Child Molesting Felony Charges in Michigan
Criminal sexual abuse of a child is a serious crime in Michigan and, upon conviction, carries significant fines and penalties. Along with the legal ramifications of a criminal sexual conduct conviction, you may also deal with damage to your reputation and the need to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life.
Each year, there are thousands of reported child abuse and child molestation cases in Michigan. If you are charged with sexual abuse involving a child in the state, you must contact an experienced sex crimes defense lawyer immediately. Your attorney will need to gather confidential or sensitive information from the prosecuting attorney to help establish sexual assault defense strategies for the sex crime you have been charged with.
Child Molesting Felony Charges in Michigan
According to the state’s Penal Code, there is no law for molestation specifically. Instead, two types of criminal sexual conduct are recognized in the state.
These two acts are described in the Criminal Sexual Conduct Act and include sexual penetration and prohibited sexual contact. Due to this, sexual contact is the closest way to charge cases of child molestation, which includes things like fondling, offensive touching, and groping.
If you are facing sexual molestation or contact charges, the two criminal offenses that the prosecution will have to charge you with include:
What Sex Crimes are Included Under the Second and Fourth Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct Charges
Sexual contact in Michigan has a broad definition. Also, it is necessary that the sexual contact was done for a sexual purpose to meet the statute’s standards. Sexual contact in the statute is described as the intentional touching of intimate parts or of the clothing over the intimate parts.
For the prosecuting attorney to meet the requirements of the first element, they must prove intentional touching of the victim occurred and that the touching was to the victim’s body or clothing over the intimate part of the body. Intimate parts are defined as the buttocks, vagina, or breasts. The prosecution also must prove that the intentional contact was made with a sexual purpose or goal.
The standard that is used to determine if the contact was done for a sexual purpose is the “reasonable person standard.” A reasonable person is defined as a hypothetical objective observer that is considered an objective person standing in the role of the individual who is being judged.
The question that must be considered is not if the accused person believed they were making sexual contact, but if a reasonable person in the same situation would have believed the contact made was sexual.
In Michigan, there are three definitions of contact that is made for sexual purposes the prosecution can use to prove the second element, that the touch that occurred had sexual intent. The first consideration is if a reasonable person would believe the contact made was intended for sexual gratification or arousal. Also, if the reasonable person would believe the contact was done as an act of revenge. With this element, the definition is broader regarding contact in a sexual way. That is because revenge may mean several things besides what will sexually gratify or arouse someone.
The last definition of a sexual purpose is if the reasonable person would believe that the contact or touch was done out of anger or to inflict humiliation. As you can see, the definition of “sexual purpose” is widened significantly. That is because when touch to someone’s private parts occurs for humiliation or anger, it will qualify based on the reasonable person standard that it was done for a sexual purpose.
Sexual Contact Done with a Sexual Purpose
In cases where intentional contact is made to a child’s intimate areas, and someone reasonable in the situation would believe it was done for a sexual purpose because the purpose was to gratify or arouse, to inflict humiliation or revenge, or if it was done in anger, the prosecution may make the argument that sexual contact took place. Do not underestimate the seriousness of these charges.
How Does Child Molestation or Sexual Contact Turn into Sexual Penetration?
After you review and discuss the sexual contact definition, it is clear it is quite broad and inclusive. However, the definition used for penetration is extremely broad. What may appear to be sexual contact at first can be argued by the prosecution as a penetration offense.
The distinction has serious ramifications. The charges will likely be increased if the prosecutor argues penetration instead of sexual contact. Both are felonies, but penetration charges have longer maximum prison sentences than contact charges. Also, if your situation is argued as penetration, you do not have the option of having the charge reduced to a 4th degree sexual assault charge, which is a misdemeanor sex crime than a felony.
A Deep Dive into Michigan Sexual Abuse Charges
According to Michigan law, abuse of children involves any physical harm or mental harm. Abuse of a child includes physical injuries, sexual abuse, and cases of maltreatment. Learn more about what is the difference between sexual assault and sexual abuse here.
These types of crimes are separated into different categories, and the penalties are serious for all these crimes. Keep reading to learn about each of these.
First Degree Child Abuse Charges
In the state of Michigan, a 1st degree child abuse charge is the most serious. If you are charged with this, the authorities believe you have inflicted serious physical or mental harm on a child.
Some examples of this type of child abuse include when a child has broken bones, internal organ or brain damage, or something similar. Prosecutors will aggressively pursue charges against those who have caused this type of harm to a child. You need to hire an attorney right away to help when facing these charges due to the serious consequences that you may face.
Second Degree Child Abuse Charges
2nd degree child abuse charges in the state of Michigan means a parent willfully fails to provide proper care to their child and neglects their need for shelter, clothing, or food. One example of this type of child abuse would be a parent driving drunk while their child is in the vehicle. In these situations, you will be charged whether physical harm results or not. If you are convicted of this crime, you face up to 10 years in prison.
Third and Fourth Degree Child Abuse Charges
Third degree charges are felonies, and fourth degree charges are misdemeanors. If you are facing these charges for harm to a child, you may be sentenced to time in jail if you are convicted. You will face third degree charges if you knowingly or intentionally commit any act against a child that resulted in physical harm. All the prosecutors must show is that the child was harmed in some way.
A 3rd degree child abuse charge is a felony. If convicted, you will face up to two years in prison. Some attorneys and judges refer to this charge as a “high-court misdemeanor.” However, if you are asked on any type of application if you have been convicted of a felony, you must answer “yes.”
A 4th degree child abuse charge requires one of the following to be true:
- The child’s parent or guardian willfully did not provide a child with shelter, clothing, or food, and the child experienced physical harm because of it
- The child’s parent or guardian committed some type of reckless act that caused physical harm to the child
If you are convicted of this crime, you may face up to a year of jail.
Even though this charge is not as serious as the others, it still carries real penalties and may impact your life in many ways if you are convicted.
Potential Penalties for Child Sexual Abuse Convictions in Michigan
You will face first degree child abuse or first degree criminal sexual act charges if sexual penetration occurs between you and a person under 13. This sex crime comes with a possible lifetime prison sentence (see: CSC 1st degree Michigan penalty). Any sexual contact with a child under 13 may result in 15 years in prison and the requirement of lifetime electronic monitoring. If you are charged with the sexual penetration of a person 13 thru 15 years of age, you may face significant fines and an extensive prison sentence (see: CSC 3rd degree Michigan penalty).
Also, any sex crime involving a child, including child abuse and child molestation (1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th degree crimes), no matter if physical harm results from it, are criminal offenses. These sex crimes also come with fines and potential jail time if you are convicted, along with the possibility of registering as a sex offender in the Michigan Sex Offender Registry.
Hiring a CSC defense attorney when facing any type of child abuse or child molestation charges is highly recommended. A lawyer can keep you out of jail and maintain your reputation. The first step is to get in touch and discuss your criminal sexual conduct charges. A top criminal sexual conduct attorney will defend you aggressively when you hire us to help you fight for your freedom and name.
Our Goal is to Help Defend You Against Child Abuse or Sex Crime Charges
Trials involving child sex crimes are demanding and require experienced and competent sex offender lawyers. Our attorneys will work to defend you if you are charged with child abuse, child molestation, or any other child-related sex crimes. We will work to take the right steps to help you achieve the results you want and need. We understand the complexities of child molestation cases and understand how to achieve results for our clients. We take pride in building a strong attorney-client relationship with all of our clients and will work for you, no matter how challenging the situation may seem. Thanks to our extensive experience, we have an advantage, and you can feel confident you are receiving the best possible criminal sexual conduct defense in the state.
Young children are susceptible to suggestions, and they can also be easily influenced. When you hire our legal team, you can count on us to get to the truth and ensure that any unfair or untrue testimony is not used against you in court. We understand how difficult it can be to win a sexual abuse case involving children. However, your voice and side will be heard when you have the Blank Law, PC team working for you. Never put your future at risk with inexperienced representation. Get in touch with us today.
There is no question that child sexual abuse cases can be stressful and overwhelming. Our attorneys provide you with the support and direction you need to get through the legal proceedings. We use a team approach when defending your molestation case and combine our experience and resources to ensure you have the best possible defense for the charges you are facing.
It is essential to hire an attorney who understands the law in Michigan and how the different elements will impact your charges. It is possible that you are charged with one crime, but convicted of something else. If it is proven in a trial that you are actually innocent of the charge you are facing, you may still face a conviction of a lesser offense. With the right attorney, you will have someone who anticipates this and builds your defense based on it. When you hire us, we aim to ensure that you have the best possible outcome for your case.
Reach Out to Our Legal Team Today
When you face any type of child-related sex crime, you need an attorney who can provide you with the defense you need.
Our legal team is ready to help. Contact the office of Attorney Nicole Blank Becker to schedule a Michigan criminal defense attorney free consultation. We focus on sex crimes and helping those who need it by providing an aggressive defense tailored to your situation.
These cases are not easy and take a lot of time and effort. Our team is up to the challenge and will put our resources and years of experience to work for you. Contact Blank Law, PC today to learn more about our services and how we can help you with your case.
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