Child Exploitation Attorneys in Michigan
Child Exploitation is a broad umbrella term that encompasses many different types of sex crimes related to minors, including statutory rape, child abusive activity, and criminal sexual conduct. Every form of child exploitation is gravely severe and must be handled with the utmost attention to detail. If you or someone you know are facing exploitation charges, then the most crucial decision you can make is finding the right attorney to represent you in your case.
Grabel & Associates is the premier legal defense firm in the state of Michigan and strives to climb the razor's edge to the pinnacle of legal defense tactics, strategies, and innovative approaches to winning your case. Our firm offers a free consultation and are available for emergencies 24/7 at 1-800-883-2138.
Child Sexually Abusive Material
Child pornography is referred to as child sexually abusive material in Michigan. There are many different types of child sexually abusive material cases, and each situation requires a novel, unique, and innovative approach to presenting the facts, law, and evidentiary issues on behalf of the accused. It is not uncommon for a person to be completely blindsided by child pornography charges, because they have not had any deliberate interaction with anything resembling child pornography. However, internet pornography itself is a gateway to the potential for unwanted attacks on you and your computer.
Internet pornography is an overwhelming and pervasive force in today’s technological environment. Remote key loggers and malicious malware can allow an unidentified third party to entirely take over a person’s computer and use it for nefarious endeavors without the owner’s knowledge. Consequently, third-party servers can put things on your screen and in your hard drive that you never wanted or intended, and under current child pornography laws, this is all that is required for a person to be charged with possession of child sexually abusive material.
According to MCL 750.145c(4), possession of sexually abusive material is considered a felony, and the most important qualification is that mere "access" is possession. The statute defines access as intentionally causing to be viewed or transmitted by a person. Therefore, if the defense can demonstrate that your case falls into one of the situations involving malware, ransomware, popup ads, or third-party servers described above, then the access would not be intentional. Thus, no crime would have been committed.
Statutory Rape and the Age of Consent in Michigan
Statutory rape in Michigan involves a set of rules, laws, and procedures that are primarily codified under MCL 750.520 for criminal sexual conduct. The age of consent in Michigan is 16 years of age. The penalties and sex offender registration requirements for a statutory rape conviction in Michigan vary depending on whether the accused was more than four years older than the alleged victim, and whether the alleged victim was under 16 years of age. Navigate to Grabel & Associates Statutory Rape web page to learn more about the penalties and defenses associated with statutory rape in Michigan, and the Romeo & Juliet provisions related to sex offender registration.
Penetration Crimes: Criminal Sexual Conduct First Degree and Criminal Sexual Conduct Third Degree
Criminal sexual conduct is divided into two categories and four degrees. Criminal sexual conduct involving penetration is charged as criminal sexual conduct first degree or criminal sexual conduct third degree, and sexual contact is charged as criminal sexual conduct second degree or criminal sexual fourth degree.
The definition of sexual penetration is located in MCL 750.520a(r) and is further refined by case law. The statutory definition for sexual penetration is sexual intercourse, fellatio, anal intercourse, cunnilingus, or any other intrusion, however slight, of any part of a person's body or any other object into the genitals or anal openings of another person's body. The statute specifies that emission of semen is not necessary for sexual penetration to have occurred. Consequently, according to this definition and case law, using fingers or hands to massage the opening of the vagina becomes a penetration crime if a finger is inserted into the vagina. Therefore, a sexual contact charge for molestation can quickly be elevated to the more serious charge of a penetration offense if the prosecutor has any indication that this type of conduct occurred.
The penalties for a criminal sexual conduct first degree vary based on the circumstances and the aggravating factors involved. A violation committed by a person 17 years or older against a person under the age of 13 is punishable by life imprisonment.
Contact Offenses: Criminal Sexual Conduct Second Degree and Criminal Sexual Contact Fourth Degree
According to MCL 750.52a(q), sexual contact is the intentional touching of a victim's intimate parts, or the deliberate touching of the clothing covering the immediate area of the victim's intimate parts if it can be shown the touching occurred for a sexual purpose. Consequently, there are two elements for sexual contact. First, that an intentional touching of intimate areas occurred. Second, that the touching happened for a sexual purpose.
The law uses a reasonable person standard which means that if a reasonable person would believe the contact was made for a sexual purpose, then the contact was for a sexual purpose even if the alleged offender claims that was not his or her intent. The definition for a sexual purpose is when the contact was meant to arouse, sexually gratify, inflict revenge or humiliation, or was done out of anger, then the element will be satisfied.
Criminal sexual contact in the second degree is a felony with a 15-year maximum sentence. However, criminal sexual contact fourth degree is the only charge in the criminal sexual conduct degree scheme that is a misdemeanor and has a two-year maximum sentence. Please visit Grabel & Associates web pages on Criminal Sexual Conduct Second Degree and Criminal Sexual Conduct Fourth Degree to learn more about the specific factors that may elevate an alleged sexual contact from a criminal sexual conduct fourth degree to a criminal sexual conduct second degree.
Inducing a Minor to Commit a Felony
The factors for inducing a minor to commit a felony includes that the actor is 17 years of age or older and recruits, induces, solicits or coerces a minor under the age of 17 to commit an act that would be a felony if an adult committed it, is guilty of a felony under MCL 750.157. For the prosecutor to prove this crime, it is not necessary to show that the minor committed or attempted to commit the felony, only that the person recruited, induced, or coerced the minor to commit a felony.
The sentence is determined by what felony the accused induced the minor to commit. If a person induced a minor to commit a burglary, then they could potentially be sentenced to the maximum sentence for burglary. This particular crime is not a listed offense under the Sex Offender Registration Act, and consequently, a conviction does not require a person to register as a sex offender.
Internet and Computer Solicitation
Internet and computer solicitation is codified in MCL 750.145d(1)(a) and involves using a computer to solicit a minor to commit any crime on the list of prohibited acts of conduct. The list includes acts such as criminal sexual conduct, child sexual abusive activities, and accosting and enticing a child for an immoral purpose. Additionally, this law can be used in coordination with stalking or aggravated stalking if the accused used a computer to accomplish the stalking.
There are a wide range of potential sentences under MCL 750.145d(1)(a) depending on which particular listed offense the accused attempted to solicit the minor to commit. The range of possible sentences is between up to one year in prison and up to a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Displaying, Disseminating, and Exhibiting Sexually Explicit Content to Minors
There are two types of displaying sexually explicit materials to minors. The first type is codified under MCL 722.675 and prohibits a person from knowingly disseminating or displaying sexually explicit materials that are harmful to minors. This could be a situation where a person shows a minor pornographic movies, magazines, or books. This crime is a felony and has a maximum sentence of two years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
The second type of offense pertains to business owners or managers of stores that display or sell sexually explicit materials to minors. This law is codified in MCL 722.677(1) and prohibits business owners or people that are in managerial positions of a store from displaying sexually explicit materials to a minor. This could be a situation where the owner of a sex shop allows a minor to view sexually explicit materials or sells sexually explicit materials to the minor. If a person is charged with this offense under MCL 722.677(1), they could face a misdemeanor offense with a maximum sentence of 93 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Accosting, Enticing, or Soliciting a Child for an Immoral Purpose
According to MCL 750.145a, it is a crime to accost, entice, or solicit a child under the age of 16 and if the purpose is for an immoral act or an act of sexual intercourse. Additionally, it is a crime if the purpose is for an act of gross indecency or any other act of delinquency or depravity. For example, a person could be charged with accosting, enticing, or soliciting a child for an immoral purpose if the person was accused of continuously contacting a minor, even though an assault or statutory rape did not occur. A violation of this law is a felony with a maximum penalty of four years in prison and a fine of $4,000. However, a second conviction is another felony with a maximum sentence of ten years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Grabel & Associates Approach to Child Exploitation Cases in Michigan
If you or someone you know are facing charges for child exploitation, it is essential to take the charges very seriously. Many of these crimes are felonies and can result in being required to register under the Sexual Offender Registration Act (SORA). Therefore, it is imperative to do everything possible to avoid a conviction of a sex crime against a minor.
Grabel & Associates has been specializing in the criminal defense of sex crimes for nearly 20 years and understands the delicate nature of sex crimes. If you are falsely accused of a sex crime, then it may be in your best interest to perform a private polygraph examination. Grabel & Associates has the experience, knowledge, and expertise to obtain a favorable outcome in your case. The primary objective is to avoid having a conviction go on your record.
Our experienced team of attorneys is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to begin formulating your comprehensive, aggressive, and effective legal defense strategy. Call today for a free consultation and case evaluation at 1-800-883-2138.