What is Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse?
When a person commits an act of sexual conduct with another person without their consent, it is illegal. Any unwanted sexual activity between two or more people is called sexual abuse. When aggravating circumstances exist, such as the victim being a minor, the offender may be charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
In many states, aggravated sexual abuse is regarded as a felony. As a result, those found guilty of this offense frequently receive harsh punishment. The penalty includes an imprisonment sentence and compulsory registration as a sex offender.
If someone accuses you or your family member of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, your life may take a drastic turn. Not only is your freedom at risk, but your reputation, relationships, and even employment prospects may also be negatively affected.
It is crucial to seek legal assistance from an experienced sex crimes defense lawyer after an arrest for aggravated criminal sexual abuse charges. You need to act fast because an aggravated sexual abuse charge is pretty severe, and it takes time to build a solid defense. At Blank Law, PC, we provide excellent representation for defendants facing criminal charges. Reach out to us for a Michigan criminal defense attorney free consultation today.
What is Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse?
It is against the law when a person commits an act amounting to aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Any form of sexual assault involving a victim who is a physically handicapped person, has a profound intellectual disability, or is rendered incapacitated by the administration of a controlled substance is considered aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Also, where sexual assault results in the victim’s wounding, maiming, disfigurement, or other bodily harm, it is regarded as aggravated sexual abuse.
In addition, aggravated criminal sexual abuse may include sexual assault cases involving the use of a dangerous weapon. It may also occur when someone commits an act with the help of a third party. Aggravated criminal sexual abuse can even happen when a person commits an act while any other felony is being committed during the same course of events.
A person commits aggravated criminal sexual abuse if they engage in criminal sexual abuse while any of the following aggravating circumstances exist during the illegal activity:
● The perpetrator causes bodily harm to the victim
● The sexual abuser acts in a way that endangers the life of the victim or another person
● The person commits an act of sexual abuse while committing or attempting to commit any other felony, like kidnapping, homicide, arson, or robbery
● The victim is mentally incapacitated
● The victim suffers a physical disability
● The person administers a controlled substance (such as a rape drug) to the victim without the victim’s consent by force or coercion, threats, or deception
● The perpetrator shows, threatens to use, or utilizes a dangerous weapon in a way that gives the victim a reason to believe that the object is a dangerous weapon in those circumstances
Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse Based on the Age of the Victim
Cases of sexual abuse may become aggravated because of the victim’s age or the defendant’s age. For example, someone may be arrested for aggravated criminal sexual abuse if the person commits an act of sexual conduct with a victim who is 60 years old or older.
The law provides that a person commits aggravated criminal sexual abuse if that person commits an act of sexual conduct with a victim below 18 and a member of the perpetrator’s family. Also, a person commits aggravated criminal sexual abuse if they commit an act of sexual conduct with a victim who is between 13 to 17 years old and is supervised, under the authority, or in the care of the perpetrator.
In addition, someone 17 or older may be charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse if the person commits an act of sexual conduct with a victim below 14. It may also amount to aggravated criminal sexual abuse if someone 17 or older commits an act of sexual conduct with a victim between 13 and 17 years old by coercion or the threat of force.
Aggravated criminal sexual abuse charges are not just brought against adults or people who have reached the age of 17. A juvenile (someone under 17) can also face aggravated criminal sexual abuse charges if the person commits an act of sexual conduct with a victim below the age of 9. A juvenile may also be charged with aggravated sexual abuse if the person commits an act of sexual conduct with a victim between 9 and 17 years of age by coercion or the threat of force. (Learn more about if criminal sexual abuse can happen between two minors here).
Furthermore, someone commits aggravated criminal sexual abuse charges if the person commits an act of sexual conduct with a victim between 13 and 17 years (particularly an act involving sexual penetration) and the defendant is at least five years older than the victim.
What is the Difference Between Criminal Sexual Assault, Criminal Sexual Conduct, and Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse?
Sexual assault refers to any unwanted act of sexual conduct with a victim. All forms of sexual assault in Michigan are called criminal sexual conduct (CSC). Generally, Michigan sex offenses are grouped into four degrees of criminal sexual conduct:
● Criminal Sexual Conduct 1st Degree
● Criminal Sexual Conduct 2nd Degree
● Criminal Sexual Conduct 3rd Degree
● Criminal Sexual Conduct 4th Degree
CSC 1st degree and CSC 3rd degree cover cases involving sexual penetration. Sexual penetration refers to inserting a part of one’s body, including the penis, fingers, or tongue, into an opening in another person’s body.
1st and 3rd degree criminal sexual conduct charges are punishable by lengthy prison sentences, including life imprisonment, and hefty fines. CSC 2nd degree and CSC 4th degree cover cases involving unwanted sexual contact, not sexual penetration (learn more about what is offensive touching here). They are also punishable by prison sentences and fines. Any person convicted of criminal sexual conduct must also register with the Michigan Sex Offender Registry. Aggravated sexual assault is where aggravating situations exist.
Although criminal sexual assault and criminal sexual abuse are frequently used interchangeably, they constitute separate charges in Michigan. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the difference between sexual abuse and sexual assault. Criminal sexual abuse is typically used in relation to minors or cases of non-consensual sexual activity.
Michigan criminal law states that any person below the age of 16 is incapable of giving consent (learn more about the age of consent in Michigan here). Sex crimes, like child molesting felony charges and child sexually abusive activity, are generally referred to as sexual abuse. They may also be called predatory criminal sexual assault of a child or aggravated criminal sexual assault.
What are the Penalties for Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse Under Michigan Law?
Aggravated criminal sexual abuse is a serious offense with severe penalties. It is typically considered a felony in many states and is punishable by an imprisonment sentence, hefty fine, or both. The severity of the punishment often depends on the severity of the aggravating circumstances.
Other factors which could influence the severity of the punishment include:
● The defendant’s previous criminal record
● If the victim suffered bodily harm
● Any relevant personal information about the perpetrator
● Whether the defendant is genuinely remorseful
Any person convicted of aggravated criminal sexual abuse may be imprisoned for 3 to 7 years. In some states, the imprisonment sentence could range from 5 to 15 years. Also, where the victim is a minor below 16, some states prescribe a minimum sentence of 20 to 25 years in prison for any offender found guilty. In certain circumstances, aggravated criminal sexual abuse may also carry a maximum life sentence.
Any person convicted of aggravated criminal sexual abuse may also be required to pay a fine of up to $25,000. In addition, they would be mandated to register with the Michigan Sex Offender Registry. The registry contains criminal records of people convicted of sex crimes and is available to the public.
Anyone can access personal information about sex offenders on the registry, including their name, picture, address, and crime details. This public criminal record could cause stigmatization and prevent offenders from accessing particular employment or housing opportunities,
Depending on the offense, a sex offender may be required to maintain a permanent criminal record with the sex offender registry (learn more about if the sex offender registry is for life here). Sex offenses are grouped into three sex offender tier levels, determining the duration of keeping a record as a sex offender. For example, the minimum duration for maintaining a Tier 1 sex offender record is 15 years.
What are the Potential Legal Defenses to Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse Charges Under Michigan Law?
The law allows you to defend yourself if you have been accused of aggravated sexual abuse in Michigan. The prosecution must prove that the defendant committed the offense without a reasonable doubt. If you can weaken the prosecution’s case by casting doubt on their claim, you may be able to defeat the charges against you.
You need to hire a seasoned criminal sexual conduct attorney to build a solid criminal sexual conduct defense against aggravated sexual abuse charges. With the assistance of an experienced CSC defense attorney, you may be able to reduce the severity of the charges against you or even eliminate them.
The most common defense in an aggravated sexual abuse charge is a case of mistaken identity. Suppose you can prove that the authorities have your identity confused with the actual perpetrator. In that case, it is a valid legal defense against the charges.
Another defense is a reasonable and honest belief that the victim is above the legal age of consent. Although this defense may not entirely exonerate you from the charges, it can reduce the sentence. Also, where the victim is 17 or older, and the sexual activity was consensual, it could serve as a valid defense against the charges.
Contact the Top Sex Crime Defense Attorney to Fight Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse Charges in Michigan
You need to contact a top rape defense attorney if you or your family member is arrested or charged with aggravated sexual abuse charges (learn more about what to look out for in a criminal defense lawyer here).
The penalties of an aggravated criminal sexual abuse charge are pretty harsh. They can have a permanent and adverse effect on your life. Even if you have been falsely accused or suspect that it is a case of mistaken identity, you need to contact sexual assault lawyers immediately.
Attorney Nicole Blank Becker is a top defense lawyer in Michigan specializing in sex crimes. Once you establish an attorney-client relationship, she can help you develop the best sexual assault defense strategies tailored to your case to ensure the best possible outcome. Contact her at (248) 515-6583 for a free consultation.