Sexual Assault

If you or someone you know is being charged with sexual assault, the most prudent thing you can do for you and your loved ones is to seek an experienced sex crimes attorney who excels in representing people accused of sexual assault crimes in Michigan. Grabel & Associates has specialized in the criminal defense of people accused of sexual assault and sex crimes in Michigan for more than 19 years.

Being accused of a sexually related crime may seem both terrifying and daunting, but we are here to ease the uncertainty and provide information and steps to help move you forward in a positive direction. In this section we will review the various types of sexual assault and the potential penalties, then we will conclude with a discussion about what we can do to help you and your family through this difficult period.

Technically, sexual assault is not defined in the Michigan Penal Code, but there are a series of laws that cover the topics that are commonly referred to as sexual assault and we will be discussing all of the related topics in detail. Most sexual assault offenses fall under the Criminal Sexual Conduct Act. However, “date-rape,” and statutory rape are also considered sexual assault.

Date Rape: Drug Facilitated Criminal Sexual Conduct

Date rape is unique, because it often involves illicit drugs such as Rohypnol, ketamine, or GHB. The situation often involves a person whose alcoholic beverage has had a sedative or hypnotic drug put in the drink that renders the victim in a nearly unconscious state. The person is unable to fully grasp the entirety of the situation and is susceptible to sexual assault. Consequently, there are often identification issues about who the actual perpetrator was, as well as who actually put the drug in the drink. However, these are just a few of the evidentiary issues present in date rape cases and there are many other factual, evidentiary, and legal arguments that may be made.

Under the Controlled Substances Act, there is a separate felony offense for drug related sexual conduct in MCL 333.7401. Consequently, it is not uncommon for a drug related charge and a criminal sexual conduct charge to be part of the same charge information. A person may be found guilty of MCL 333.7401 if a prosecutor is able to show that a person delivered a controlled substance to an individual without their consent and attempted to commit a criminal sexual conduct offense. It is important to appreciate that an attempt is all that is necessary to prove a conviction under MCL 333.7401. This crime does not have a mandatory sex offender registration, but the maximum sentence is 20 years in prison. Consequently, this is a very serious charge that needs to be handled with the utmost care and attention. As was previously mentioned, this charge is typically accompanied by an additional criminal sexual conduct charge which we will discuss in more detail below.

Statutory Rape: Criminal Sexual Conduct

Statutory rape is most commonly understood to be consensual sex between an adult and another person below the age of consent. However, there is no legal definition in the Michigan Penal Code for statutory rape. Therefore, incidences that would be considered a statutory rape are charged under the Criminal Sexual Conduct Act. If penetration was part of the relationship or interaction, then the prosecutor will likely bring charges of criminal sexual conduct third degree, because that is the charge for penetration offenses without aggravating factors. If aggravating factors are present, then the charge may be elevated to a criminal sexual conduct first degree.

If there was not any penetration but there was sexual contact, then the charge could either be a criminal sexual conduct second degree or a criminal sexual conduct fourth degree. Criminal sexual conduct fourth degree is the lesser charge, but if aggravating factors are found, then the charge may be elevated to a criminal sexual conduct second degree. One example of an aggravating factor is if the other person was younger than 13 years of age; there are also many other potential aggravating factors. Please navigate to our statutory rape web page to learn more about aggravating factors and the potential Romeo and Juliet sexual offender registration exception.

Penetration Offenses: Criminal Sexual Conduct First Degree and Criminal Sexual Conduct Third Degree

A penetration offense will either be charged as a criminal sexual conduct first degree or a criminal sexual conduct third degree. Criminal sexual conduct first degree is enumerated in MCL 750.520b, and is the most serious criminal sexual conduct charge in Michigan. The charge involves the sexual penetration of another person with aggravating circumstances such as the other person being under the age of 13 or using force or coercion to accomplish the penetration that results in a personal injury. There are numerous other aggravating circumstances that could lead a prosecutor to seek a criminal sexual conduct first degree conviction. Please visit our criminal sexual conduct first degree page to learn more about the other instances in which a person might be charged with criminal sexual conduct first degree.

The penalties for a criminal sexual conduct first degree are some of the most severe in Michigan. There are three sentencing guidelines depending on what aggravating circumstances the prosecutor proves at trial. If the person accused is 17 years of age or older and the other person is under 13 years of age, then there is a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison with a maximum sentence of life in prison. However, if you have a previous criminal sexual conduct conviction against someone under 13 years of age, and the current conviction is against someone under the age of 13, then the sentence is life in prison without the possibility of parole. Finally, there is a catch-all provision for all other convictions that stipulates a maximum sentence of life in prison, however, the judge also has the ability to sentence a person to “any term of years”.

Criminal sexual conduct third degree is a penetration offense that does not include aggravating circumstances which are associated with a criminal sexual conduct first degree charge. There are many instances that could require an individual to be charged with a criminal sexual conduct third degree, such as when the other person is at least 13 but under 16 and is enrolled as a student at the school where the accused teaches, or if the accused had reason to know that the other person was mentally incapable or physically helpless. These are just examples, and there are many other reasons why a person could be charged with a criminal sexual conduct third degree. If you would like to learn more information about the circumstances requiring a criminal sexual conduct third degree charge, then please navigate to our web page on criminal sexual conduct third degree. Criminal sexual conduct third degree is a very serious crime in Michigan, and the maximum sentence for this felony is 15 years in prison.

Contact Offenses: Criminal Sexual Conduct Second Degree and Criminal Sexual Conduct Fourth Degree

Criminal sexual conduct second degree and criminal sexual conduct fourth degree are the charges that are brought for inappropriate sexual contact. Criminal sexual conduct second degree is the most serious contact offense in Michigan and is a felony. A sexual contact offense occurs when there is an intentional touching of another person’s private parts and it was done for a sexual purpose. There are certain aggravating factors that can elevate a charge from a criminal sexual conduct fourth degree to a criminal sexual conduct second degree. An example is if force or coercion is used to accomplish the sexual contact and there is a resulting personal injury. A personal injury can be either physical injuries such as bruises, welts, or scratches, or it can be mental anguish such as sobbing, difficulty working, or seeking therapy. Additionally, if the other person is under 13 years of age it is an aggravating factor that will elevate a charge to a criminal sexual contact second degree.

Criminal sexual conduct fourth degree is the only criminal sexual conduct that is not a felony. Criminal sexual conduct fourth degree is a misdemeanor and has a two year maximum prison sentence, and has the possibility of probation as a sentence. A criminal sexual conduct fourth degree will be charged if there is an intentional sexual contact for a sexual purpose and there are no aggravating circumstances to elevate the charge to a criminal sexual conduct second degree. An example is if the other person is at least 16, but less than 18 years of age and is enrolled at the same school the accused teaches at. For more information about criminal sexual conduct fourth degree, navigate to our page on criminal sexual conduct fourth degree.

Lesser Criminal Sexual Conduct Offenses

Assault with Intent to Commit Criminal Sexual Conduct Involving Penetration

Assault with the intent to commit criminal sexual conduct involving penetration is one of the two lesser offenses in the Criminal Sexual Conduct Act that is not part of the degree structure of criminal sexual conduct. The two elements of this offense are that an assault was committed, and the assailant specifically intended to commit a penetration. This is a charge that is used when the aforementioned elements are present, but a sexual penetration offense did not occur. The situation leading to such an incident can vary widely, but oftentimes it is a scenario where an assault had begun but was interrupted before a penetration occurred. This offense is a felony and has a maximum penalty of ten years in prison. If a person is convicted, then they must register as a sexual offender under the Sexual Offender Registration Act. If you would like to learn more about this offense and the specific intent element, then you can visit our web page on assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct involving penetration.

Assault with Intent to Commit Criminal Sexual Conduct Second Degree

Assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct second degree is one of the lesser offenses in the Criminal Sexual Conduct Act. The two elements of this offense are that an assault was committed, and that the accused intended to derive some type of sexual arousal or gratification from the assault. Additionally, assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct second degree is a specific intent crime. Consequently, the prosecutor must present evidence that the accused specifically intended to touch the other person’s intimate parts for the purpose of sexual gratification, humiliation, or out of anger.

Assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct second degree is enumerated in MCL 750.520g(2), and has a maximum sentence of five years in prison. However, this is an offense for which probation is available as a potential punishment, so jail time is not mandatory.

Grabel & Associates Defenses and Case Strategy: Obtaining a Favorable Result

Grabel & Associates will work with you at any stage of the legal proceedings to create the best outcome possible. If you are facing allegations that have not yet materialized into formal charges, then the primary focus is to conduct a pre-file investigation and to work with the prosecutor to prevent charges from ever being filed.

If you are further along in the process, then the focus shifts from avoiding charges to preparing to win your case. Every circumstance and situation are different with sexual assault charges, and therefore, we will need to conduct a complete investigation before we can accurately determine the best course of action for a defense. However, for the sake of peace of mind it is worth noting that there are powerful and effective defenses available to sexual assault charges.

Additionally, there are other formal legal defenses that are available depending on the circumstance and evidence available. It is possible to prove the interaction never occurred and that the allegations are erroneous and fabricated. Also, consent is a legally recognized defense to sexual assault, because if the other person consented and changed their mind after the fact, then no crime actually occurred. Furthermore, an alibi is a formally recognized legal defense if you were in a different place then where the alleged offense occurred. However, these are just examples of legal defenses and there are many other legal, factual, and evidentiary defenses available.

Grabel & Associates has been aggressively defending sexual assault, criminal sexual conduct, and sexual crime charges across Michigan for more than 19 years. We have practiced before many judges, prosecutors, and juries, and consequently, we have a wealth of knowledge and experience about what is effective and yields the most favorable results. Take a moment to review our recent testimonials and success stories to see our proven track record of success. We understand that if you are facing sexual assault charges, you need and expect discretion and results. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to begin the process of crafting your individualized, aggressive, and effective legal defense strategy. Contact us online for a free consultation or call us at 1-800-883-2138. We can meet the allegations head on and win your life back.

Michigan Sex Crime Attorneys Blog - Sexual Assault

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