What is Sexual Battery?
In the state of Michigan, cases of sexual battery and sexual assault are more common than many realize. You will face sexual battery charges if you engage (or are accused of engaging) in sexual contact that does not involve sexual penetration or sodomy. This charge applies to some type of physical contact with a “sexual nature” that the other person has not consented to.
What is Sexual Battery?
According to Michigan law, the terms for sexual battery, sexual assault, and rape are included in the same descriptive term or criminal charge: Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC).
This means that sexual battery does not have unique charges or rules in the state. Instead, sex crimes are divided into four different degrees of CSC. The degrees of CSC in Michigan that apply to cases of sexual battery, sexual assault, and rape include:
- Criminal Sexual Conduct 1st Degree: This is a felony charge, and penalties include the possibility of life in prison and lifetime registration as a sex offender (see: CSC 1st degree Michigan penalty).
- Criminal Sexual Conduct 2nd Degree: This is a felony charge, and penalties include the possibility of up to 15 years in prison and the requirement to register as a sex offender (see: CSC 2nd degree Michigan penalty).
- Criminal Sexual Conduct 3rd Degree: This is a felony, and penalties include the possibility of up to 15 years in prison and the requirement to register as a sex offender (see: CSC 3rd degree Michigan penlaty).
- Criminal Sexual Conduct 4th Degree: This is a misdemeanor, and penalties include the possibility of a fine of up to $500 and up to two years in prison (see: CSC 4th degree Michigan penalty).
What is Considered Sexual Contact?
In Michigan, the key to any criminal sexual conduct charge is some type of sexual activity, either sexual touching or even sexual intercourse, without the other person’s consent.
You can face felony sexual battery or misdemeanor sexual battery charges in Michigan if you engage (or are accused of engaging) in the intentional touching of an alleged victim’s intimate parts or the clothing that covers those parts for the purpose of sexual arousal or sexual gratification (see: what is offensive touching?).
What if the Sexual Contact was Accidental?
Usually, cases of accidental sexual contact will probably result in CSC 4th degree or CSC 2nd degree charges. This is because to be charged with CSC 1st degree or CSC 3rd degree, sexual intercourse or sexual penetration must occur.
Most sexual abuse 4th degree charges involve some type of sexual contact that involves force or coercion or a victim who cannot legally consent due to their age, being inebriated by drugs or alcohol, or because of mental challenges.
Understanding Criminal Sexual Conduct Charges in Michigan
Since Michigan does not charge sexual battery differently than other sex crimes, learning more about the degrees of CSC is important.
Remember, if you are accused of any sexual battery crimes, it is recommended that you contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. The penalties for these crimes, even a misdemeanor sexual battery conviction, are severe and can affect your life in many ways.
CSC First Degree
Cases of first degree CSC occur when someone engages in a sexual act that involves touching using the tongue or mouth. It also involves cases of sexual penetration into the anus, mouth, or vagina by the accused person’s tongue, finger, penis, or an object.
This law applies when the alleged offender engages in this type of sex crime with a victim who is a person under 13. It is also considered a first degree criminal sexual act if sexual penetration occurs on a victim between the ages of 13 and 16, and the accused party is related to them, lives in the same house, or has authority over the victim (see: positions of authority). This includes a teacher, volunteer, or employee at the school, foster care operator, childcare worker, and more.
There are other factors to consider to determine if cases of sexual assault or sexual battery are charged as sexual abuse 1st degree, which include if a weapon is used or if coercion or force is used to engage in some type of unwanted touching to a victim’s sex organ. Additionally, if the sex act occurs during the commission of another felony, if the victim is incapacitated by alcohol or drugs, or has a mental health issue, then 1st Degree CSC charges will apply. These sex crimes are often referred to as “statutory rape.”
CSC Second Degree
Cases of sexual abuse 2nd degree involve touching of a sexual nature to another person’s genital area, breast, buttock, or the clothing over this area. If you are accused of this, then Michigan’s sexual battery laws will come into play. While this charge is not considered as serious as a 1st Degree CSC charge, you face serious penalties if you are accused of sexual battery due to unlawful sexual contact.
CSC Third Degree
This type of sex crime charge is like first degree charges; however, it does not include a person’s age or the sex offender’s authority or power over the victim. In sexual abuse 3rd degree cases, sexual penetration occurs with a person 13 thru 15 years old by the offender’s tongue, penis, or finger.
CSC Fourth Degree
If you are accused of sexual battery, you may be charged with 4th degree sexual assault. This includes unlawful sexual contact that occurs without the other person’s consent. Second and fourth degree CSC differs because of the age requirements.
A Further Breakdown of Sexual Battery Charges in Michigan
Each degree of criminal sexual conduct results in differences based on how the sexual abuse or sexual contact is described. Due to this, you may be charged with sexual battery for touching someone with the intent of sexual arousal, and sexual assault if sexual penetration occurs.
Due to the complexity of Michigan sex crime laws, it is smart to work with a criminal sexual conduct attorney who is familiar with the state’s criminal justice system. Developing an attorney-client relationship early in the process will help you create viable sexual assault defense strategies against allegations of sexual battery offenses.
Remember, if you are convicted of sexual battery or aggravated sexual battery, you will face several consequences, including the requirement for sex offender registration on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry. All sexual battery allegations are serious, and you should treat them as such.
Potential Effects of a Sexual Battery Conviction
It is important to note that in Michigan, sexual battery and aggravated sexual battery charges do not include criminal sexual penetration. While this is true, when a person is convicted of a sexual battery offense, they may face jail time and the requirement to be listed on Michigan’s Sex Offender Registry.
Some of the other issues you may face relate to the social aspect of this type of sex crime. Cases of sexual battery, sexual abuse, and others can result in the following issues that may impact your life now and in the future. A conviction of sexual battery can result in you facing the following:
- Restrictions related to where you can live (sex offenders are usually prohibited from living near schools and other places where children are)
- The loss of your professional license (i.e., nurses, doctors, lawyers, etc.)
- The loss of your job (in some cases) and difficulty finding new employment
- Challenges when searching for a rental property
- The loss of child custody (or a reduction in when you can see them)
- Immigration status changes if you are not a U.S. resident when you are convicted of sexual battery or other sex crimes
Based on a recent decision issued by the Supreme Court in Michigan, Judges now have the right to issue sentences they consider reasonable rather than following the guidelines set by the legislature regarding sexual battery charges and other sex crimes.
Due to the impact that a sexual battery conviction can have on your life (even if it does not involve criminal sexual penetration), it is recommended that you hire a CSC defense attorney who is familiar with these cases and working with the criminal justice system. This is especially important if you have a prior criminal history, since the penalties will likely be more severe in these cases. You can usually schedule a free consultation with a sex crimes defense lawyer to discuss the sexual battery charges against you.
What Should You Do if You are Facing Sexual Battery Charges in Michigan?
When facing sexual battery charges or if you are charged with another sex crime, the first step should be to contact a reputable rape defense attorney. When searching for sexual assault lawyers, it is best to find one who has experience with sexual battery charges and the criminal justice system. Learn more about what to look for in a criminal defense lawyer here.
You should make sure that you have an attorney representing your interests at each step of the process. This includes everything from the initial investigation into the sexual battery allegations up until the trial, and even appeal, if your case goes this far.
Sex crime charges, like sexual battery, can emotionally damage everyone involved. Most times, the trials are complex and emotionally charged. In many situations, it comes down to being a case of “he said, she said.” Due to this, you must have an attorney that represents your side of the situation. This will help you build a viable sexual battery defense.
Do Not Wait to Contact Attorney Nicole Blank Becker for Help with Your Sexual Battery Defense
Have you been accused of sexual battery in Michigan? If so, there is no question that it can be a scary and overwhelming situation. Due to the potential penalties you face, it is smart to immediately contact Attorney Nicole Blank Becker at Blank Law, PC. You can request a free consultation via phone at (248) 515-6583. You can contact the law firm 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Any type of sex crime charge is serious. You need a serious and experienced attorney to help you each step of the way. With decades of experience, you can count on Nicole Blank Becker to provide you with the quality and reputable criminal sexual condict defense you need and deserve.