Criminal Sexual Conduct Attorneys in Michigan

Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC) charges are some of the most serious charges in Michigan, both in terms of potential penalties and negative social stigma. There are over 5,000 reports of CSC charges each year in Michigan. Inevitably, many of these reports are the result of tragic crimes perpetrated on innocent victims. However unfortunate as it may be, there are also many people that falsely report CSC crimes and fabricate circumstances to accuse innocent people for both financial gain and revenge. If charged in Michigan, having a skilled criminal sexual conduct attorney on your side can help you and your family navigate the criminal justice system with security.

There are six offenses under the Criminal Sexual Assault Act, and the specific charge a prosecutor seeks is determined by the nature of the physical contact and the circumstance surrounding the physical contact. It is important to remember that many times a civil lawsuit will follow a criminal prosecution. Therefore, an accuser’s success at levying criminal charges against a defendant can help them receive monetary compensation at the civil trial by demonstrating guilt. Money can be a very powerful motive, and can lead some people to be deceitful in their statements, accusations, and testimony.

The Different Degrees of Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC)

One of the defining characteristics of all CSC charges is they all contain an element of assaultive conduct. Other sex crimes such as indecent exposure, gross indecency, sexual intercourse involving AIDS/HIV, and sexual indecency typically lack the type of assaultive conduct that is involved in criminal sexual conduct. The degrees of criminal sexual conduct do not refer to prior convictions. The degrees actually are determined by the presence or absence of certain types of contact and the circumstances surrounding the contact which are described in detail by the statutes.

The four degrees of CSC are split up into two categories. In this section we will go through each factor that determines what may elevate a charge to the more serious degrees of the various criminal sexual assault charges, as well as two lesser offenses that exist under the act but are not part of the degrees scheme.

Under MCL 750.520i, there is no requirement for a victim to physically resist the advances of a person for the prosecution to prove a criminal sexual conduct charge. You can even be convicted of criminal sexual conduct if the alleged victim is your spouse. Therefore, you need to retain a law firm that understands the particularities of the law involved in sex crimes, and that has the necessary experience. Our sex crimes attorneys have been successful winning criminal sexual conduct cases for more than 19 years in Michigan. The primary objective in all criminal sexual conduct cases is to get the charges dropped before trial. However, if that cannot be accomplished, because charges have already been filed, then the secondary objective is to prepare to win at trial. In this section we will detail many aspects of criminal sexual conduct and what you should be aware of.

Penetration vs. Contact Offenses and Aggravating or Elevating Factors

There are two different types of offenses when it comes to criminal sexual conduct. There are penetration offenses, which are CSC 1st Degree and CSC 3rd Degree, and there are contact offenses which are CSC 2nd Degree and CSC 4th Degree. The statute defines aggravating factors that elevate a penetration crime from a CSC 3rd Degree to a CSC 1st Degree, or a contact offense from a CSC 4th Degree to a CSC 2nd Degree. These factors can be argued and, in some circumstances, it may be possible for charges to be reduced from a CSC 1st Degree to a CSC 3rd Degree, and from a CSC 2nd Degree to a CSC 4th Degree. Ultimately, if you are innocent of the charges, then the goal is to get the charges dropped or to win the case. Regardless, we help people in any circumstances facing charges to get the best-case outcome.

Examples of aggravating factors include the elements of “personal injury” and “force and coercion.” If both of these factors are present, then the prosecution may lawfully elevate a charge involving penetration to a CSC 1st and a contact crime to CSC 2nd. However, if the evidence shows only force and coercion without the element of personal injury present, then the prosecution will not be able to elevate the charges.

The penalties for the different degrees have a vast difference in the number of years a person can be sentenced. The difference between a CSC 1st Degree first offense and a first offense CSC 3rd Degree can be the difference between life in prison without the possibility of parole and less than 15 years in prison. Similarly, the difference between a first offense CSC 2nd and a first offense CSC 4th can be the difference between 15 years in prison and a maximum of two years in prison. Both CSC 2nd Degree and CSC 4th Degree also have the possibility of probation. The main objective is to get the charges dropped to keep a sex crime off your record.

Penetration Offenses: Criminal Sexual Conduct 1st Degree and Criminal Sexual Conduct 3rd Degree

A CSC 1st Degree charge under MCL 750.520b is the most serious felony crime listed in the Criminal Sexual Conduct Act. CSC 1st Degree involves sexual penetration of another person along with aggravating circumstances. There is a long list in MCL 750.520b of aggravating factors for a charge of CSC 1st Degree. For example, if the other person is a member of the same household, related by blood, or if the accused had a position of authority, and the alleged victim was at least 13 years of age, but under 16, then any of these aggravating circumstances would warrant a charge of CSC 1st Degree.

There are also several other aggravating circumstances that could qualify a penetration offense as CSC 1st Degree. Visit our CSC 1st Degree page to learn more about the different circumstances specified by statutory authority that qualify a penetration offense as a CSC 1st Degree. Although the ultimate goal is to see the charges dropped, dismissed, or to win the trial, it is worth reviewing the potential penalties for a conviction to understand the seriousness of the situation you might be facing.

There are three base line statutory sentencing guidelines under MCL 750.520b for a conviction of CSC 1st Degree. From the outset it is worth noting that CSC 1st Degree is a felony, and is a not a probational offense for adult offenders. Therefore, if you are over 18 and convicted of CSC 1st Degree you will be sentenced to at least some time in prison. If you are 17 or older and the other person is under 13, then there is a minimum sentence of 25 years in prison, and the maximum sentence is life in prison. Second, if you are 18 years or older and have a prior CSC conviction against someone under 13 years of age and the present conviction is against someone under 13 years of age, then the sentence is life in prison without the possibility of parole. This is the most serious penalty that can be imposed in the state of Michigan. Finally, the catch-all provision applies to all other CSC 1st Degree convictions that do not fall into either of the first two situations. The catch-all sentencing provision provides a maximum sentence of life in prison. However, this third option also includes an alternative sentence of “any term of years,” and therefore, the judge could issue a sentence for any number of years.

The person will also have to register under the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) as a tier III offense, and have a mandatory lifetime sentence of electronic monitoring. The only exception to the sex offender registration for CSC-I is if the court determines the victim consented and was over 13 years of age but under 16 years of age. The exception would be a situation of statutory rape that also qualified as CSC-I because it met the statutory requirements for aggravating factors under MCL 750.520b.

Criminal Sexual Conduct Third Degree (CSC 3rd)

CSC 3rd Degree is a penetration offense that does not include the aggravating circumstance of both coercion and personal injury. There is a long list of circumstances that qualify a penetration offense as CSC 3rd Degree. For example, CSC 3rd Degree is the charge brought when the accused is a teacher at the other person’s school, or when the accused knows the victim is mentally incapable or physically helpless. For more information about the circumstances when CSC-III charges apply visit our CSC 3rd Degree page. CSC 3rd Degree is a felony in Michigan, and if a conviction is entered for an adult offender there is not a possibility for probation. Therefore, if you are over 18 years of age and a conviction or a guilty plea is entered, then there is mandatory prison time.

The maximum sentence for a CSC 3rd Degree conviction is 15 years is prison. Additionally, there is a mandatory sexual offender registration requirement, and CSC 3rd Degree is a tier I listed offense under SORA. There is a statutory rape exception for sex offender registration if all of the following factors are met. The person convicted must not be more than four years older than the victim, and the court must determine the other person consented, and was at least 13 years of age but less than 16.

These are gravely serious charges that could cost someone the rest of their life in prison. To learn more about the specifics of each offense visit our CSC 1st Degree and CSC 3rd Degree pages. The most important thing you can do if you are being charged or may be charged with CSC 1st Degree or CSC 3rd Degree is to contact Grabel & Associates today. We are a criminal defense firm that specializes in the defense of people accused of sex crimes. Grabel & Associates has an experienced legal team that understands the responsibility of protecting people from facing life in prison. No stone can be left unturned when researching, checking, and reviewing the evidence and factual circumstances surrounding sexual allegations. You need an attorney who can understand the impact each legal decision will have on your overall presentation, and consequently on the ultimate outcome. You need a dismissal or a win, and we will work to see you exonerated from the accusations and restored and vindicated in your life, family, and community. Call 1-800-883-2138 today to schedule a free consultation and begin developing your own comprehensive, individualized, and aggressive legal defense strategy.

Contact Offenses: Criminal Sexual Conduct 2nd Degree (CSC 2nd) And Criminal Sexual Conduct 4th Degree (CSC 4th)

CSC 2nd Degree and CSC 4th Degree are the charges that are brought for inappropriate sexual contact. CSC-II is the most serious contact offense and is a felony in Michigan. CSC 2nd Degree occurs when a person engages in sexual conduct and includes any one of the circumstances specified in MCL 750.520c. Some circumstances for example are if the other person is under 13 years of age, or the other person is under 16 years of age but over 13 and is a member of the same household or related by blood. Another circumstance to warrant this charge applies when the person being charged is in a position of authority and uses the authority to coerce someone under 16 but over 13 to submit. Visit our page on CSC 2nd Degree for a more complete analysis of the circumstances that can lead to a CSC 2nd Degree charge.

There are people wrongly charged with different degrees of CSC every year. However, if you find yourself facing charges, then it is worth taking the time to understand what you are up against including the potential penalties. CSC 2nd Degree is a felony in Michigan, and has a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. However, CSC 2nd Degree is also a probationable offense, so it is possible for a conviction to be entered without going to prison. Additionally, a conviction of anyone aged 17 or older will require a lifetime electronic monitoring sentence in addition to any other sentencing. Finally, a CSC 2nd Degree conviction will have a mandatory sex offender registration. The sex offender registration will be a tier II listed offense, unless the victim was under 13 years of age, then it will be a tier III listed offense.

Criminal Sexual Conduct 4th Degree

CSC 4th Degree is the only degree of criminal sexual conduct that is not a felony. This misdemeanor has a two-year maximum prison sentence and a $500 fine, and there is a possibility of only having probation. CSC 4th Degree occurs when there is sexual contact with another person and any of the circumstances listed in MCL 750.520e are present. One of the provisions is for when the other person is at least 16, but less than 18 years of age, and the accused is a teacher or in a position of authority. For more information about the circumstances leading to a CSC 4th Degree charge visit our page on CSC 4th Degree.

CSC 4th Degree may be a misdemeanor that you could only receive probation for, but there is still a mandatory sex offender registration. A conviction could either be listed as a tier I, tier II, or tier III listed offense depending on the following information. If the victim is 18 years or older, then it is a tier I listed offense. If the victim is at least 13 years of age but under the age of 18, then it is a tier II listed offense. Finally, if the victim is under 13 and you are over 17, then it is a tier III listed offense. Visit our page on sex offender registration to learn more about the meaning of the various tiers.

Two Additional Charges Under the Criminal Sexual Conduct Act

There are four degrees of criminal sexual assault, but there are also two additional crimes under the Criminal Sexual Conduct Act.

Assault with Intent to Commit Criminal Sexual Conduct – Involving Penetration

Assault with Intent to Commit Criminal Sexual Conduct with Penetration is one of the lesser offenses under the Criminal Sexual Conduct Act and has been codified in MCL 750.520g(1). The elements of this offense are that the person committed an assault and had the intent to commit criminal sexual conduct involving penetration.

This charge is used when the elements are present, but a CSC 1st Degree or CSC 3rd Degree did not occur. This could be because of an interruption during an assault, or because of the person’s inability to consummate the offense. However, there is no need to prove that a sexual act was started or completed. This particular crime has a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, and probation is available as a potential penalty for this offense. Therefore, this is one of the crimes under the Criminal Sexual Conduct Act that you can be convicted of and not go to prison. However, this charge is a tier III listed offense, unless it is statutory rape and all of the following circumstances exist. The person convicted was not more than four years older than the other person, and the other person was at least 13 but less than 16 years or age.

This offense is a specific intent crime in Michigan which means the accused must have formed the specific intent to carry out a criminal sexual conduct of penetration. Specific intent crimes are particularly difficult to prove, because the intent is subjective and evidence of what someone had intended to do is difficult to produce. Case law determines the boundaries for what evidence is acceptable to prove a defendant had formed the specific intent of the crime. In these cases, testimony by the other person as to the defendant’s actions typically form the basis of the evidence presented to prove intent.

Assault with Intent to Commit Criminal Sexual Conduct - Second Degree

Assault with Intent to Commit Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Second Degree is one of the two lesser offenses under the Criminal Sexual Conduct Act. Here, the prosecutor must prove that an assault was committed and the defendant’s intent was to derive some type of sexual arousal or gratification from the assault. This is also a specific intent crime, so the prosecutor has the difficult task of proving the defendant intended to assault for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification, and that the person intended to touch the victim’s genitals, buttock, or breasts or the clothing covering these areas. Consequently, the prosecutor must prove that the accused specifically intended to touch the genitals, buttocks, breasts or clothing covering those areas, and that a statutory circumstance, such as, the use of force or coercion existed.

Under MCL 750.520g(2), assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct in the second degree is a felony. If you are convicted of this crime, then there is a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Therefore, it has the second lowest maximum sentence with the exception of CSC 4th Degree, which only is a misdemeanor and has a maximum sentence of two years in prison. However, assault with intent to commit CSC 2nd Degree is a probational offense, so it is at the discretion of the judge or can be negotiated as part of a plea deal with the prosecutor to not include any jail time.

Additional Considerations for Criminal Sexual Conduct

Sentence Enhancements for Prior Convictions and Felonies

Previous convictions can still result in sentence enhancements based on the Criminal Sexual Conduct Act. Under MCL 750.520f, people who have previous convictions for second or subsequent CSC convictions may receive sentence enhancements. The most notable sentence enhancement for a prior conviction under the statute is when there is a new conviction of CSC 1st, CSC 2nd or CSC 3rd Degree, and the person already has a prior conviction of either CSC 1st, CSC 2nd or CSC 3rd Degree, or a similar conviction such as gross indecency. When these circumstances exist, then the law enforces a flat mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison. Additionally, sentences can also be enhanced if there are prior unrelated felonies on the person’s record under the habitual offender provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure in MCL 769.10.

DNA Identification & Electronic Monitoring

There is a law in Michigan under MCL 750.520 regarding submitting to DNA and chemical testing for certain sexual offenses. This law is unique, because the requirement to submit to DNA identification is triggered by being arrested for an offense that would be a felony if convicted as an adult. Therefore, if you are accused of any CSC crime with the exception of CSC 4th Degree, then you will be required to submit to DNA identification which can be used as evidence against you at trial. Additionally, you can be required to submit a DNA sample if you are convicted of a misdemeanor of indecent conduct, window peeping, or indecent exposure.

Electronic monitoring is a very unique part of sentencing for certain criminal sexual conduct convictions. Under MCL 750.520n, there are two situations when a first-degree criminal sexual assault conviction can result in a lifetime of electronic monitoring. This means the person will be tracked electronically at their expense for the remainder of the person’s life. Unfortunately, Michigan does not currently have an electronic monitoring review board to appeal monitoring decisions like some other states have. The two situations are a CSC 1st Degree conviction under MCL 750.520b and when the defendant is at least 17 years old and is convicted of CSC 2nd Degree against a person who is younger than 13 years old under MCL 750.520c.

Defenses and Case Strategy: Our Approach to Criminal Sexual Assault

We will work with you at any stage of legal proceedings to create the best outcome possible. If you may be facing criminal sexual conduct charges, then the best thing to do is to get out in front of it early. If charges have yet to be filed, then our goal is to work with the prosecution to prevent charges from ever being filed.

If you are further along in the process, then the objective is to win your case. In many circumstances it may be possible to prove that the sexual penetration or contact being alleged never occurred. The specific winning legal defense strategy we employ for your case will depend on the particular facts, circumstances, and evidence of your case. For some criminal offenses, like a DUI or possession charge, it is easy to lay out the playbook for what a great defense looks like. However, criminal sexual assault cases are not one-size fits all, and we need to develop an individualized strategy based on the particular nuances of what has occurred, because a single discrepancy can create the difference for discrediting the testimony of a false accusation. The prosecutor must prove his case beyond a reasonable doubt. Consequently, if an accuser is being untruthful it is necessary to shed light on the truth to discredit fabricated accusations. In many situations we also utilize a private polygraph or lie detector test to get leverage, charges dropped or even avoid charges all together. Having handled CSC throughout the entire state of Michigan gives our firm an advantage of understanding how to individually tailor your case not only to the facts but to specific prosecutors, judges and potential jurors if the matter proceeds to trail.

You are going to need a tailor-made defense strategy based on the particular facts, circumstances, and evidence available in your case. Grabel & Associates has over 19 years of experience winning criminal sexual conduct cases across the state of Michigan. We have the experience, expertise, and integrity necessary to clear you of all charges. If you are innocent, then there are not many things worse in life than being accused of a crime for criminal sexual conduct. We understand that you demand discretion, and need results. We are here 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to begin the process of formulating your individualized and aggressive legal defense strategy. Contact us now to begin the process with a free consultation, and we will meet the allegations head-on and move you in a positive direction. Call 1-800-883-2138 for a free consultation today.

Michigan Sex Crime Attorneys Blog - Criminal Sexual Conduct

Client Reviews

★★★★★
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.
★★★★★
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.
★★★★★
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.