Ypsilanti Sex Crimes Defense Attorney
By Daniel T. Geherin
Sexual offenses are serious crimes that generally involve sexual misconduct aimed at someone else. The consequences of a conviction are not only harsh legally but can also seriously damage your standing in the community. If you’re facing a sex crime charge, don’t put off seeking the professional legal counsel of an experienced Ypsilanti sex crime defense attorney.
Criminal Sexual Conduct
Sex crimes in Washtenaw County are charged as criminal sexual conduct, and they relate to both penetration and sexual touching. These charges are classified according to degree – with first-degree charges being the most serious.
First-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct
First-degree criminal sexual conduct charges apply when sexual penetration is involved – along with one of the following:
● A victim who was under the age of 13 at the time of the offense.
● A defendant who was in a position of authority or power over the victim at the time of the offense.
● A defendant who was armed with a weapon at the time of the offense.
● A defendant who used force or coercion to gain the victim’s submission.
If convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, you’ll face a prison sentence that can go all the way up to life, and if the victim was under the age of 13, there’s a minimum sentencing requirement of 25 years in prison. At this level, lifetime inclusion on the Michigan sex offender registry is required.
Second-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct
Second-degree criminal sexual conduct charges apply to sexual touch that relates to the victims' genitals or private areas – rather than penetration. For the crime to be classified as second-degree criminal sexual conduct, one of the following must apply:
● The victim was under the age of 13 at the time of the offense.
● The accused is a family member of the victim.
● The accused was in a position of authority over the victim at the time of the offense.
The penalties associated with a conviction for this crime include up to 15 years in prison and inclusion on the registry for up to 25 years.
Third-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct
Third-degree criminal sexual conduct involves sexual intercourse with someone who hasn’t reached the age of consent in Michigan, which is 16, or who isn’t able to consent due to impairment or physical or mental incapacitation. In some cases, this charge is referred to as statutory rape, which involves otherwise consensual sex with a victim who is unable to provide legal consent – like if they’re too young. A conviction carries up to 15 years in prison and registration as a sex offender for life.
It's important to mention that Michigan has a Romeo and Juliet provision that keeps people who are no more than 4 years older than their romantic partner – who isn't yet 16 – off the registry. Sex offender registry laws are harsh, and bringing your strongest defense in the face of a criminal sexual conduct charge is paramount.
Fourth-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct
Fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct charges relate to sexual touching rather than penetration, and one of the following elements must also apply:
● The accused used force or coercion to gain the victim’s submission.
● The accused has some form of authority or power over the victim at the time of the crime.
● The victim was mentally incapacitated, such as by alcohol or drugs, at the time of the crime.
This criminal sexual conduct charge is brought as a misdemeanor, and a conviction carries up to 2 years in prison, fines of up to $500, and the possibility of being on the registry for life.
Common Sex Crimes in Michigan
There are a wide variety of sex crimes that apply in the State of Michigan.
Sexual assault is the charge of pressuring someone to engage in sexual conduct against their will and can include penetration or unwanted sexual touching of the victim’s genitals or private areas. The charge of sexual assault can also apply when the victim doesn’t consent, such as if they’re unconscious, under the influence, asleep, or incapacitated.
Assault with Intent to Commit Criminal Sexual Conduct
Assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct applies when the accused intended to engage in criminal sexual conduct with the victim, and it enhances the original assault charge. The severity of the crime depends on whether or not the accused intended to penetrate the victim sexually or intended to engage in another form of sexual interaction, such as sexual touch.
The charge of rape applies to nonconsensual intercourse, which is a violent offense that brings serious legal penalties. Even consensual sex can rise to the level of rape if the victim is too young to consent legally, which is often referred to as statutory rape.
Child pornography refers to photos, videos, or moving pictures that depict a child under the age of 18 engaging in a sexual act or that appear to depict a child who is under the age of 18 engaging in a sexual act. Pictures or videos that depict a child who is under the age of 18 in a sexualized manner are also considered child pornography.
Child pornography can include depictions of any of the following:
● Sexual fondling of a child
● A child’s passive involvement in a sexual act
● A child’s erotic nudity
● A child’s sexual excitement
● A child engaged in masturbation
● Sexual intercourse with a child
● The sadomasochistic abuse of a child
Cybersex crimes are a form of internet sex crime that includes all the following:
● Distributing child pornography online
● Possessing child pornography in an electronic form
● Receiving or downloading child pornography over the internet
● Enticing or soliciting underage victims of sexual abuse online
Sex crime charges involving children are especially harsh.
Prostitution & Solicitation
In Michigan, it is illegal to solicit prostitution or a lewd act. Importantly, both a person offering sexual services or a person looking for them can be charged with a crime.
Intentionally exposing one’s own genitals or private parts or someone else’s in public is the crime of indecent exposure. When the charge relates to having sex in public or in a location where others could observe the act, it’s elevated to gross indecency.
Failure to Register
If you’re required to register on the sex offender registry but fail to do so, it’s the separate crime of failure to register. The related penalties include:
● Up to 4 years in prison and fines of up to $2,000 for a first offense
● Up to 7 years in prison and fines of up to $7,000 for a second offense
● Up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000 for a third offense
Call a Ypsilanti Sex Crimes Defense Attorney Today
If you’ve been charged with a crime in Washtenaw County, your best option is to contact a specialized and local criminal defense firm. Our sex crimes defense attorney at Geherin Law Group is ready to help you defend yourself by offering a free telephone and/or office consultation. We're conveniently located right off of I-94. There are also several ways to contact us 24/7, including by calling us at (734) 263-2780 or emailing us at email@example.com. We’ll gladly discuss why we’re the perfect law firm to answer your questions, give you personal attention, and help you fight to put your life back together after receiving criminal charges.