While Michigan does NOT have an actual criminal charge called “Statutory Rape” (statutory rape laws), the term statutory rape is often used interchangably when talking about an accuser’s age and whether or not legally he/she is able to consent to sexual relations or sexual intercourse with you.
What is Statutory Rape?
The actual term “Statutory Rape” (i.e. carnal knowledge) comes from the idea that the statutory rape statutes in whatever state you live in has an age in which a person can legally consent in any sexual relations or sexual intercourse. If the person who engages in sexual relations or sexual intercourse is under the statutory age allowed, it is often referred to as “Statutory Rape” or carnal knowledge.
The age of consent in every state is different. Knowing the age of consent in your state and the statutory rape laws will make the difference between having consensual sex or non-consensual sex or sexual intercourse, i.e. statutory rape.
AGE OF CONSENT IN MICHIGAN
Per the state law in Michigan, for purposes of criminal sexual conduct charges (i.e. statutory rape laws), a person who is 16 years of age or older is considered an adult and able to consent to sexual intercourse, which involves sexual penetration or sexual intercourse, while a person who is 15 years of age or younger is considered a minor and is unable to consent to sexual intercourse.
If you are under the certain age of 16 years, you are legally incapable to consent to ANY type of sexual relations or sexual intercourse, no matter what the circumstances, as it can result into statutory rape charges.
Even if a minor wants to participate in sexual intercouse with an adult, the law concerning statutory rape says that he/she cannot. This is considered unlawful sex or statutory rape.
CONSENSUAL vs. NON-CONSENSUAL SEX
Consensual sex (oral, vaginal or anal) is defined as sexual contact or sexual intercourse between two willing adults that legally consent to such sexual acts; in other words, both adults engaging wanted to participate.
Non-consensual sex (statutory rape) is defined as sexual contact or sexual intercourse between two adults, and one of the adults claims they did not want to participate or did not legally consent to such sexual acts (commonly known as statutory rape).
Additionally, non-consensual sex is defined as sexual contact or sexual intercourse that occurs when an adult (16 years old and older) engages in any type of sexual intercourse with a minor (15 years old or under), which is also known as statutory rape.
Examples of this are:
- If two adults engage in sexual contact or sexual intercourse, and one of the adults claims to have been raped, you may be charged with statutory rape, criminal sexual conduct 1st degree, or criminal sexual conduct 3rd degree. It does not matter the type of relationship you and the accuser have.
This means even if the adult is your girlfriend, boyfriend, long time lover, husband or wife, who engaged in what he/she now claims to have been non-consensual sexual intercourse, he/she can still claim statutory rape. It will end up being a “he said–she said,” “he said–he said,” or “she said-she said.” These types of claims are often best sorted out in a jury trial.
- If two minors engage in sexual contact or sexual intercourse, even if they both wanted to, under the state statutory rape law it is automatically considered to be non-consensual (statutory rape) on both. Each minor can legally be charged with CSC 3rd degree.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: WHAT IF THEY LIED ABOUT THEIR AGE?
A: In Michigan statutory rape laws, the mistake of age is NOT a defense. It does NOT matter what age or age difference he/she told you they were.
A minor may purposely lie to you about their certain age, but when it comes to the law concerning statutory rape, it does NOT matter that a minor lied to you about his/her age or if she/he says she’s/he’s 18 years old. You, as the individual who is of the legal age of consent, an adult, has strict liability and is responsible for finding out and confirming the age of the person you choose to engage in a sexual act with.
The only person who will be charged with a sexual misconduct charge will be you.
Q: WHAT IF THE MINOR INITIATED SEX?
A: Even if a minor initiates sex with you, an adult, the law says that you, as the adult, will be charged with criminal sexual conduct – statutory rape – because the minor has no legal right to give consent (age of consent). Even if the minor tells you that he/she is willing to get involved with you sexually, it is still against the law to do so.
Q: WHAT IF THEIR PARENTS ARE OK WITH IT?
A: In Michigan, there is NO law that says a parent can waive the age of consent for a child. Therefore, regardless of what your parents allow when it comes to sex with a minor, the law in Michigan stands.
There are times when one parent will look the other way and allow for it, but the other parent is dead set against it. Don’t risk the other parent finding out and telling the authorities.
Q: WHAT IF WE MET ON A DATING WEBSITE AND TOLD ME THEY WERE 18 YEARS OLD?
A: In order to be on most dating websites you have to be at least 18 years old. With that said, it is very easy for a minor to lie and sign-in as an 18 year old.
Most dating sites do not do background checks to confirm a person’s age. Whatever age the person claims to be, so long as it’s 18 years or older, they will be allowed to participate on the website. Therefore, you enter at your own risk.
In other words, prior to arranging to meet up with someone through a dating site, and engage in sexual acts or sexual penetration, you must do your homework and confirm that the other person is in fact the age they “claim” to be. If you don’t, after that one night stand or once you’re in too deep emotionally to say no, you will find yourself slapped with a criminal sexual conduct charge.
Q: WHAT IF I DIDN’T KNOW THEIR AGE UNTIL AFTER WE HOOKED UP?
A: The risk you take by romantically talking to a minor is tremendous. You should find out ASAP what the age of the other person is.
Typically, there is a period of time, prior to meeting up, that you get to know one another. Ask probing questions to find out how old that person is. For example, ask where they went to high school/college, when they graduated from high school/college, where they lived when they were in high school/college, and who were some of their favorite teachers or classes?
This way, by a touch of a few buttons on the internet, you can do your own investigation and confirm the age of the person you may end up falling for and engage in sexual contact or sexual intercourse with.
Q: DO I NEED TO IMMEDIATELY FIND THE AGE OF EVERY PERSON I MEET?
A: YES! Look them up NOW! Do not wait until you have developed an interest or feelings for this person. Once you begin to develop feelings and/or a real curiosity for that person, your moral walls begin to fall and the odds of being able to say no greatly decrease.
The lure of meeting up and/or allowing that meeting to lead to sexual activity greatly increases. By being naive, you are setting yourself up for failure and a future potential child sexual abuse/child molestation/CSC charge.
Q: WHAT IF THE MINOR DOESN’T WANT TO PRESS CHARGES?
A: It does not matter. It is common that the minor is NOT the one who wants to press charges. It is typically the parent, aunt, uncle, step-dad, teacher, therapist, doctor, etc.
If someone finds out that you and a minor are having sexual relationships and engaged in sexual penetration, that person can go directly to the police and request that they begin an investigation for possible sexual assault, of which they will. Then, no matter what the minor says, you will be facing charges of sexual abuse/CSC.
Q: WHY WOULD ANYONE TURN ME IN IF THE MINOR CONSENTED TO SEX?
A: Michigan has what is commonly referred to as mandatory reporters.
Mandatory reporters are those people that once they are informed that sexual activity between a minor and an adult or a minor and another minor may have occurred, they are REQUIRED to report that information to Child Protective Services (CPS), which in turn goes to the POLICE.
Q: ARE THERE ANY EXCEPTIONS FOR MINOR PARTNERS?
A: If two minors have sex with one another, there are NO exceptions. Both parties involved in sexual activity can be charged with committing a sex crime. It sounds ridiculous, but it happens.
Typically, whichever minor goes to the police first does not get charged. Also, remember that it may not be the minor themself that goes to the police, it may be another adult who found out about it. That person may get enraged, then go to the police, and make the minor go with him/her.
Example: If a senior in high school (age 17 years or older) has sexual intercourse with a freshman (age 14 or 15), the senior can be charged with aggravated sexual assault or CSC 3rd degree. It does not matter if the senior and freshman are boyfriend and girlfriend, or the freshman had permission from their parents.
Example: The above relationship goes on for quite some time without anyone knowing. All of a sudden, one day your mom finds a text or email about you being intimate with a 14 year old approximately two years ago. Parents are often the ones responsible for turning in their child or the child that “did this to their child” to the authorities.
Parents are concerned that their child was taken advantage of because he/she was a minor, and now someone has to pay. Guess who gets charged? You! In this example, you will be charged with sexual assault or CSC 3rd degree.
STATUTORY RAPE DEFENSES
There are NO defenses to having sexual intercourse – statutory rape – with a minor!
The consequences of being charged with statutory rape (CSC 3rd degree) under the statutory rape laws will change the rest of your life forever.
If you are under the age of 24, there may be ways to avoid both having a CSC 3rd degree charge on your record and having to register on the Michigan sex offender registration.
In order to achieve such magic, you need a lawyer who focuses solely on sexual assault cases and knows all the nuances of the law when it comes to sexual assault charges. You need an attorney who can navigate the criminal justice system with precision and expert knowledge.
Don’t trust your life in just anyone’s hands, Attorney Nicole Blank Becker, an attorney who solely focuses on sex crimes, has all the credentials to back up her well respected reputation.
Nicole is ready to use her years of expertise and knowledge as the prior Chief of the Sex Unit to aggressively and vigorously fight for you. Due to Nicole’s 20+ years of experience, as both a prosecutor and a defense attorney, she has yet to meet an opponent she can’t outsmart.
From the very beginning, Nicole establishes a solid attorney-client relationship that puts her clients at ease when sharing their sensitive information, which is critical in getting a favorable outcome.
Contact Nicole Blank Becker now to answer all of your questions and request that she fight for you in the toughest fight of your life. Remember, deciding which criminal defense lawyer you choose to represent you will be one of the most important decisions you make in your life.
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