Why Am I Being Charged With Statutory Rape?
Engaging in sexual activity with another person that is under the age of 16 is considered “Statutory Rape” in Michigan. That being said, Michigan does not have an actual charge of “Statutory Rape,” the charge is refered to as Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC), of which 4 different Degrees exist.
The determining factor of any Statutory Rape case is the certain age of the minor. The age of consent in Michigan is 16 years old.
While the accused may argue the underage child was a willing participant, that is of no consequence when the child is under the age of consent, it is still considered rape.
The accused may even have proof that the child was the aggressor to engage in sexual activity/sexual intercourse or sexual act, but it does not matter, it is still considered rape. Any person under the age of consent, in Michigan, cannot legally consent to having sexual intercourse with anyone.
The phrase “Statutory Rape” describes what it means to be charged with sexual offenses, i.e. Criminal Sexual Conduct under certain circumstances. The word “Statutory,” which comes from the word “statute,” i.e. the rule of law, is that you are considered a child if your age is 15 years older or younger. The word “Rape” suggests that there was some type of inappropriate sexual intercourse/activity that occurred between you and the Statutory Rape accuser.
Statutory Rape Laws in Michigan
The Statutory Rape Laws in Michigan are very clear, so there is little room for misinterpretation. Whether you are an adult engaged in a sexual intercourse with a child or you and the person you are engaged in sexual intercourse with are both children, it is considered rape by state law and you can be charged with a CSC (with varying degrees) charge.
Punishments for Statutory Rape
The penalties for a charge under the Statutory Rape Laws are severe.The difference in how severe the final penalty will be depends on which Sexual Assault/Sexual Abuse rape crime you are charged with. For example:
The Statutory Rape Laws in Michigan vary depending on the age of the Statutory Rape accuser. If you are involved in any type of sexual intercourse/sexual penetration, i.e. penis in vagina, penis in anus, penis in mouth, fingers in vagina, etc., with anyone under the certain age of consent, you could end up in prison for a very long time.
If the Statutory Rape accuser is under the age of 13, and you are the age of 17 years older, you can not legally consent to any sexual relations and you will face a mandatory minimum sentencing of 25 years with the maximum penalty of Life in Prison. If the Statutoray Rape accuser is between 13 years of age and 15 years of age, you will not be subject to the mandatory minimum sentence, but you will have a maximum penalty of Life in Prison.
Again, the question is: What is the age of the Statutory Rape accuser? If you engage in sexual relations that invloves touching (sexual contact) with someone that is under the age of consent, it is considered rape and you will face serious penalties.
If he or she is under the age of 13 years older, it is considered rape and you are facing a maximum of 15 years in prison.
If the Statutory Rape accuser, that is claiming you engaged in sexual contact, is between the age of a 13 year old to 15 years older, and you either live in the same household, are related, you are a teacher or employee, etc., then you will face a maximum of 15 years in prison as well.
If you engage in sexual penetration/sexual intercourse with a minor between the age of a 13 year old and 15 year old, it is considered rape and you will face a 15 years mandatory penalty.
If you are an adult and you have sexual intercourse involving sexual penetration with another adult, and the other adult claims it was non-consensual, it is considered rape and you will face a 15 years mandatory penalty.
The state law that most Michigan attorney’s are unfamiliar with is the fact that if you are charged with CSC 3rd Degree (Statutory Rape), with a child or an adult, you will also face a mandatory minimum sentencing of one year in prison. There is no way to get around that requirement. If your lawyer does not tell you that important information when it comes to Criminal Sexual Conduct in the 3rd Degree charges, you need to immediately find new, informed, counsel.
The charge of CSC 4th Degree does not fit into the “Statutory Rape” requirements. Sexual relations involving touching with a minor will typically be charged under CSC 2nd Degree.
Statutory Rape Defenses
If you are facing Statutory Rape charges, you have access to the same legal defenses that all criminal defendants who are charged with Sexual Assault/Sexual Abuse charges have.
If you are charged with Statutory Rape, i.e. CSC 3rd Degree, there are ways to minimize the damages:
The Romeo and Juliet Exception
Michigan has what is called a Romeo and Juliet exception. It is named after the play Romeo and Juliet, two kids who fell in love. This exception is used to protect the rights of young adults who are convicted of or plead to having consensual sexual relations.
If you are the age of a teenager and your age is within four years older of the Statutory Rape accuser’s age, who is also a teenager, you fall under the Romeo and Juliet exception. While the Romeo and Juliet exception does NOT exonerate you from Statutory Rape charges (get the charges kicked) it can severely minimize your damages.
When charged with Statutory Rape, and you fit this exception, you will not have to register on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry. When facing such serious sexual intercourse charges as CSC First Degree or CSC Third Degree, not having to register on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry is a huge relief. That means, your future, once you complete the sentence given to you by the Judge, will remain bright.
Even though the Romeo and Juliet exception is available to teenagers, that does not stop the state from charging both teenagers with a sexual assault crime. Although it is uncommon, and frankly does not legally make sense, the state makes the final decision when it comes to sexual intercourse/sexual penetration charges.
Should I Hire a Lawyer?
Statutory Rape is a very serious charge in which you should not take lightly. You need to hire a lawyer that knows exactly what to do when these types of accusations surface.
You should consult with a qualified lawyer in Michigan who can assist you on this journey. You need to hire a lawyer who has years of experience doing Sexual Assault cases.
When searching for the right lawyer on the web, handling Sexual Assault cases should stick out as their main priority. In order to determine if Sex Crimes are what they mainly do once you are on a perspective lawyer’s website, look and see what ranking they have given Sex Crimes in the types of crimes they handle.
When browing their website, look for Sex Crimes, i.e. Statutory Rape, Criminal Sexual Conduct First Degree, Criminal Sexual Conduct Second Degree, Criminal Sexual Conduct Third Degree and Criminal Sexual Conduct Fourth Degree, etc. Notice if Sex Crimes are listed as the number one type of cases they handle, or is it 3rd or 4th on their list. If it is listed as 3rd or 4th, you know they do not solely do sex crime cases. They may tell you that they do, but you have to ask the proper questions to see if they are really qualified to handle your sensitive case.