduct charge.
These elements include:
- The Victim is Less than 13 Years of Age
Sexual contact with a person under 13 years old results in a second degree criminal sexual conduct charge, irrespective of the underlying circumstances.
If the victim is between 13 and 16 years, the classification of the charges may change depending on the underlying circumstances, such as the relationship to the suspect and the complainant’s age.
- The Victim has a Mental or Physical Disability
Under MCL section 750.520c, a person may be charged with second degree criminal sexual conduct for having unwanted sexual contact with a mentally or physically challenged person if one of the following scenarios exist:
- The suspect is related to the complainant by blood or up to the fourth-degree familial affinity
- The suspect holds a presumed position of power over the complainant, which they abused to force or coerce the complainant into submission
- The defendant knew or should have known that the complainant was physically or mentally incapacitated
- The actor was aided in the commission of the offense
- The Suspect Inflicted Personal Injury During the Commission of the Offense
If there is evidence to prove that the suspect caused personal injuries through force or violence to achieve sexual contact, the injuries will be considered an aggravating factor resulting in a second degree criminal sexual conduct charge.
Under the law, personal injuries are not limited to physical injuries, such as bruises, scratches, cuts, or other forms of physical injuries. They also include mental anguish and stress associated with the victim’s experience during the commission of the offense.
The prosecution must provide the courts with evidence, including injuries visible in the victim’s body, medical records, police reports, and psychiatric evaluation reports, to prove physical or psychological injuries.
- The Defendant was Aided in the Commission of the Offense
If one or more persons aided the defendant to achieve sexual contact, the resulting charge is CSC 2nd degree, if any of the following circumstances exist:
- The suspect knew or ought to know that the victim was mentally or physically challenged or physically helpless during the commission of the offense
- The suspect used force or coercion to achieve sexual contact
Force or Coercion – force or coercion, as used under MCL section 750.520b(1)(f), include:
- Application of physical force or violence
- Threats to use force or violence
- Threats of future retaliation against the complainant
- Medical examination of the complainant that may be deemed unethical or unacceptable
- The use of element and surprise to overcome the complainant
- A Weapon was Used in the Commission of the Offense
If, while making sexual contact with the complainant, the defendant was armed or had an object designed to make the victim believe it was a weapon, this resulting charge will be criminal sexual conduct second degree.
- Sexual Offenses Occurred in the Process of Committing Another Offense
If the unwanted sexual contact occurred while the suspect was in the criminal process of committing another offense, for example kidnapping or robbery with violence, the resulting charge is criminal sexual conduct second degree.
Other Circumstances Resulting in a Second Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct Charge
- The victim is over the age of 13, but under 16, and:
- The offender abused their position of power to achieve sexual contact
- The offender has a blood or affinity relation to the victim up to the fourth degree
- The offender lives in the same household as the complainant
- The complainant suffers from mental or physical disability, and the suspect was aware of the fact or had reason to know the status of the complainant during the commission of the offense.
- The suspect has a power relationship with the victim, such as the teacher-student or warder-inmate relationship. This includes workers under any capacity in a school where the victim is a student or a children’s facility where the victim is a resident.
Penalties for Second Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct
2nd degree CSC is a serious felony, punishable by a maximum of 15 years in prison, upon conviction. Additionally, if the offense involved sexual contact with a victim under the age of 13, while the offender was over 17 years of age or more, the offender will be subjected to a lifetime of electronic monitoring.
If an offender has a history of sexual offense convictions, habitual offender sentencing enhancements may apply to a minimum of five years in prison.
It’s important to note that judges are not restricted to these statutory sentencing guidelines.
Following a Supreme Court ruling that placed the role of determining reasonable sentencing on the judges, they (the judges) have the power to decide on the appropriate sentence for every individual case, depending on the circumstances.
Other penalties/consequences of a second degree CSC conviction may include:
- Travel restrictions due to sex offender registration
- Difficulty finding employment or rental housing
- Problem obtaining professional licenses or registration
- Social stigma
Possible Defenses for Second Degree CSC
Anyone under 16 cannot consent to sexual touching in Michigan. That means consent may not apply as a defense strategy if the complainant is under 16 years old.
In most instances, the only viable defense for a second degree CSC would be that the alleged victim is not telling the truth. Painting a minor as a liar can be an uphill task and would require working with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
It’s not uncommon for persons to be accused of sexual offenses by others due to strained relationships or even custody and/or visitation disputes. If this is the case with you, your defense lawyer may use it as a strategy to destroy the credibility of the charges brought against you.
Let Attorney Nicole Blank Becker Help You with Your 2nd Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct Today!
When facing an investigation or such a charge as CSC, sexual battery, or any sex crime charge in Michigan, you want to work with an experienced sex crimes attorney to ensure your rights and future are protected.
Attorney Nicole Blank Becker is solely focused on sex crimes, meaning she is your best bet if you want to hire a Michigan-based criminal defense attorney.
Nicole has gained vast experience in handling sexual crimes during her twenty plus years of practice, and she is your best chance at getting the most favorable outcome for your charges.
Nicole’s greatest motivation is to ensure that the rights of her clients are upheld. She will fight feverishly for you.
Unlike other attorneys, Nicole Blank Becker focuses on building a solid attorney-client relationship that leaves her clients assured that she has their backs and that their confidential or sensitive information is safe with her.
Don’t take your chances with an inexperienced lawyer or a lawyer who won’t put your rights first. This is your life, and you only get one chance at freedom, so make sure you make the right choice for you and your family’s future.
Contact Blank Law, PC today at (248) 515-6583 or contact us online to book your free consultation and have Nicole Blank Becker working on your case.