How to Get Out of Statutory Rape Charges
Engaging in sexual activity with another person that is under the age of 16 is what is considered statutory rape in Michigan. That being said, Michigan does not have an actual statutory rape charge; the charge is actually referred 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 alleged perpetrator/accused sex offender 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 sex offender may even have proof that the child was the aggressor to engage in sexual activity/sexual intercourse or a sexual criminal 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 old 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
What is criminal sexual conduct?
The statutory rape laws in Michigan are very clear, so there is little room for misinterpretation. Whether you are an adult engaged in 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 sex offender crime.
Punishments for Statutory Rape
The penalties for a statutory rape charge are severe. The difference in how severe the final penalty will be depends on which sex crime you are charged with.
Criminal Sexual Conduct 1st Degree
The statutory rape laws in Michigan vary depending on the age of the alleged victim. If you are involved in any type of sexual intercourse/sexual penetration, i.e. penis in vagina, penis in anus, penis in mouth (oral sex), fingers in vagina, etc., with anyone under the age of consent, you could end up in prison for a very long time.
If the alleged victim is under the age of 13, and you are the age of 17 years older, the accuser does not have the legal ability to consent to any sexual relations under the CSC 1st degree Michigan penalty, and you will face a mandatory minimum sentencing of 25 years, with the maximum penalty of life in prison.
If the alleged victim is between 13 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.
Criminal Sexual Conduct 2nd Degree
Again, the question is: what is the age of the statutory rape accuser? If you engage in sexual relations that invloves sexual 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 old, under the CSC 2nd degree Michigan penalty it is considered rape and you are facing a maximum of 15 years in prison.
If the alleged victim, that is claiming you engaged in sexual contact, is between the age of a 13 and 15 years old, 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.
Criminal Sexual Conduct 3rd Degree
If you engage in sexual penetration with a minor between the ages of a 13 and 15 years old, per the CSC 3rd degree Michigan penalty 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 sex, it is considered rape and you will face a 15 years mandatory penalty.
The state law that most Michigan attorneys are unfamiliar with is the fact that if you are charged with CSC 3rd degree (statutory rape), no matter if it’s 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 statutory rape charges, you need to immediately find new, informed counsel.
Criminal Sexual Conduct 4th Degree
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.
How to Get Out of Statutory Rape Charges
If you are facing statutory rape charges, you have access to the same sex offender lawyers 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
There is what is called a Romeo and Juliet Law in Michigan. The law 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 guilty to having consensual sexual relations.
If you are the age of a teenager and your age is within four years 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 dismissed) it can severely minimize your damages.
When charged with statutory rape, and you fit the parameters of this exception, you will not have to become a registered sex offender on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry. When facing such serious statutory rape charges, such as CSC first degree or CSC third degree, not having to register on the Michigan sex offender registration 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 criminal prosecution from charging both teenagers with a sex crime. Although it is uncommon, and frankly does not legally make sense, the state makes the final decision when it comes to sexual penetration/statutory rape charges.
Should I Hire Legal Representation?
Statutory rape charges are very serious and you should not take them lightly. You need to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney that knows exactly what to do when these types of accusations surface.
You should consult with a qualified criminal sexual conduct attorney 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 cases they handle.
When browsing these websites, look for sex crimes, such as:
● Statutory Rape
● Criminal Sexual Conduct First Degree
● Criminal Sexual Conduct Second Degree
● Criminal Sexual Conduct Third Degree
● Criminal Sexual Conduct Fourth Degree
Notice if sex crime is 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.
Attorney Nicole Blank Becker, of Blank Law Firm, possesses both the ability to anticipate the criminal prosecution’s legal defense and the years of experience through her practice on both sides of the law. Additionally, Nicole’s goal is to build a solid attorney-client relationship to help you feel at ease when sharing your side of the story, which is critical to building strong legal defenses.
If you are under investigation, charged or are accused of statutory rape, contact attorney Nicole Blank Becker today for a free confidential consultation by calling (248) 515-6583.