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Saline Sex Crime Defense Attorney

By Daniel T. Geherin

Michigan law addresses a wide range of sexual offenses, and the charges are serious. Sex crimes in the state range from sexual assault, sex crimes with minor victims, sex acts involving coercion or force, and beyond.  If you are facing a sexual offense charge, you need skilled legal guidance, and it’s time to consult with an experienced Saline sex crime defense attorney.  

First-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

Sex crimes in Michigan are ranked by degree, and first-degree criminal sexual conduct – or  first-degree CSC – is the most serious level. In order for a first-degree charge to apply, the victim must have been sexually penetrated and one of the following aggravating factors must apply:

●      The victim was under the age of 13 at the time.

●      The accused was armed with a weapon at the time.

●      The accused used force or coercion to make the victim submit. 

●      The accused was in a position of authority over the victim at the time. 

A conviction carries a sentence of up to life in prison with a minimum sentence of 25 years when the victim is under the age of 13. Additionally, inclusion on the sex offender registry for life is required.  

Second-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

Second-degree criminal sexual conduct – or second-degree CSC – charges relate to sexual contact that doesn’t include penetration but, instead, focuses on intimate touching of the victim’s genitals or private parts. It’s important to note that even the victim’s thigh can be classified as a private part. To reach the level of second-degree criminal conduct, one of the following must apply:

●      The victim was under the age of 13 at the time.

●      The accused is a family member of the victim or had authority over the victim at the time.

Statutory penalties for second-degree CSC include up to 15 years in prison and up to 25 years of sex offender registry.

Third-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

Michigan Legislature defines third-degree CSC as sexual penetration of a victim who hasn’t yet reached the age of consent, which is 16, or who is unable to consent due to impairment or mental incapacity – or when force is used. 

A common example of third-degree CSC is what is often referred to as statutory rape, which can apply to teenagers when one is below the age of consent – even when the sex itself is consensual . 

Third-degree CSC is a felony that carries penalties of up to 15 years in prison and registration as a sex offender for life. 

Fourth-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

Fourth-degree CSC, like second-degree CSC, addresses sexual touching rather than penetration. One of the following must also apply in order to get a conviction:

●      The accused must have some form of power or authority over the victim. 

●      The accused must have used force or coercion. 

●      The victim must have been mentally incapacitated at the time the crime was committed.

Fourth-degree CSC is a misdemeanor that carries a prison sentence of up to 2 years and fines of up to $500 – along with potentially permanent inclusion on the sex offender registry. 

Sexual Assault

The charge of sexual assault relates to using pressure or force to coerce someone into having sexual contact that’s unwanted. This can include when the victim is asleep, impaired, unconscious, or physically incapacitated. Sexual assault comes under the larger classification of criminal sexual conduct.

Computer Sex Crimes

Computer sex crimes in Michigan include all the following serious charges:

●      Possession of child pornography

●      Distribution of pornographic materials involving minors

●      Downloading or receiving files containing child porn

●      Online enticement – or the solicitation of underage youth

●      Participation in online solicitation or prostitution

The Michigan penal code classifies computer sex crimes according to severity, and the penalties are harsh.

Assault with the Intent to Commit Criminal Sexual Conduct 

Assault with the intent to commit criminal sexual conduct breaks down into two separate charges that apply when sexual assault is intended but not completed, including:

●      Assault with intent to commit sexual conduct involving penetration

●      Assault with intent to commit sexual conduct in the second degree, which involves physical interaction other than penetration, such as sexual touch

Failure to Register 

When those whom the law identifies as registered sex offenders fail to register on the Michigan sex offender registry, it can lead to serious legal consequences. The statutory penalties for failing register include:

●      First-time offenders face up to 4 years in prison and up to $2,000 in fines.

●      Second-time offenders face up to 7 years in prison and up to $7,000 in fines.

●      Third-time offenders face up to 10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

It’s important to note that a second conviction for any sexual offense generally leads to enhanced charges and penalties.  

Defense Strategies 

If you’re facing a sex crime charge, establishing a solid defense is key, and for that you’re well advised to have a dedicated Saline sex crime defense attorney on your side. Your case involves unique circumstances, and your defense strategy will be similarly unique. Most successful defenses are grouped in categories like the following:

Wrongfully Accused 

Just because you’re accused of a sex crime doesn’t mean you’re guilty of the crime, and charges often hinge on one person’s word against the other’s. The burden of proving your guilt falls to the state, and if they don’t have the necessary evidence, this burden can prove too great. 

Rights Violations

The police are bound by careful rules and restrictions when it comes to evidence gathering, and when these are violated, any related evidence can be thrown out. We’re afforded important rights that address search and seizure in this country, and any overstepping on the part of the authorities can bolster your defense. 

You also have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney, and if the police arrest you or interrogate you in relation to a crime of any sort, they must inform you of these rights and must stop the questioning as soon as you ask for an attorney. It’s important to understand, however, that invoking your right to remain silent involves actually holding your tongue. If you continue talking, anything you say can be used against you.


If the act in question was between consenting adults in the first place, it’s not a sexual offense. The matter of proving consent can be exceptionally challenging and proceeding with professional legal counsel in your corner is an excellent plan.

Lack of Evidence

The prosecution sometimes fail to have enough evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and your seasoned criminal defense attorney will shine a light on this fact. 

Reach Out to an Experienced Saline Sex Crime Defense Attorney Today

Daniel T. Geherin is the founding and principal attorney at Geherin Law Group, proudly serving Saline, Michigan, and he’s earned recognition as one of the few attorneys in the state who are board certified in criminal law. Our savvy legal team is on your side and here to help, so please don’t wait to contact or call us at 734-263-2780 for more information today.