What is Sexual Abuse 1st Degree?
In Michigan, the first degree charge of criminal sexual abuse, which falls under “criminal sexual conduct,” is the most serious sex offense you can be charged with. This charge usually involves crimes like sexual assault, sexual abuse, or statutory rape. It also includes actions that people think of as child molestation or rape, sexual abuse, criminal sexual contact, or sexual assault with or of someone with a physical or mental disability.
What is Sexual Abuse 1st Degree?
This type of sexual misconduct comes with serious consequences if you are convicted. Some of these include:
- The potential of a significant prison sentence can include a life sentence
- Having to pay significant court costs and criminal fines
- A permanent criminal record as a sex offender
- Michigan lifetime electronic monitoring
- Denial or loss of employment
- Losing custody of your children
- Application denial for rental housing or restrictions on the places where you can live
- Impact on immigration status for non-U.S. citizens
- Denial or loss of professional license
Sex offense charges, especially more serious ones like criminal sexual conduct 1st degree, can cause a complex situation. In some situations, it even puts former romantic partners and family members against one another.
In cases of sex crimes, like sexual abuse, there is a societal presumption of guilt, especially if it involves a child or someone who is physically helpless. This is true no matter the facts of the case. If you are facing any type of sexual abuse or sexual contact charge, having an experienced criminal sexual conduct attorney on your side is recommended.
You should not wait until first degree sexual abuse charges are filed against you to seek legal representation. Having a sex crimes defense lawyer representing you while the police are questioning you will ensure that your rights are not violated or that your statements are taken out of context. Learn what happens if you don’t talk to a detective here.
Understanding First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct Charges in Michigan
There are a few ways that you may have first degree sexual contact charges filed against you. Many actions can result in this charge. Some of the most common that cause this serious of a charge include:
- If sexual penetration occurs with a person under 13 years of age
- If sexual penetration occurs with a child between the ages of 13 and 16 who lives in your home or who is your relation to the fourth degree or that you have a position of authority over in a manner that allows you to use coercion or forcible compulsion
- Sexual penetration of someone while engaging in another felony
- Sexual penetration of someone when you have a weapon or something the other party believes is a victim
- Causing an injury to someone while using coercion or force to achieve sexual penetration
- Causing an injury to someone while engaging in sexual penetration when you are aware they are mentally or physically helpless
What is Coercion or Force in First Degree Sexual Abuse Cases?
In Michigan, force or coercion are defined as any act of violence or physical force to make sexual contact possible. This includes threats of violence or force in a situation where the victim believes you can follow through with them. It also involves cases of retaliation threats or conducting an unacceptable or unethical treatment or medical exam of the victim. It also includes situations where you use surprise to overcome your sexual abuse victim.
The statute also makes situations where you use a relationship or position where you have authority over someone to coerce sexual penetration or to establish some type of relationship with the victim to engage in touching or contact with sexual or intimate parts. Learn what offensive touching is here.
Potential Penalties for a Conviction of First Degree Sexual Abuse in Michigan
If you are convicted of first degree criminal sexual abuse or sexual contact, you may face a prison term that ranges from just a few months to life in prison. However, there are specific sentencing requirements if the charge is considered child sexual abuse when you committed the offense. These include:
- If you were 17 years old or older when the offense occurred and your victim was under 13, the minimum prison sentence is 25 years
- If you were 18 years or older when the offense occurred and your victim was under 13, the Michigan statutes state you will be sentenced to life in prison without parole
Also, if you are sentenced to less than a life sentence, the statute requires ongoing electronic monitoring by the state for the remainder of your life. Learn more about the CSC 1st degree Michigan penalty here.
What to Expect if You are Facing First Degree Sexual Abuse or Assault Charges?
When you are facing any type of sex crime charge, you may wonder what to expect. For example, will you face a class D felony charge, a class C felony charge, or something else?
You may also wonder how to build a viable defense to prove your innocence. However, something to understand is that when it comes to criminal charges related to first degree sexual abuse or other sex crimes, it is not your job (nor the job of your CSC defense attorney) to prove you are innocent. The burden of proof lies with the prosecuting attorney, and it is your attorney’s job to use evidence and testimony to create reasonable doubt in the mind of the jury or judge that you did not commit the first degree criminal sexual act you have been charged with.
The prosecution in your first degree sexual abuse case will use testimony from the victim and forensic evidence to help prove their case. Your attorney will search for potential weaknesses and holes in the prosecution’s argument to create reasonable doubt.
When it comes to cases of sexual abuse or sexual assault, it often comes down to a “he said, she said” situation. However, as with any criminal sexual act you are accused of, you must take this charge seriously. First degree sexual assault is serious, and in cases where the prosecution must prove that you abused a victim to achieve sexual gratification, you must have a solid defense and reputable sexual assault lawyers on your side.
Your Rights when Charged with First Degree Sexual Abuse, Assault, or Conduct
In most cases where first degree sexual abuse or assault is charged, the prosecution will conduct a full investigation to determine what happened. Your attorney will do the same. Learn how long you can be under investigation here.
Due to the serious penalties associated with first degree sexual abuse convictions, having a rape defense attorney is really a “no-brainer.” This is particularly true if issues like forcible compulsion or coercion have been alleged.
Remember, if the victim is a child or physically helpless, the ability to appear innocent in front of a jury is significantly limited. However, with the help of experienced sex crimes attorney Nicole Blank Becker, you can feel confident you will have the best possible sexual assault defense strategies for your case.
Get Help with Your Sexual Abuse Case
If you face sexual abuse charges in Michigan against anyone, including a child or someone physically helpless, get in touch with our law firm, Blank Law, PC, immediately. We will work on your behalf to help you avoid registering as a sex offender on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry and help you restore your reputation and good name if you are found not guilty.
Are you facing sexual abuse charges in Michigan? Could you benefit from the services of a reputable and experienced sex crimes attorney? If so, Attorney Nicole Blank Becker can provide the legal services you need and provide you with a Michigan criminal defense attorney free consultation.