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Sex Crimes Attorney in Michigan

By Daniel T. Geherin

Sex crimes in Michigan are especially serious and legally challenging. If you’ve been hit with a charge involving a sex crime, protecting your rights and your future is critical. In order to accomplish this, you’re well advised to seek the skilled legal guidance of an experienced sex crimes attorney in Michigan from the outset. 

What Is a Sex Offense in Michigan?

Sex offenses in the Michigan Penal Code relate to any kind of sexual misconduct that involves sexual contact or penetration, and the charges are wide-ranging. 

Rape and Statutory Rape

Rape is termed criminal sexual conduct in Michigan, and it refers to nonconsensual sexual intercourse with another person. While Michigan doesn’t have a specific statutory rape charge on the books, the age of consent is 16. This means that engaging in sexual activity with someone who isn’t yet 16 can lead to a fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct charge. 

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is the crime of forcing or pressuring another person into engaging in sexual contact when they don’t want to. This includes both penetration and unwanted touching of private body parts. The charge of sexual assault can also apply when the victim is incapable of consenting, like if they’re asleep or unconscious, are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or are otherwise physically helpless. 

Indecent Exposure or Public Indecency

Indecent exposure in Michigan refers to knowingly exposing one’s own private body parts or someone else’s in public. Urinating in public or flashing others generally fits the bill. 

Gross Indecency 

Engaging in a sexual act in a public location or in a location where others may view or be exposed to the act is classified as gross indecency in Michigan. 

Child Pornography

Child pornography is considered a form of child sexual exploitation. Child pornography refers to child sexually abusive material that depicts a child under the age of 18 engaging in a sexual act – or that appears to depict a child engaging in a sexual act. Child pornography is not protected by First Amendment rights. 

Child Molestation 

Child sexual molestation – or abuse – refers to having sexual contact with a child, which can include exposing the child to pornography or photographing them in a sexual manner. 

Sexual Harassment 

Sexual harassment refers to unwelcome sexual advances on the job, which can include requests for sexual favors and beyond. 

Prostitution and Solicitation 

The charge of prostitution falls under solicitation, and it involves seeking, offering, or consenting to sexual activity for pay. 

Human Trafficking 

Human trafficking under Michigan laws addresses those who are kept in virtual bondage via force, fraud, or coercion for purposes related to sex or labor exploitation. 

Michigan Sexual Offense Statutes 

Michigan sex offender laws break down charges according to degree, and penalties for sex crimes in Michigan correspond with the degree assigned.

Criminal Sexual Conduct in the First Degree

Criminal sexual conduct in the first degree is the most serious category, and it includes charges related to rape and sexual assault – as well as other crimes like child molestation. A conviction can lead to a sentence of up to life in prison, lifelong electronic monitoring, and a criminal record as a sex offender that includes the sex offender registry. 

Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Second Degree

Second-degree criminal sexual conduct involves sexual touching without penetration that’s related to sexual gratification, is committed in anger or as an act of revenge, or is intended to humiliate the victim. The State of Michigan pays special attention to any power differential that’s involved. A conviction for criminal sexual conduct in the second degree comes with a prison sentence of up to 15 years and registration as a sex offender. 

Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Third Degree

When the sex crime in question involves penetration but doesn’t rise to the legal definition of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree, the charge is brought as criminal sexual conduct in the third degree. The related penalties include up to 15 years in prison and inclusion on the sex offender registry. 

Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Fourth Degree

When the sexual offense involves sexual touching without penetration but doesn’t meet the legal definition of criminal sexual conduct in the second degree, the charge of criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree applies. If convicted, the accused faces up to two years in prison and registry as a sex offender.  

What Are the Tiers of Sex Offenses in Michigan? 

Sex offenders are classified by tiers in the State of Michigan, and the tiers are based on the following variables:

●      The sex crime committed

●      The age of the people involved

●      How likely the accused is to become a repeat offender

There are three unique tiers.

Tier I Sex Offender

Tier 1 includes those charged with criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree, which can include child pornography, indecent exposure, or the unlawful restraint or imprisonment of a minor. 

Tier II Sex Offender 

Those grouped in Tier II have generally been convicted of criminal sexual conduct in the second or third degree, which can include a crime against nature in Michigan or solicitation of a minor for immoral purposes. 

Tier III Sex Offender 

Tier III sex offenders have been convicted of criminal sexual conduct in the first, second, or third degree – depending upon the circumstances – and an example is gross indecency against an accuser under the age of 13.

Defenses for Sex Crimes in Michigan

If you’re facing a sex crime charge, bringing a solid defense is key, and having a trusted sex crimes defense attorney in Michigan on your side is an important first step in the process. In order to obtain a conviction for the alleged crime, the state must prove specific elements. For example, in a rape case, they must prove that the act happened, that the accuser didn’t consent, and that the accused used force or the threat of force to complete the act – each of which can prove challenging.

While your defense strategy will be specific to your case, some common defense categories include:

●      You’ve been falsely accused. 

●      The act happened between consenting adults. 

●      It’s a matter of mistaken identity. 

●      The state’s evidence is weak. 

●      Your constitutional rights were violated.

Why Hire a Sex Crimes Attorney in Michigan?

The importance of having a practiced criminal defense attorney on your side can’t be overstated. You’re looking for someone with an impressive range of experience who is well acquainted with Michigan laws and has the legal insight, focus, and resources to skillfully protect your rights.  

Consult an Experienced Sex Crimes Attorney in Michigan about Your Case 

The founding and principal attorney at Geherin Law Group, Daniel T. Geherin, has the distinction of being one of the few attorneys in Michigan who is board-certified in criminal law. Our trusted Michigan criminal defense lawyers are committed to employing the full force of their impressive experience and legal skill in pursuit of your case's best possible conclusion. We are standing by to help, so please don't put off reaching out and submit a contact form or call us at 734-263-2780 for more information about what we can do for you today.