What is Sexual Abuse 3rd Degree?
Unwanted sexual contact is a crime in the state of Michigan. However, the type of sexual contact determines what criminal charges you face.
According to Michigan law, the term “criminal sexual conduct” or “CSC” is used to describe any type of illegal sexual act, sexual battery, and rape. While there are four different criminal sexual conduct degrees (also referred to as just sexual abuse or sexual assault), here you can learn more about third degree sexual abuse, when you can face these criminal charges, and why hiring an experienced criminal sexual conduct attorney is recommended.
Sexual Penetration is the Differentiating Factor in CSC Charges
The main factor that is used to differentiate the different degrees of CSC is if sexual penetration is involved or if the situation only involves unwanted sexual contact or touching (see: what is offensive touching?).
As mentioned above, one classification of illegal sexual assault or sexual abuse is third degree sexual abuse. It is like charges of criminal sexual conduct 1st degree because it relates to sexual penetration; however, it is not as severe.
When you are accused of sexual penetration, it means you will face either CSC 1st degree or 3rd degree sexual assault or sexual abuse charges. Sexual contact allegations are charged as CSC 2nd degree or CSC 4th degree.
It is worth noting that the term “sexual penetration” can actually mean several different things in Michigan. While it obviously means cases of sexual intercourse, other situations that are considered sexual penetration in Michigan include:
- The virtual penetration of the vagina with a finger, object, or something else
- The insertion of an object into another person’s anal or genital areas
- Cases of anal intercourse
- Oral sex that is performed on a man or woman
In any of these situations, you may face third degree sexual abuse or sexual assault charges.
What is Sexual Abuse 3rd Degree?
Based on Michigan law, if you face third degree sexual abuse or sexual assault charges, it means you are facing a felony that comes with a prison sentence of no more than 15 years. The situations where you may be found guilty of this crime include:
- The victim of the sexual assault was a person 13 thru 15 years old
- Coercion played a role in making the sexual penetration happen
- You were aware that the victim was physically helpless, mentally incapacitated, or mentally incapable
- The alleged victim in the situation was related to you by blood or affinity to the third degree, and the sexual assault occurs in some type of prohibited situation
Sex crimes may also be charged as CSC in the third degree if the victim of the unwanted sexual contact is between 16 and 18 and goes to school in a public or non-public school, and one of the following occurs:
- You are a substitute teacher or teacher in the school district where the alleged victim attends school (see: teacher sexual misconduct)
- You are an employee in a public school where the alleged victim attends and use this to gain access to them
- You are a teacher in the intermediate school district where the alleged victim receives special education services
- If you are not a student, but work as an employer or volunteer of the states assigned to provide some type of service to a school and you use this to enable the sexual assault
- You work or volunteer at a childcare center or foster home where the victim goes or lives, and the individual is at least 16, and the sexual abuse occurs while the alleged victim lives at that location
Punishments for a Third Degree Sexual Abuse or Sexual Assault Conviction
You may face serious and life–changing consequences if you are convicted of third degree sexual abuse or sexual assault in Michigan. The penalties are even more severe if the sexual penetration involves some type of bodily harm to the alleged victim.
With this conviction, you will face up to 15 years in prison. You will also be assessed court costs and criminal fines. The aspect of this conviction that impacts your life the most is that you must register as a sex offender on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry.
Once you are put on this registry, it means your name, personal information, and the specific offense will be listed in a public database. This can have serious negative restrictions, including being able to live in certain places and being denied employment opportunities. You may also lose your professional license or your current job if you are convicted of a sexual abuse or sexual assault charge. Being listed on the sex offender registry may also result in you losing custody of your children.
If you have ever been convicted of sex crimes like gross indecency, carnal knowledge, indecent liberties, or statutory rape in another state, you may face habitual offender sentencing enhancements. For situations where you are a habitual offender, you may face another five years in prison, which is the mandatory minimum sentencing for these situations, outlined in the Michigan statutes. For situations where you have prior convictions of sex crimes in Michigan, you will be labeled a habitual offender and receive the additional five-year sentence (at a minimum).
Additionally, the Michigan Supreme Court has recently ruled that the judge ruling over your case has the final discretion regarding sentencing. They are not required to adhere to the figures provided by the legislature. What this means is that the judge for your case can determine what sentence is reasonable for the situation and circumstances of your case. This can have a significant impact on your sentence. Hiring an experienced CSC defense attorney will ensure that you understand this and how it may affect your freedom and punishment. Learn more about the CSC 3rd degree Michigan penalty here.
Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney
Hiring an experienced Michigan rape defense attorney for help with third degree sexual abuse charges is recommended to protect your freedom. If you want the best chance of avoiding a prison sentence of up to 15 years, you must get the best possible representation for your case and situation.
You need to act quickly regarding sex crimes like sexual abuse or sexual assault. The longer your criminal defense attorney must work on your case, the more likely the outcome will be successful.
Our experienced and skilled sexual assault lawyers know how to beat sexual assault charges. They will work with you to ensure that your case receives the attention it deserves. Quality sex offender lawyers will evaluate and analyze all the evidence and details in the case to find everything that may help give you an advantage.
Regardless of what point of the legal proceedings you are at now, the right attorney can help. You should not allow unfamiliar legal jargon or skilled prosecutors to overwhelm or intimidate you. The right defense attorney will aggressively fight for your rights and freedom.
Protecting Your Rights and Freedom when Facing Third Degree Sexual Assault Charges
It can be confusing and overwhelming if you are facing third degree sexual abuse or sexual assault charges in Michigan. To give yourself the best possibility of a successful outcome for your case, it is necessary to hire an experienced and reputable attorney for help. They will review the facts of your case and help you achieve the best possible outcome. Learn what to look for in a criminal defense lawyer here.
Do you need help building strong sexual assault defense strategies for third degree sexual abuse or sexual assault charges? If so, contact Attorney Nicole Blank Becker at Blank Law, PC, by calling or texting (248) 515-6583, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also reach out via email on the law firm’s website.
Protecting your rights and freedom when facing criminal charges, like sexual assault, depends on the criminal sexual conduct defense strategy developed. Our legal team is ready to help you build a solid defense to ensure you have an effective strategy. Criminal defense can be challenging, but, with our help, we will work to take some of the stress and uncertainty out of your case.