Criminal Sexual Conduct

Grand Rapids Criminal Sexual Conduct Lawyers

Defending Against Accusations

Michigan has four separate laws concerning criminal sexual conduct. They are commonly referred to as CSC cases. For instance, a second-degree criminal sexual conduct matter might be referred to as CSC 2nd or second-degree CSC. The laws regarding criminal sexual conduct can be confusing, as they are not listed or charged logically from first- to fourth-degree. Additionally, it's not uncommon for an individual accused of multiple counts of CSC to be facing a mixture of charges. For example, they may be facing a few counts of second-degree CSC and a few counts of third-degree.

If you've been accused of any degree of criminal sexual conduct, you need an attorney on your side to help you understand the specifics of your charge. At Tanis Schultz, our attorneys have over 45 years of combined experience. We have effectively handled numerous high-profile and complex cases, and we know the courts and how the judicial system works. When you hire us for your defense, you will have a knowledgeable and skilled advocate on your side, fighting to protect your rights and working toward a favorable outcome on your behalf.

Discuss your case during a free consultation by calling us at (616) 608-7149 today.

The Four Degrees of Criminal Sexual Conduct in Michigan

Generally, criminal sexual conduct is defined as unwanted or unlawful sexual contact or sexual penetration with another person. According to Michigan law, sexual contact means touching someone's intimate parts or the clothing covering these areas. Sexual penetration includes even the slightest intrusion of the genital opening. For instance, a case involving cunnilingus on a female is considered sexual penetration. Likewise, digital penetration would also meet the definition. In CSC cases, the definitions of sexual contact and penetration apply regardless of whether the act was committed on the complaining witness or the alleged actor.

Each degree of CSC is specific in the type of behavior that would result in a criminal charge. Various factors are considered when determining which degree to impose upon the alleged actor.

In Michigan, the four degrees of CSC are defined as follows:

  • First-degree criminal sexual conduct: A person commits this offense if they engage in sexual penetration and:
    • The complaining witness was under 13 years of age
    • The complaining witness was between 13 and 15 years of age and the alleged actor had a specific non-intimate relationship with them
    • The act occurred during the commission of a separate felony
    • The alleged actor engaged in the conduct with one or more other people under specific circumstances
    • The alleged actor had a weapon on them
    • The complaining witness suffered personal injury as a result of the use of force or coercion
    • The complaining witness was mentally incapable, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless

First-degree CSC is punishable by up to life in prison. If the alleged victim was under 13 years of age, the mandatory minimum sentence is 25 years.

  • Second-degree criminal sexual conduct: This offense occurs when sexual contact is committed and:
    • The complaining witness was under 13 years of age
    • The complaining witness was between 13 and 15 years of age and had a specific non-intimate relationship with the alleged actor
    • The contact occurred during the commission of a separate felony
    • The alleged actor had one or more accomplices and they engaged in the conduct under specific circumstances
    • The alleged actor had a weapon on them
    • The alleged actor used force or coercion and caused injury
    • The complaining witness was mentally incapable, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless and they suffered an injury or they had a specific relationship with the alleged actor
    • The complaining witness was incarcerated or on probation

A conviction for second-degree criminal sexual conduct is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

  • Third-degree criminal sexual conduct: This charge is levied when the incident involves sexual penetration and:
    • The complaining witness was between 13 and 15 years of age
    • The alleged actor used force or coercion
    • The complaining witness is mentally incapable, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless
    • The complaining witness is related by blood to the alleged actor
    • The complaining witness was a student between 16 and 17 years of age
    • The complaining witness was between 16 and 25 years of age and receives special education
    • The alleged actor worked for a child care facility

Third-degree criminal sexual conduct is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Although the maximum term of imprisonment is the same for second- and third-degree CSC, because of the sentencing guidelines for CSC 2nd, the length of prison time will be less than a CSC 3rd.

  • Fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct: This offense is committed when a person has sexual contact with another and:
    • The complaining witness was between 13 and 15 years of age
    • The complaining witness was between 13 and 15 years of age and the alleged actor is at least 5 years older than them
    • The alleged actor used force or coercion
    • The complaining witness was mentally incapable, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless
    • The complaining witness and alleged actor are related by blood
    • The alleged actor was the complaining witnesses' mental health care professional
    • The complaining witness was between 16 and 17 years of age and a student at a public or non-public school
    • The complaining witness was between 16 and 25 years of age and receiving special education
    • The alleged actor worked for a child care facility

Fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct is a "high court misdemeanor," which means it is only a 2-year maximum offense.

Reach Out to Tanis Schultz Today

If you've been charged with criminal sexual conduct in any degree, our Grand Rapids attorneys can help you understand your case, rights, and legal options.

Contact our office at (616) 608-7149 for a free consultation.

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