Sex Crimes Against Minors Attorney
Every year in Michigan there are thousands of reported sex crimes against minors and undoubtedly even more that go unreported. The State of Michigan maintains statistics on criminal sexual conduct first degree and criminal sexual conduct third degree, and last year there were a total of 2,912 of these sex crimes against minors in Michigan. If you have been charged, you need to hire one of our experienced sex crimes against minor attorneys now.
Every year a portion of these allegations are false. Children can be forced or coerced into levying allegations against an innocent person, or can make up allegations as part of something they have seen on a television program. These are just examples, but there are many reasons why someone could create false or erroneous allegations against a person. Every case is different, but the important thing is that you take these charges seriously and avoid a criminal conviction for a sex crime.
Grabel & Associates is the premier sex crimes defense firm in Michigan. We help clients regardless of their circumstances or the situation that led them to their situation. If you have yet to be charged, but fear that allegations might materialize into formal charges, then we will work with you to prevent charges from ever being filed. This keeps your record clean and prevents needing to go to trial. If you have already been charged with a sex crime against a minor, then our focus shifts to preparing for trial to win your case. This is about more than your freedom, it will affect your reputation, future opportunities, and potentially having to register as a sexual offender.
Penetration Crimes: Criminal Sexual Conduct First Degree and Criminal Sexual Conduct Third Degree
Criminal sexual conduct in the first degree is a serious felony that is brought by the prosecutor if he or she believes that there was a penetration that was accompanied by an aggravating circumstance such as force, coercion, and personal injury. If the prosecutor cannot find an aggravating factor to elevate an alleged penetration offense to a criminal sexual conduct first degree, then it will be charged as the lesser offense for penetration under MCL 750.520d for criminal sexual conduct third degree. Anytime a minor is younger than 13 years of age, then it is an aggravating factor that will elevate the charge to a criminal sexual conduct first degree.
Additionally, if the other person is at least 13 years of age but less than 16 years of age and is a member of the same household or is related to the accused by blood, then the penetration offense will be elevated to a criminal sexual conduct first degree charge. Another aggravating factor is if the accused was in a position of authority over the minor. These are just examples of aggravating factors, and there are many other potential scenarios where aggravating circumstances leading to a criminal sexual conduct first degree exist. A conviction for a criminal sexual conduct first degree when the minor is under 13 years of age has a minimum sentence of 25 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison. Additionally, criminal sexual assault in the first degree requires that the person register as a tier three sex offender.
Any other penetration offense in which the prosecutor is unable to prove an aggravating factor will be charged as a criminal sexual conduct third degree. Criminal sexual assault third degree is a felony with a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. A conviction for a criminal sexual conduct third degree requires the person to register as a tier one sex offender under the Sexual Offender Registration Act (SORA).
Contact Offenses: Criminal Sexual Contact Second Degree and Criminal Sexual Contact Fourth Degree
Sexual contact against a minor less than penetration will be charged as either a criminal sexual conduct second degree or criminal sexual conduct fourth degree. Sexual contact is defined in MCL 750.52a(q), as the intentional touching of a victim’s intimate parts, and if the intentional touching is construed to be for a sexual purpose. A sexual purpose means for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification, or in a manner for revenge, to inflict humiliation, or out of anger. Therefore, a prosecutor must show not only that an intentional contact occurred, but also that it was for a sexual purpose. Consequently, if the contact was accidental, then it would not qualify as either a criminal sexual conduct second degree or a criminal sexual conduct fourth degree.
There are certain aggravating factors that can elevate an intentional sexual contact from a criminal sexual conduct fourth degree to a criminal sexual conduct second degree. If the sexual contact is committed against a minor under 13 years of age, then the charge will be elevated to a criminal sexual conduct second degree. Additionally, anytime a minor is forced or coerced into an act and suffers a personal injury in the process will result in a criminal sexual conduct second degree charge. A personal injury can either be a physical injury such as a scratch, bruise, welt, or can be mental anguish. Mental anguish can be pain or suffering such as crying, difficulty performing work after the incident, or needing to seek therapy or treatment.
An additional aggravating factor is if the minor is at least 13 years of age but less than 16 years of age and is a member of the same household, is related by blood, or the minor’s teacher, then the charge will be elevated to a criminal sexual conduct second degree. Criminal sexual conduct second degree is a felony and has a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. A person convicted of a criminal sexual conduct second degree is required to register as a sexual offender under the Sexual Offender Registration Act. (SORA). If the minor is under 13 years of age, then it is a tier three offense, and if the minor is at least 13 years of age but under 18 years of age, then it is a tier two listed offense.
All other sexual contacts against a minor that do not have an aggravating factor present will be charged as a criminal sexual contact fourth degree. Criminal sexual conduct fourth degree is the only criminal sexual contact that is a misdemeanor. Consequently, probation is available as a potential sentence, and the maximum penalty is two years in prison.
Accosting, Enticing, or Soliciting a Child for an Immoral Purpose
Under MCL 750.145a it is a crime to accost, entice, or solicit a child under the age of 16 for the purpose of any of the following acts. First, for an immoral act or an act of sexual intercourse. Next, an act of gross indecency. Finally, any other act of delinquency or depravity. This is a crime that the prosecutor may use if a person was accused of continuously contacting a minor, but 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 penalty of ten years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Statutory Rape and the Age of Consent in Michigan
In Michigan, the age of consent is 16 years of age. If you engage in any sexual act such as penetration, fellatio, cunnilingus, or sexual contact with a person under 16 years of age, then you could face a statutory rape charge. The best advice if you are facing charges or are worried that charges might be forthcoming is to contact an experienced sex crimes attorney. Navigate to our Statutory Rape page now to learn more information about how this crime is charged, processed, and the penalties and defenses that are associated with statutory rape in Michigan.
Internet and Computer Solicitation
This crime is enumerated under MCL 750.145d(1)(a), and involves the use of a computer to solicit a minor to commit any of the listed prohibited acts of conduct. The list includes such offenses as criminal sexual conduct, child sexually abusive activities, and accosting, enticing, or soliciting a child for an immoral purpose. Additionally, this law can be used by the prosecutor in conjunction with stalking or aggravated stalking if the accused used a computer to accomplish the stalking.
There is a wide range of potential sentences for a conviction under MCL 750.145d(1)(a) depending on which particular listed offense the accused attempted to solicit the minor to commit. Therefore, the range of potential maximum sentences range from one year in prison up to a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Taking Away or Enticing a Minor Under the Age of 16
This law is codified in MCL 750.13, and prohibits a person from enticing a minor away from their mother, father, or guardian for the purpose of prostitution, marriage, or sexual intercourse. This would be a situation where an adult seduces a minor under the age of 16 and persistently asks them to come away with them. The penalty for this felony is a maximum of ten years in prison. This crime, however, does not include a mandatory sex offender registration under the Sexual Offender Registration Act.
Inducing a Minor to Commit a Felony
Inducing a minor to commit a felony is not necessarily related to sex in such a direct way as the other previously discussed crimes. The criteria for inducing a minor to commit a felony includes that a person who is 17 years of age or older that recruits, induces, solicits or coerces a minor under the age of 17 to commit an act that would be a felony if it was committed by an adult, 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 actually committed or attempted to commit the felony, only that the person recruited, induced, or coerced the minor to commit a felony.
There is a complicated penalty scheme for this crime that essentially uses the target felony that was being induced as the guideline for sentencing. So, if you induced a minor to commit a burglary, then you 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.
Displaying, Disseminating, and Exhibiting Sexually Explicit Content to Minors
There are two types of displaying sexually explicit materials to minors. The first type is enumerated in 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 contained 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 would 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), then they would be facing a misdemeanor offense with a maximum sentence of 93 days in jail and a $500 fine.
Grabel & Associates Approach to Sex Crimes Against Minors
If you or someone you know is being charged for a crime against a minor, then you should take the charges very seriously. Most of these crimes are felonies and have lengthy prison sentences that can disrupt life, families, and careers. Additionally, if the prosecution reaches a conviction on a sex crime against a minor, then you likely will be required to register as a sexual offender under the Sexual Offender Registration Act (SORA). Consequently, you will want 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 more than 19 years, and we know what it takes to win. Each case is different, and consequently we will take an effective approach to investigating the allegations and analyzing the facts, testimony, and evidence available in your case. If you are being falsely accused of a sex crime, then it may be in your best interest to perform a polygraph lie detector test. We have the experience, knowledge, and talent to get the job done and achieve a favorable outcome in your case. Our goal is to avoid having a conviction go on your record. This means we will work diligently to get the charges reduced, dropped, or dismissed.
If you are ready to take the next step toward assembling your individualized, aggressive, and comprehensive legal defense strategy, then contact us online or call us now 1-800-883-2138 for a free consultation.