1st and 3rd Degree Sexual Penetration: What’s the Difference?
Sex crimes are usually classified based on the nature of prohibited sexual conduct. Thus, most sexual assault offenses may be grouped as crimes involving sexual contact or sexual penetration. Sexual violations, particularly those involving sexual penetration, are widespread. In the United States, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men have experienced sexual penetration that was either completed by physical force, attempted rape, or made possible by alcohol or drugs.
Many legal systems worldwide have imposed strict laws punishing those convicted of sexual assault. Convicted offenders guilty of sexual offenses frequently receive higher penalties than other sex offenders. Therefore, you risk spending years in prison if convicted of a sexual penetration offense in Michigan.
You should consult a sex crimes defense lawyer who can put forth aggressive sexual assault defense strategies if you or your family member is charged with a sexual assault offense involving unlawful sexual penetration. Our Michigan legal team at Blank Law, PC is prepared to help you defeat the sexual assault allegations brought against you.
Criminal sexual conduct (CSC) is the umbrella phrase used to describe all sex offenses in Michigan. Offenses like statutory rape, child molestation, indecent exposure, lewd behavior, and child pornography are all examples of criminal sexual conduct. When a person is accused of a sexual offense, the criminal sexual conduct charge is usually determined by the nature of the offense and the alleged victim’s age.
The categories of CSC charges include:
Under the Michigan criminal justice system, individuals accused of an offense involving penetration may be charged with CSC 1st degree or CSC 3rd degree. However, if the unlawful sexual encounter involved nonconsensual sexual contact, you will be charged with CSC 2nd degree or CSC 4th degree. Second degree CSC covers the most severe offenses of criminal sexual contact, while CSC in the fourth degree covers minor cases.
Unwanted sexual contact involves offensive touching, fondling or groping another person without their consent. It includes sexual contact with another person’s breasts, genitals, or thighs for sexual gratification without that person’s consent. This type of sexual contact could occur when the alleged victim is fully clothed or naked.
On the other hand, sexual penetration refers to inserting any part of one’s body or any object into the genital or anal openings of another person’s body, whether through sexual intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, anal intercourse, or any other intrusion, no matter how minor. The emission of semen is not necessary, neither is breaking the hymen essential.
Although criminal sexual conduct in the 1st and 3rd degrees involve oral, anal, or vaginal penetration, first degree criminal sexual conduct typically occurs in the worst sex crimes. Third degree criminal sexual conduct refers to all other penetration cases that do not fall under 1st degree CSC.
The alleged victim’s age and the existence of aggravating factors typically determine if a person will be charged with a criminal sexual conduct offense involving first or third degree penetration. First degree criminal sexual conduct often involves a person under 13 years old or one who is physically helpless or mentally incapacitated. In contrast, if the victim is a person 13 thru 15 years of age, the sex offense will be considered criminal sexual conduct in the third degree.
You need a Michigan sex crimes lawyer if you have been charged with first or third degree criminal sexual conduct. At Blank Law, PC, we have decades of experience defending those accused of sexual assault. Our team of seasoned sexual abuse lawyers can advise you on what to expect if someone claims you sexually assaulted them. We are available and ready to work with you to develop aggressive criminal sexual conduct defense plans in your case. Contact us to arrange your criminal attorney free consultation.
What Type of Sexual Behavior is Classified as First Degree Sexual Penetration?
First degree criminal sexual conduct is a felony offense. Sex crimes like rape, sexual assault, and child sexual abuse, such as child molestation, are all considered 1st degree criminal sexual conduct.
For a sexual offense to be considered 1st degree CSC, any of these aggravating factors must be present:
- The alleged victim is below 13
- The sex offender belongs to the same household as the victim
- The offender is related by affinity or blood to the fourth degree
- The sex offender is in a position of authority over the victim, which they have used to coerce sexual penetration
- The victim is between the ages of 13 and 15 and experiences mental health problems as a result of the criminal sexual act that involved penetration
- The sexual offender inflicted personal injury on the victim
- The offender used a weapon or what the victim perceived to be a weapon while engaging in sexual contact
- The perpetrator is assisted or abetted by one or more other persons, and the perpetrator knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally incapacitated or physically helpless
- The perpetrator is assisted or abetted by one or more other persons, and the perpetrator uses force or coercion to accomplish the sexual penetration
- The victim, who was already physically helpless or mentally incapacitated, has suffered personal injury by the perpetrator
- Using a connection or position as a teacher, substitute teacher, administrator, student, volunteer, or contractor to coerce sexual penetration (see: teacher sexual misconduct)
What Type of Sexual Behavior is Classified as Third Degree Sexual Penetration?
Third degree CSC is similar to first degree CSC because it includes offenses involving sexual penetration. Statutory rape is an example of 3rd degree criminal sexual conduct. A person could be charged with 3rd degree criminal sexual conduct under any of the following circumstances:
- The accused victim, who is between the ages of 13 and 15, was subjected to sexual intercourse or sexual battery
- The unwelcomed sexual act was performed with excessive physical force by the offender
- The perpetrator was aware that the victim was physically helpless or mentally incapacitated to consent to sex
- The victim and the offender are related
- The perpetrator is a teacher, school administrator, staff member, independent contractor, or substitute teacher, and the victim is between the ages of 16 and 18
- The victim is in special education and is between the ages of 16 and 26
- The perpetrator works for a childcare facility or foster group home to which the victim belongs
Penalties for First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct
The CSC 1st degree Michigan penalty is a felony punishable by a prison term up to life. You may also be mandated to pay a hefty fine and court charges.
Convicted offenders of 1st degree CSC are placed on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry for life, which publishes their criminal record to the public. This kind of crime is labeled a tier 3 sex offender offense.
Anyone convicted of first degree CSC can also be subject to lifetime electronic monitoring. In addition, a 1st degree CSC conviction may result in losing your professional license, your job as a teacher or substitute teacher, or your immigrant visa. A sex offense conviction also impacts your relationships, reputation, and general quality of life. You could also be included in the Michigan Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry.
Penalties for Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct
The punishment for this crime is severe and has life-altering consequences. The mandatory minimum sentencing for those found guilty of third degree criminal sexual assault is one year in jail, and the maximum sentence is 15 years.
Anyone previously convicted of a first, second, or third degree criminal sexual conduct crime in Michigan may have their sentence increased to a minimum 5-year term. In addition, if they have a history of convictions for sex offenses, including gross indecency, rape, indecent exposure, or carnal knowledge in other states, they shall receive the required minimum sentence.
The CSC 3rd degree Michigan penalty also includes hefty fines, court fees, probation, and community service. Third degree CSC convictions may result in a mandatory sex offender registration for the defendant. The sex offender registry publishes the offender’s criminal record containing their name, photograph, residential address, and specifics of the offense. This data is publicly available.
What are the Available Legal Defenses for First and Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct Under the Michigan Legal System?
The best response to sexual assault claims is an aggressive defense. If someone claims you sexually assaulted them, they must provide evidence. The accused person’s guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt before the prosecution can secure a criminal conviction. Therefore, you can avoid being convicted of sexual assault by disputing the prosecution’s assertions.
Speak with an experienced CSC defense attorney if you want to refute the claims against you. You can decrease the severity of the criminal charges levied against you or get them completely dropped with the assistance of an excellent rape defense attorney.
One of the most frequently used defenses in sexual assault cases is consent. However, it only applies if the victim is an adult without a physical or mental disorder. It may not be recognized as a legitimate defense in 1st degree or 3rd degree CSC cases since they frequently involve minors who have not attained the legal age of consent in Michigan.
Another possible legal defense in Michigan CSC cases is mistaken identity. There are several reasons why a victim or law enforcement officials can mistakenly identify someone as an offender. Examples include drinking, intoxication, and improper handling of DNA evidence.
Contact Blank Law, PC for an Aggressive Defense Against Criminal Sexual Penetration Allegations
Attorney Nicole Blank Becker is a renowned criminal defense lawyer in Michigan with several years of experience fighting for those facing sexual assault charges. She can defend you if you or a loved one has been accused of first or third degree CSC. She can also help you if you have been charged with CSC in the second or fourth degree.
When you create an attorney-client relationship with us at Blank Law, PC, our legal team will work with you to increase your chances of successfully defending yourself against the sexual assault claims. Nicole has a distinct advantage in assisting you in putting together a vigorous CSC defense because of her experience as a former sex crime prosecutor in Macomb County. Contact us to schedule a free legal consultation today.
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