Criminal Sexual Conduct Defense Attorney Defending Those Accused of Sex Crimes in Western Michigan.
Sex crimes in Michigan are known as Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC). These crimes include many varied acts of a sexual nature. In numerous instances, the crime might involve unwanted touches or attempted touching, but not every criminal sexual conduct crime requires the alleged victim be physically touched. Notwithstanding of the degree of the charge you are facing, a sex crime allegation can forever change your life. A conviction could even diminish your prospective future relationships and employment opportunities.
Criminal Sexual Conduct is a charge that may result from sexual contact or penetration with a minor; sex acts accomplished using force or coercion, sexual assault, sex acts committed by an authority figure, or other criminal actions. There are four varying degrees of CSC in Michigan, each with a different set of possible criminal penalties. CSC in the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree can result in a felony conviction, while 4th degree CSC is a misdemeanor charge. If arrested for a sex offense, contact a lawyer immediately to learn more about which specific laws pertain to your situation. Our skilled team of lawyers with over 30 years combined experience in the criminal justice system is ready to provide you with a free introductory case consultation no matter where you reside in Michigan.
750.520b Criminal sexual conduct in the first degree; felony.
750.520b Criminal sexual conduct in the first degree; felony. Sec. 520b. (1) A person is guilty of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree if he or she engages in sexual penetration with another person and if any of the following circumstances exists: (a) That other person is under 13 years of age.
First Degree CSC is a “capital offense,” suggesting a person convicted may be facing up to life in prison. A person is charged with criminal sexual conduct in the first-degree when he or she engages in involuntary SEXUAL PENETRATION with a person under thirteen years of age or between 13-16 years of age and residing in the same house. The ability to give consent is often at the crux of these cases. Many alleged victims may not be in a position to lawfully provide consent.
If the actor is related by blood or in any position of authority the i.e. a teacher or school administrator, the victim cannot legally provide consent. Other examples include situations anywhere an alleged victim is incapacitated, threatened by force by the accused, or overwhelmed by the accused.
750.520c Criminal sexual conduct in the second degree; felony
Second-degree Criminal Sexual Conduct is very similar to first-degree except it alleges sexual contact, not sexual penetration. Various factors could result in a second-degree Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC), instead of any of the other degrees. However, the most common situation is an allegation of a sexual touching of a child under the age of 13. The sentences for this crime are very severe and include prison terms of up to 15 years and placement on Michigan’s sex offender registry.
750.520d Criminal sexual conduct in the third degree; felony.
A person is convicted of Criminal Sexual Conduct in the third degree when the prosecutor can prove sexual penetration with a person who was either incapacitated in some way, between 13 and 15 years old or that the crime involved force or coercion. 3rd Degree CSC is a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 15 years. Date rape and statutory rape scenarios are most usually charged as CSC 3rd degree.
750.520e Criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree; felony.
Fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct in Michigan is a misdemeanor offense that involves unwanted sexual touching. This crime typically includes touching someone for sexual purposes that is a minor, someone with a mental or physical handicap, a close relative, or through the use of a relationship like a teacher with a student, mental health provider with a patient, or prison employee with an inmate.
Get an Aggressive Criminal Sexual Conduct Attorney Before Speaking to Police
A common misunderstanding is that persons who are contacted by the police should talk to the investigators without first consulting with a criminal sexual defense attorney. Even when people have not done anything wrong, they should contact a criminal lawyer to understand their rights and to ensure that they don’t say anything wrong that might later hurt their defense case.
Criminal Sexual Conduct and Lack of Consent
Frequently the prosecutor will charge a case due to a lack of consent. It is essential to know what the evidence will confirm before ultimately committing to a defense strategy. If a sexual action seems to have transpired, the greatest defense could be that it happened but that the acting person did so after consent. In many circumstances, the prosecutor's case concerning criminal sexual conduct is dependent on whether or not the jury believes an alleged victim's statement beyond a reasonable doubt. In different situations, the prosecutor's case leans on reliable DNA or other forensic evidence.
Contact Us for Sex Crimes Defense in Ottawa, Kent, Allegan, Muskegon, and Van Buren County Michigan
Because sex crime cases often include subtleties and differing versions of situations, there could be gaps or discrepancies in the account of circumstances laid out by the prosecutor. Our team of criminal sexual conduct defense attorneys will find those inconsistencies and know how to present the evidence and facts that back up your narrative — and your innocence. With an attorney's help, you might get your charge reduced, dismissed, or get acquitted by a jury, to soften the impact on your life.
Michigan Sex Crimes Defense Attorney
After you’ve been charged with a sex crime, it feels like your life is divided into two phases—your life before your sex crime charges and your life after. It may feel like people look at you differently, speak to you differently, and maybe completely avoid you altogether. It’s a horrible, lonely feeling. But luckily, you don’t have to go through this alone.
Fighting Sex Crime Accusations in Michigan
Being charged with a sex crime is a very serious matter. In Michigan, sex crime convictions carry heavy, life-changing consequences. A conviction could ruin your life as you know it. If you have been charged with a sex crime such as sexual assault, child pornography, or child molestation; you need professional legal help.
Don’t try to fight your sex crime charges alone.
Sex crimes carry a severe price. A conviction could leave you with a years-long prison sentence. Even if you are acquitted, being charged with a sex crime could permanently stain your reputation. This isn’t the time for you to hit the internet and start trying to learn how to be a lawyer. It’s time for you to get professional legal help and clear your name as quickly as possible.
At Weise Law, we’re here to help. With over 30 combined years of experience, our top-notch lawyers are ready to quickly and efficiently handle your case. We have handled a wide variety of criminal sexual conduct cases and are certain we can help you regain or maintain your freedom.
If you’re facing charges for a sex crime, give us a call today at (616) 931-7030 or send us a message for a free consultation.
Sex Crime Penalties in Michigan
Most sex crimes in Michigan are outlined in the Criminal Sexual Conduct statutes. The first one listed is a crime in the first degree—rape. Facing rape charges is a very serious matter because rape is classified as a Tier 3 sexual offense and carries lofty consequences like life in prison without parole, a minimum of 25 years in prison, sex offender registration, and a lifetime of wearing a GPS tether if you are released.
But, rape isn’t the only sex crime listed in the Criminal Sexual Conduct statutes. The crimes are described in descending order, with the less-severe crimes listed toward the bottom. It’s important to understand exactly what you’re being accused of so you can understand exactly what sort of sentencing you might be facing.
If you have been charged with a sex crime, we can help.
We have represented men and women in the following types of cases:
- Sexual assault/rape,
- Mandatory sex offender registration,
- Statutory rape,
- Chat room solicitation,
- Computer search and seizure,
- Internet sex crimes,
- Illegal pornography charges, and
- Date rape.
The severity of your charges (classified as a Tier 1, 2, or 3 sex offense), the victim’s age and identity, and whether you have previously had charges filed against you can all influence what sort of repercussions you might face from your sex crime charge.
Understanding Tier 1 Sex Offense Charges
Of the three tiers for sex crime charges, Tier 1 is the most minor of the three. Although the consequences of a conviction are still significant, you’re not facing the heavier sentence that a Tier 2 or Tier 3 offender would face.
In Michigan, Tier 1 sex crimes include:
- Possession of child pornography,
- Indecent exposure and fondling of self in front of a child,
- Unlawful imprisonment or restraint of a minor,
- 4th Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC) against a victim aged 18 or older, or
- A sex crime committed by a sexually delinquent person.
If you are convicted of a Tier 1 sex offense in Michigan, you could face up to 15 years in prison. Also, you would have to register yourself as a sex offender. This would mean annual trips for the next 15 years to register your address and verify other information in person.
Understanding Tier 2 Sex Offense Charges
In Michigan, Tier 2 sex crimes include:
- Sodomy, if the victim is older than 13 but younger than 18;
- Accosting, enticing, or soliciting a child for immoral purposes;
- 2nd Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct, if the victim is older than 13 but younger than 18; or
- Promoting or distributing sexually abusive material with minors.
If you are convicted of a Tier 2 sex offense in Michigan, you could face up to 25 years in prison. Also, you would have to register yourself as a sex offender. As a Tier 2 offender, you would have to verify your address and other information in person twice a year for the next 25 years.
Understanding Tier 3 Sex Offense Charges
In Michigan, Tier 3 sex crimes include:
- 1st Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct (which is rape or other forced sexual penetration),
- 2nd Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct against a victim younger than 13,
- 3rd Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct,
- Gross indecency against a victim younger than 13, or
- Assault with intent to commit penetration (CSC 1st degree or CSC 3rd degree).
If you are convicted of a Tier 3 sex offense in Michigan, you could face a life prison sentence. Also, you would have to register yourself as a sex offender. As a Tier 3 offender, you would have to verify your address and other information in person four times a year for the rest of your life.
Michigan Sex Crimes Defense Strategy
As experienced Michigan criminal defense attorneys, we are passionate about providing the highest level of defense for our clients. Being accused of a sex crime can ruin your reputation and make you feel like the whole world is against you. But, with us on your side, we’ll be able to help you overcome your charges.
Some of our most effective defense strategies have been:
- False charges. This is one of our most common defense tactics. So many people are falsely accused by an angry or vengeful accuser. Unfortunately, it’s very common for what was previously thought of as a consensual sexual activity to suddenly become grounds for serious criminal charges.
- Entrapment. Entrapment happens when you’re put in a situation to commit a crime you wouldn’t normally commit.
- Computer hacking. If you’ve been falsely accused of child pornography, it might be because your computer was hacked. Hackers gain access to your computer. Then, they often upload inappropriate pictures onto your computer’s hard drive. This can make your life miserable.
- False memory syndrome. This often happens when a child accuses an adult of a sex crime. Sometimes, when the child is questioned by an adult, it can cause the child to incorrectly remember the situation. This can lead to the child saying that the adult said or did things that didn’t really happen.
- Illegal search and seizure. Any evidence—regardless of the nature of the crime—that has been confiscated without a proper search warrant is inadmissible in court.
Although everything you’ve read has been helpful, you might still have some questions. Below, we’ve answered five of the top questions people have about sex crimes in Michigan.
What is a sexual assault?
A sexual assault is a sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent from the victim. Sexual assault can include:
- Attempted rape,
- Unwanted sexual touching or fondling,
- Forcing the victim to perform sexual acts (such as performing oral sex or penetrating the perpetrator’s body), and
- Penetration of the victim’s body, which is better known as rape.
In Michigan, sexual assault is a Tier 3 sex crime and a very serious charge.
What is the Mann Act?
The Mann Act, which is also known as the White-Slave Traffic Act of 1910, is a federal law that makes it illegal to transport “any woman or girl for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose.” Back in 1907, the U.S. assessed that it had an issue with immigrant prostitutes. Congress appointed a committee to investigate and handle the issue, and the Mann Act was the result.
Although the purpose of the Act is to protect women from prostitution, immorality, and human trafficking; problems started arising because it was up to each state to determine what actions were legally immoral. This meant that some completely consensual activities resulted in criminal charges—and guilty verdicts.
Fortunately, since the times have changed, so has the Mann Act. It has never been repealed, but it has been amended a few times. In 1978, the Act was amended to address issues of child pornography. In 1986, the Act was amended to replace the phrase “any other immoral purpose” with “any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense.”
Do registration and community notification laws apply to juveniles in Michigan?
According to the Juvenile Justice Field Services Manual for the state of Michigan, “Youth who were 14 years of age or older at the time of the offense and who were adjudicated for a Tier III offense must be registered unless the court grants a Romeo and Juliet exemption.” A Romeo and Juliet exemption is appropriate in cases where consensual sex was had between two youths, where the older youth isn’t more than four years older than the other and the younger youth is between the ages of 13 and 16.
In order to be awarded a Romeo and Juliet exemption, you must file a petition. Then, the court will have a hearing either post-conviction/pre-sentencing or post-adjudication/pre-disposition. If you are awarded a Romeo and Juliet exemption, it’s a very big deal. This would mean your juvenile offender wouldn’t have to register as a sex offender.
But, if a Romeo and Juliet exemption doesn’t apply to your situation, don’t worry. Your juvenile also has the right to petition to be removed from the sex offender registry. If you have more detailed questions about what a conviction could mean for your son or daughter, a qualified lawyer can help you out and answer your questions.
I’m innocent. Doesn’t hiring a lawyer make me look guilty?
If you’ve just been charged with a sex crime, you might think that hiring a lawyer is as good as an admission of guilt. But, the truth is that hiring a lawyer doesn’t make you look guilty. It shows that you understand the criminal charges you’re facing are a serious matter and that you’re determined to clear your name, restore your reputation, and prove your innocence.
If I’m innocent, do I need a lawyer?
Yes, even if you’re innocent, you still need a lawyer. I know what you’re thinking right now, though. You’re thinking, But if I’m not guilty, it shouldn’t be a problem to prove that I’m innocent.
I’m sorry to say that things don’t always work that way. In an ideal world, your innocence would be enough to clear your name and drop the charge. However, we don’t live in an ideal world.
Unfortunately, there are tons of cases where innocent people are charged with crimes and wrongly convicted. That’s why you need an experienced lawyer. You need someone who has helped tons of other people who have been in situations similar to yours. You need someone passionate about quickly and efficiently handling your case so you’ll have the absolute best results in the shortest amount of time. You need help from the expert criminal defense lawyers at Weise Law.
Have you been arrested for a sex crime? Arrange your free consultation today. Give us a call at (616) 931-7030 or send us a message.