Statutory Rape Lawyers in Michigan

Relationships develop in many different ways, and the age of consent varies by where you live. The relationship you were involved in may have seemed and felt completely consensual, but the fact is, people under the age of 16 in Michigan lack the legal capacity to consent to a sexual relationship. Consequently, if you or someone you know was involved in a relationship with a minor, then there is the potential for very serious criminal sexual conduct charges. In Michigan, statutory rape is actually charged under the same statute as forcible rape depending on the circumstances and age of the minor. Our statutory rape attorneys will discuss the differences of the various charges a person could face in detail.

If you or your child is being charged with a statutory rape crime in Michigan, then the most important thing you can do is to seek competent, aggressive legal representation. You need a sex crimes attorney who has experience working with sex crimes in Michigan, and understands the sensitive nature of the circumstances you are dealing with. Grabel & Associates is the premier legal defense firm in the state of Michigan. We have specialized in sex crimes for more than 19 years and have the experience, talent, and professionalism to win these complicated and often sensitive cases.

Our first order of business is to get the charges dropped so you can move on with your life. If we cannot get the charges dropped, then we intend to win your case. We are dedicated to achieving the best outcome for you and your family possible. We are going to look at the law involving statutory rape charges, then talk about what we can do to help your situation and how to move you forward.

Statutory Rape and Criminal Sexual Conduct

Statutory rape is not actually defined by the Michigan legislature. However, most people understand statutory rape to mean consensual sex between an adult and person below the age of consent. This may be the reason that it is not defined by the Michigan legislature, because when a person is below the age of consent, then they lack the legal capacity to actually form consent. Therefore, it does not matter what the minor said or how they interpreted the accused actions, it can still be argued by the prosecution that a rape occurred. In Michigan, the Criminal Sexual Conduct Act governs all charges of rape and statutory rape.

Different Degrees and the Aggravating Factors that can Elevate the Degrees

There are two primary categories of criminal sexual conduct (CSC). There are crimes of penetration and crimes of sexual contact. Before moving forward, it is important to state that the definition of penetration is very broad and encompasses all manner of oral sex and using fingers in the vagina or anal opening. Therefore, any offense involving penetration according to this definition will either be charged as a criminal sexual conduct first degree or a criminal sexual conduct third degree. The defining characteristic for a penetration charge of criminal sexual conduct first degree or criminal sexual conduct third degree is the other person’s age. It is not necessary for the prosecutor to prove that a personal injury occurred as is often the case in other criminal sexual conduct first degree charges.

The other category of offenses is called a sexual contact offense and are either charged as 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 another person’s intimate parts or the intentional touching of the clothing covering the immediate intimate parts of the other person’s intimate parts. Consequently, the prosecutor has to prove that a contact occurred, not that the minor refused or resisted. However, the prosecutor has to prove that the sexual contact was made for a sexual purpose in one of the following ways. First, that the intentional sexual touching was done for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification. Next, that the intentional sexual contact was done in a sexual manner for revenge. Finally, that the sexual contact was made to inflict humiliation or out of anger.

If the Relationship Involved Penetration: Criminal Sexual Conduct First Degree and Criminal Sexual Conduct Third Degree

If the relationship that led to the allegations involved penetration of any sort including oral sex, then it could be charged as either a criminal sexual conduct first degree or a criminal sexual conduct third degree. Both charges are felonies. However, criminal sexual conduct first degree is the more serious charge and is a has a maximum penalty of life in prison with no potential for probation as a sentence. The thing that separates whether a prosecutor may decide to pursue charges of a criminal sexual conduct in the first degree instead of the less serious criminal sexual conduct third degree is whether he or she believes that he or she can prove certain factors that are enumerated in the statute. These elevating factors raise the stakes to allow a charge to be prosecuted as a criminal sexual conduct in the first degree or a criminal sexual conduct third degree.

There are numerous elevating factors, and if the prosecutor can prove one of them exist then he can charge the penetration offense as a CSC first degree. First, if the other person was under 13 years of age, then it will be charged as a CSC first degree. Next, if the other person is at least 13, but under 16 years of age and the accused is a member of the same household or is related by blood or affinity to the fourth degree. Also, it is not typical in statutory rape charges, but if for some reason the prosecutor can prove that an element of force or coercion was used to accomplish the act and it resulted in personal injury to the other person, then it can be charged as CSC first degree. If a conviction for CSC first degree is entered in addition to the possibility of life in prison, there is a mandatory lifetime of electronic monitoring after prison. This means the person will be electronically tracked at their own expense for the remainder of their life. There is currently no review board in Michigan to appeal lifetime sentences of electronic monitoring.

If a sexual penetration of a minor occurs and is not charged as a CSC first degree then it will be charged as a CSC third degree. This is the case when the person is at least 13 years of age, but under 16 years of age. Additionally, if the other person is at least 16 years of age but less than 18 years of age and is a student at the same school where the accused is a teacher, they will also be charged with CSC third degree. CSC third degree is also a felony and has a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. There is not the possibility of probation as a sentence for a CSC third degree conviction. This exemplifies why it is so important to retain the most qualified sex crime attorney available to review all available evidence and fight to win your case.

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

If there is any sexual contact at all of a minor, then there is the potential for a criminal sexual conduct second degree or a criminal sexual conduct forth degree charge. Similar to a criminal sexual conduct first degree and criminal sexual conduct third degree charge, there are certain elements that can elevate an intentional sexual contact of a minor from a CSC fourth degree to a CSC second degree. A CSC second degree is the more serious charge and is a felony in Michigan with a maximum penalty of up to 15 years in prison. Additionally, a CSC third degree conviction includes a lifetime of electronic monitoring and the person would be electronically tracked at their own expense for the remainder of their life.

The factors that can elevate an intentional sexual contact of a minor from CSC fourth degree to a CSC second degree are if the minor was under 13 years of age. Another elevating factor is if the other person was at least 13 years of age but less than 16 years of age, and was a member of the same household as the accused or is related by blood or affinity in the fourth degree. Although they are much less common in statutory contact situations, there are also a multitude of other factors that could potentially push a charge up to a CSC second degree. They include if the accused was armed with a weapon, used authority to coerce the other person, or the act was committed during the commission of another felony.

All intentional sexual contacts of a minor below the age of consent will be charged as a criminal sexual conduct forth degree. A criminal sexual conduct fourth degree is the only criminal sexual conduct charge that is a misdemeanor instead of a felony. The maximum sentence for a CSC fourth degree is two years in prison, but probation is possible. However, if you are convicted of a CSC fourth degree you will still have to register as a sex offender. Therefore, the best course of action is to pursue an aggressive legal defense strategy that aims to have the charges dropped, reduced, or dismissed.

Statutory Sexual Contact: Romeo & Juliet Exceptions to Sex Offender Registration

The law does take special exception to when the other person seemed to consent to the conduct when it comes to registering as a sex offender. This is rather peculiar exception, because for a CSC charge the law does not recognize a minor’s legal capacity to consent. However, when it comes to the special hearing for proving exceptions to sex offender registration, then one of the elements that must be proved by a preponderance of the evidence is that the other person consented.

Before we get into the particulars of claiming the exception it is important to note that the time is crucial for claiming the exception. You must request a hearing on the exception after a conviction is entered, but before the judge issues a sentence. At the hearing it must be shown that the person convicted was no more than 4 years older than the other person, and the act was consensual. If these circumstances are proven at the hearing, then the person is exempt from a lifetime of registering as a sex offender. This is a truly powerful exception, because being placed on the sex offender registry means any person can look up a map of where you live, see your mug shot picture, and the crime you were convicted of. This can have a detrimental effect on your employment opportunities, potential relationships, and your standing in the community.

Grabel & Associates Approach to Statutory Rape or Statutory Contact Charges and Criminal Sexual Assault

Statutory rape charges often are initiated by the parents of a minor motivated by revenge or other ulterior motives. We take a holistic approach and delve into every facet of a case. It is necessary to comb through all of the evidence, testimony, and any accompanying police reports for inconsistencies or elements that could weaken the prosecutor’s case. Also if the accused is between 17 and 24 years of age he or she can be eligible for youthful trainee status or HYTA which could completely keep a statutory rape charge completely off their record and also avoid sex offender registration.

We help all clients regardless of their circumstances or the stage of the legal proceedings that they are currently at. If you are facing allegations but have yet to be charged, then the primary objective is to prevent charges from ever being filed to help you keep your record clean. However, if you are further along in the criminal justice process, then it may be necessary to prepare for trial. If you have to go to trial, then the goal should be to win. We have been winning criminal sexual assault cases involving statutory rape in Michigan for more than 15 years.

If you are facing allegations or charges related to criminal sexual assault, sex or contact with a minor, or statutory rape, then you should contact Grabel & Associates immediately, so we can begin the process of formulating an aggressive and individualized defense strategy to get the best outcome possible. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and we offer free consultations to help get you or someone you care about on the right path towards a brighter future and success. Call 1-800-883-2138 today to set up your free consultation.

Michigan Sex Crime Attorneys Blog - Statutory Rape

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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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