Criminal Sexual Conduct Fourth Degree (CSC 4th) Attorney in Michigan

Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Fourth Degree is a serious crime in Michigan. If you or someone you care about may be facing criminal sexual conduct charges in Michigan, then it is important to take assertive and decisive action to thwart the forces moving against you. The primary objective is to avoid charges from ever being filed to keep your record clean. In the event that the criminal justice system has already progressed to formal charges being filed against you, then the main focus shifts to winning your case. Having a seasoned CSC defense attorney on your side is a must.

Criminal sexual conduct fourth degree is a charge for sexual contact that does not include aggravating factors such as force and coercion accompanied by personal injury. If theses or the other statutorily defined aggravated factors are determined to be present amongst the accusation, then the charge will likely be elevated from a misdemeanor criminal sexual conduct fourth degree to a felony criminal sexual conduct second degree. However, just because a charge of criminal sexual conduct fourth degree is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of two years in prison, it does not mean that we take the case any less seriously.

If you are facing false criminal sexual conduct charges, then it has the potential to ruin your career and your standing in the community. Crimes of a sexual nature are inherently damaging to a person’s future, and carry a negative social stigma that can last a lifetime. Consequently, you need the very best legal representation available to fight the charges and get your life back.

Grabel & Associates is the premier sex crimes criminal defense firm in the state of Michigan and we know what it takes to win. We help clients regardless of their circumstances at any stage in the legal proceedings. Our lawyers will work to prevent the charges from ever being filed, and if they have been filed, then they will do everything it takes to get the best possible outcome. We understand the subtle nuances and interpersonal dynamics that can go into a criminal sexual conduct defense, because we have been winning criminal sexual conduct cases for more than 19 years.

CSC 4th Degree: A Possible Misdemeanor

Criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree is the only criminal sexual conduct that is punishable by a misdemeanor. The law that codifies criminal sexual conduct fourth degree is MCL 750.520e, and it describes the applicable punishment for this misdemeanor crime. If a conviction or a guilty plea is entered for a criminal sexual conduct fourth degree, then the maximum sentence is 2 years in prison and a $500 fine. This is by far the lowest maximum sentence for a criminal sexual conduct conviction. However, the maximum sentence is not necessarily the sentence that will be entered if a conviction is reached, because the judge has discretion to issue a lower sentence. Additionally, criminal sexual conduct fourth degree is a probationable offense, which means that it is possible to be convicted of the misdemeanor and never see the inside of a jail cell. That being said, a conviction should never be the goal, and keeping a charge of criminal sexual conduct off your record should be the highest priority.

Sexual Contact Defined

The primary element of a criminal sexual conduct fourth degree is that a person engages in intentional sexual contact with another person. Sexual contact is defined in MCL 750.52a(q) as the intentional touching of a victim’s intimate parts or the intentional touching of the clothing covering the immediate area of the victim’s intimate parts, if the intentional touching can be construed as being for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification, done for a sexual purpose or in a sexual manner for revenge, to inflict humiliation, or out of anger. Therefore, the prosecution must not only prove that a contact occurred, but also that the intentional touch could reasonably be construed as being for a sexual purpose. Consequently, if you accidentally bumped into someone’s intimate parts you would not be convicted of criminal sexual conduct fourth degree.

Additionally, Michigan appellate courts have held that a reasonable standard is used when determining whether the sexual contact was for the purpose of sexual gratification. Therefore, it does not matter whether the person’s subjective intent was for sexual gratification. It only matters whether a reasonable person in the situation would construe the specific contact that occurred as to be for a sexual purpose. Consequently, if you accidentally touched someone’s intimate parts, then it can be argued that it was not for a sexual purpose, because the prosecution must prove that both an intentional touching occurred and that it was done for a sexual purpose.

Statutory Requirements a Prosecutor Must Prove for a Criminal Sexual Conduct Fourth Degree

An intentional touching must occur that was done for a sexual purpose, but without meeting one of the other statutory requirements a prosecutor cannot prove a criminal sexual conduct fourth degree occurred. Otherwise, nearly every married couple in the state would be susceptible to being charged with a criminal sexual conduct fourth degree. We will go through all of the other potential factors that could lead a person to be charged with a criminal sexual conduct fourth degree for intentional touching of another person that occurred for a sexual purpose.

The accused person could be charged with a criminal sexual conduct fourth degree if the other person is at least 13 years, but under the age of 16, and the accused is five or more years older than the other person. Next, if the other person is related to the accused by blood or affinity in the third degree. These cases can be especially challenging, because if a person lives in the same house or is related, then they qualify for a criminal sexual conduct fourth degree charge simply by being a member of the same family. It is not unheard of for sexual conduct charges to be part of a custody battle, or in retaliation for some other grievance. Another factor that would qualify as intentional sexual contact is if the other person is mentally incapable, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless.

Force and Coercion

Additionally, if force or coercion is used to accomplish the sexual contact, then it would qualify to be charged as a criminal sexual conduct fourth degree. However, if force and coercion is used and it is accompanied by personal injury, then the charge could be elevated to criminal sexual conduct second degree. There are five specific uses of force or coercion described in the statute. The first is when the other person is overcome with the actual application of physical force. The next two are when someone threatens the use of physical force at the time of the incident or sometime in the future, and the other person believes they have the ability to carry out the threat. Next, if the person engages in medical treatment or examination that is medically recognized as unethical or unacceptable. This is basically intentionally touching someone sexually under the pretext of it being part of a routine medical examination or procedure. Finally, if someone makes an intentional sexual contact through concealment or by the element of surprise, then it would qualify as a criminal sexual conduct fourth degree if proven in court.

Teachers, Special Education, Mental Health Care Providers, and Child Care Organizations

There has been a growing prevalence of teachers and students engaging in relationships that have been determined to be illegal under Michigan law. If you are a teacher, school administrator, or employee of a school and engage in sexual contact with a student who is at least 16 years old but under 18 years old, then you may be charged with criminal sexual conduct fourth degree. This provision also applies to people who volunteer at a school and are not students. However, if you are a teacher, administrator, or employee of a school for special education services, then the applicable age range for a criminal sexual conduct fourth degree charge increases to at least 16 years of age and up to 26 years of age.

If you are a mental health professional, then you could be held culpable for sexual contact with a client if the sexual contact occurs within two years of treatment. Here, the consent of the victim is not considered a defense, because the client is considered vulnerable and the mental health professional is in a role of authority. Similarly, if a person is an employee, contractual service provider, volunteer at a child care organization, or a person licensed to operate a foster family home, then sexual contact with a person at least 16 years of age can also result in a criminal sexual conduct fourth degree charge.

Criminal Penalties for CSC 4th Degree

Criminal sexual conduct fourth degree is a misdemeanor with a maximum punishment of two years in prison and a $500 fine. However, this is an offense for which probation is a legally authorized sentence, and therefore, it is possible to receive a conviction for criminal sexual conduct fourth degree and never have to serve jail time. If you are convicted or plead guilty to a criminal sexual conduct fourth degree charge, then you have to register as a sex offender. Criminal sexual conduct fourth degree can either be a tier one, tier two, or tier three offense under the Sexual Registration Offender Act (SORA) depending on what set of circumstances the prosecutor used for the conviction. If the other person was under 13 years of age, and the person convicted was 17 years or older then it is a tier three offense. If the other person was at least 13 but younger than 18 years of age, then it is a tier two listed offense. Finally, if the other person was 18 years or older, then criminal sexual conduct fourth degree is a tier one listed offense. Visit our page on sex offender registration to learn more about the different designations.

Best Defense Available for CSC 4th Degree

There is no greater burden then being falsely accused of criminal sexual conduct, and if that is your situation then we will do everything possible to clear you of all charges and have your good name restored. No matter what circumstances led you to being accused of criminal sexual conduct, we will work with you to provide the best defense available to win your case. If the allegations have not yet developed into formal charges, then our top priority is to get out in front and prevent charges from ever being filed to keep your record clean. However, if charges have already been filed, then our focus shifts to winning your case.

There is a pretrial motion known as motions “in limine” that may occur before a trial ever begins. This is an opportunity to contest the state’s evidence, and if it is unreliable, unsubstantiated, or if its probative value is outweighed by the potential prejudicial effect it could have on your case, then the judge can rule that the evidence is not admissible in trial. Using all the tools at our disposal is necessary to win a criminal sexual conduct case. Grabel & Associates has been winning sexual crime cases for more than 15 years, and we know what it takes to get a favorable outcome. Contact us today to get a free consultation, and begin the process of developing your individualized, aggressive, and comprehensive legal defense strategy. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 1-800-883-2138.

Client Reviews

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Great lawyer he went into court and ripped the girl trying to lie on me a new one. He fot me off on all charges and with out him i would be in prision. Thank you so much i will definitely keep your number and pass it on to any one in trouble and keep it for future incase i ever have to go back to court K. J.
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Just starting the case. Scott Grabel is a very down to earth kind of guy. He doesn't rush you and answers your questions very thoroughly. Scott and Tim Doman return calls quickly. We're still early but I will post an update throughout our process. D. J.
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Great job Tim, Scott, Daniel very aggressive and knowledgeable They always call you back if you have questions even after hours the best outcome I could've hoped for thanks again R. E.