Michigan Sex Crimes—Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC)

Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC)

Lansing Michigan Sex Crimes Attorney

Being accused of rape or molestation is a terrifying experience. This is the type of crime where even the mere accusation has the ability to permanently harm someone’s life and reputation. The irrevocable damage can be very destructive in terms of how family, friends, co-workers, and employers view you. Even if the accusations turn out to be false, they often leave behind an indelible stain. These cases can be very emotional for those involved, including juries, judges, prosecutors, and investigators. If you have been charged, accused, or under investigation for rape, molestation, or other sex crimes, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side.

Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC), aka “Rape”

Michigan calls its rape statute Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC). It is divided into four degrees with the first and third degrees requiring penetration, while the second and fourth degrees require sexual touching. The most severe sentence is CSC 1st degree which carries up to life in prison and CSC 4th degree is the lowest which is a high-court misdemeanor carrying up to two years in prison. If convicted, you will have to comply with the Sex Offender Registry Act (SORA) unless there is an exception to your case.

Sex Offender Registry Act (SORA)

If you are convicted of criminal sexual conduct, most likely you will have to comply with the sex offender registry unless an exception applies such as the complaining witness (“victim”) was between the ages of 13 and 16, there was no more than a four-year age difference between the complaining witness and the defendant, and the act was consensual. If you are currently on the sex offender registry, you may be able to petition for removal through the Romeo and Juliet provisions or other amendments.

Corroboration of the Allegation is Not Necessary

A common misconception in rape cases is that independent evidence, such as a medical report or rape kit, must support the allegation of the complaining witness. Sadly, that is not the case. Juries are instructed that corroboration is not necessary and that they can convict based on testimony alone. Prosecutors often play on juries’ emotions and sympathy for the “victim,” especially in weak cases or cases involving minors. Sex crimes are vastly different than other criminal charges because the outcomes can be affected by false allegations and emotionalism.

Special Accommodations in Sex Crime Cases

Sex crimes are different in a lot of ways. They are unique as they have double punishment for the same offense with the sex offender registry and prosecutors are permitted to give complaining witnesses special accommodations in the courtroom, even if it is highly prejudicial to the defendant. In cases involving minors (and sometimes adults) prosecutor are permitted to use barriers in the courtroom to block the complaining witness from seeing the defendant while testifying or re-arranging counsel tables. If the complaining witness is a minor, they are also offered a support person or someone to keep them company and sit next to them while testifying.

Prior Bad Acts or Past Offenses Can be Used Against the Defendant

Another reason how sex crimes are different is that the prosecutor is allowed to do something that they are not permitted to do in any other case—they can introduce evidence that a defendant committed sexual offenses in the past (even if they were unreported and not prosecuted) in cases involving minors and offer it to the jury for propensity. In other words, the prosecutor can introduce such evidence to show that since the defendant misbehaved in the past, they can use that to conclude he had a propensity towards such misbehavior. Like its federal counterpart, the Michigan Rules of Evidence 404(b) precludes a prosecutor from introducing evidence of prior bad acts to show that the defendant acted in conformity with such bad behavior when he committed the current offense.

The main reason is that we want the jury to decide the case based upon the evidence presented on the current charge and not have their minds poisoned by acts a defendant may have committed years ago. Even acts that he was acquitted of in court can be used against a defendant! Prosecutors are allowed to do this because a special statute allows them to. Thankfully, it does have its limitations and the defense can still argue the evidence should be kept out because its irrelevant and other evidentiary reasons.

Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC) Charges

CSC 1st Degree

Involves sexual penetration and any of the following: Victim is less than 13 years old

  • Victim is 13-15 years old and a blood relative of defendant, lives in defendant’s home, or the defendant is in an authority position over victim
  • Multiple actors are involved and force or coercion is used
  • A weapon was involved
  • Victim suffers personal injury and force or coercion is used
  • Victim suffers personal injury and is incapacitated
  • Defendant was in the process of committing another felony
  • Victim is 16-17 and a student at a public or private school and defendant is a teacher, substitute teacher, coach, or administrator
  • Defendant is a person of authority over the victim

This is a felony punishable by up to any term of years up to life in prison.

CSC 2nd Degree

Involves sexual contact with the genital area, groin, inner thigh, buttocks, or breasts and any of the circumstances listed in CSC 1st.

This is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

CSC 3rd Degree

Involves sexual penetration and any of the following: Victim is 13-15 years old

  • Force or coercion is used
  • Victim is incapacitated
  • Victim is 16-17 and a student at a public or private school and defendant is a teacher, substitute teacher, coach, or administrator

This is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

CSC 4th Degree

Involves sexual contact and any of the following:

  • Force or coercion is used
  • Victim is incapacitated
  • Defendant works for the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) and the victim is an inmate of the MDOC
  • Victim is 16-17 and a student at a public or private school and defendant is a teacher, substitute teacher, coach, or administrator
  • Defendant used unethical conduct while treating the victim during a medical exam

This is a high court misdemeanor (procedurally treated like a felony) and is punishable by up to two years in prison.

Lansing Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct Defense Attorney

Being charged with rape can have life-altering consequences that may be irreversible. If you have been charged with rape, accused of rape, or under investigation for rape do not speak to the police or take any polygraph tests! Contact Austin Legal Services, PLC to speak to a Michigan sex crimes defense attorney at (517) 614-1983 today!

Defending sex crimes and allegations of rape, CSC, and molestation throughout Michigan in the counties of Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Gratiot, Livingston, Jackson, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, Washtenaw, Barry, Genesee, Shiawassee in the cities of Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, Charlotte, St. Johns, Ithaca, Brighton, Howell, Jackson, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Ann Arbor, Hastings, Flint, Corunna, Durand.