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How Long Can You Go to Jail for Sexual Assault?

Blank Law, PC Team

How Long Can You Go to Jail for Sexual Assault?

The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) reports that one in five women and one in 71 men will be victims of sexual assault at some point in their lives. Additionally, one in four girls and one in six boys will be the victim of a sex crime before they turn 18.

If you or someone in your family is charged with unwanted sexual contact or sexual assault against someone, you need to understand the potential consequences of these crimes. You should also seek legal representation for these criminal charges since being convicted of these crimes can lead to serious penalties and jail time.

Understanding Sex Crimes in Michigan

A sex crime is one that is sexual in nature or intent. There are several types of sex crimes, each with a different definition under Michigan law. Since they are different crimes, each one has unique punishments upon conviction. Since each of the crimes is a sexual offense, though, there are some similarities regarding how they are handled.

One of the similarities is that if you are convicted, you will likely receive a prison sentence. Also, after you are released from prison, you will likely have to register as a sexual offender.

Due to the seriousness of sexual assault and other sex crime charges, it is important to have strong legal counsel on your side, to defend your rights.

How Long Can You Go to Jail for Sexual Assault?

Here, you can learn more about the common types of sexual assault and sex crimes in Michigan, and the potential penalties you will face if convicted.

1st Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

According to Michigan law, criminal sexual conduct 1st degree or CSC 1st degree Michigan is the most serious of all charges. There are two factors that the prosecution must prove for you to be charged with this.

The first is that sexual penetration of the alleged victim occurred. The second includes a few elements outlined in Michigan criminal law. These include any of the following:

If you are convicted of a first-degree criminal sexual act, several potential penalties apply. These include:

  • Up to life in prison with a minimum prison sentence of 25 years if the victim was under 13
  • The requirement to register as a sex offender
  • See CSC 1st degree Michigan Penalty for more details

2nd Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

While this charge is not as serious as 1st-degree CSC, it is still a serious charge that you may face after committing or being accused of sexual assault, indecent assault, unnatural sexual intercourse, or aggravated sexual assault. This is because criminal sexual conduct 2nd degree does not involve penetration. Instead, it is used for charges of sexual contact with a victim (see: what is offensive touching?).

Sexual contact is defined as the intimate touching of private parts or the genital area. It is important to note that under the law, “private parts” include the thigh.

Along with the allegations of sexual contact, these criminal charges involve a victim who is under 13, a family member of the perpetrator, or someone who had authority over the victim when the alleged sexual contact occurred.

If you are convicted of CSC 2nd Degree Michigan, you can face up to 15 years in prison. Once released from your prison sentence, you would be required to join the registry of sex offenders for 25 years.

3rd Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

With a 3rd-degree sexual assault Michigan charge, it means there was sexual intercourse with the alleged victim; however, the victim was either:

  • Under the age of consent (which is 16 in Michigan)
  • Is unable to consent due to a mental incapacitation
  • Force was used to achieve sexual penetration or oral sex

A common crime that is charged as criminal sexual conduct 3rd degree is “statutory rape,” which occurs when the sexual intercourse is consensual (i.e. it is not sexual assault or indecent assault), but the people involved were under the age of consent.

Conviction of a 3rd degree sexual abuse of a minor charge comes with up to 15 years in prison and the requirement that the individual registers with the state as a sex offender for the remainder of their life.

4th Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

CSC 4th degree does not involve sexual penetration, like 2nd Degree CSC. Instead, 4th-degree sexual assault is a charge of sexual contact or touching that is intimate in some way. In this situation, sexual contact or sexual assault occurs when the perpetrator has authority or power over the alleged victim. It may also involve a situation where force or a weapon was used, serious bodily injury was threatened, or the victim was mentally incapacitated when the sexual assault occurred.

A conviction of criminal sexual conduct 4th degree comes with up to two years in prison and fines of up to $500. You may also have to register as a sex offender for a certain number of years or the rest of your life.


Rape is a type of sexual assault charge that applies to situations where someone is forced to participate in sexual activities without their consent or against their will. In the state of Michigan, rape is not a separate sexual assault charge. Usually, this will be charged as first or third-degree criminal sexual conduct. The same applies to date rape charges. While it may be discussed as a separate crime, it will be charged as first or third-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Child Sexual Abuse or Sexual Assault

According to Michigan sexual assault laws, child sexual abuse and sexual assault refers to all types of abuse or assault involving children. This includes rape, sexual assault, molestation, or any other sexual assault crimes.

Due to how Michigan law is established, crimes that involve sexual contact, regardless of whether it involves penetration or only touching, are charged as one of the four CSC degrees mentioned above.

Charges of Sexual Assault without Evidence

It is possible to be charged with sexual assault, sexual battery, indecent assault, and other sex crimes without hard evidence in the state of Michigan. What this means is that the charges can be filed based on a victim’s statements to the police. There is no need for “hard” evidence – no witnesses, videos, DNA, or anything else.

The law in Michigan states that the testimony provided by a victim does not have to be corroborated. This means someone can take the stand, and accuse you of sexual assault, and the prosecution can use this to charge you. If the jury believes the victim’s testimony, you may be convicted of sexual assault.

This is not an unusual scenario. Some of the most common sexual assault cases involve he-said, she-said cases with no tangible evidence from either side. One reason for this is that many alleged victims do not report sexual assaults and other sex crimes right away. This means that any evidence that is available degrades or is forgotten as time passes.

Remember, even without evidence, the penalties for sexual assault and other sex crimes are significant. Along with potential jail time, other consequences include:

Lifetime Electronic Monitoring

When it comes to sexual assault charges, many people discuss the requirement of sex offender registration. However, regarding the penalties for sexual assault, there is another common consequence – Michigan lifetime electronic monitoring. In some sex crime cases, this monitoring will be required for the remainder of your life.

SORA – Michigan’s Sex Offender Registration Act

After you complete your prison sentence, if you have been convicted of a sex crime, you may be placed under additional restrictions for the rest of your life or for a certain amount of time. This includes the requirement to register on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry. The PSOR (Public Sex Offender Registry) in Michigan publishes the names, addresses, school information, employment status, and photographs of all convicted offenders to both national and state websites.

You must update your information any time you change your employment, move residences, sell or buy a car, or enroll in school. You must also report from time to time in person to verify the information included on the registry. The failure to register as a sex offender in the state of Michigan comes with additional penalties.

The information contained in the PSOR can be accessed by neighbors, family members, and potential employers. This means that your financial interests and relationships may be at risk. Due to the long-term impact this can have on your life, you must hire a top sex crimes defense lawyer to help you fight these charges. If you are convicted of sexual assault and required to register as an offender, it is a good idea to remain compliant with the relevant laws and statutes. This will ensure you don’t violate the Sex Offenders Registration Act.

Get Help with Charges of Sexual Assault

Are you facing sexual assault charges in Michigan? Want to know how to prove you didn’t sexually assault someone? If so, there is no question that it can be a scary and intimidating situation. Due to the potential penalties, you will face if convicted, it is important to get in touch with a criminal sexual conduct attorney who has experience handling these types of cases.

You can not take chances regarding these types of criminal charges. A conviction can impact your life in many ways and leave you struggling to find work and a place to live.

Is a Polygraph Exam Necessary if You are Accused of Sexual Assault?

If you are accused of sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault, you should never agree to take a polygraph test without first speaking to your attorney.

When the police request that you take a polygraph exam, it is important to note that the examiners are not there to get to the truth. Usually, they conduct this exam and ask sex offender polygraph questions unscrupulously, say that you have failed, and then try to get you to confess to the sexual assault charges against you.

Before agreeing to this type of test, be sure to contact your rape defense attorney. Doing so will ensure that you have the best outcome for your sexual assault case. Remember, the penalties for sexual assault are significant if you are convicted, and this is true for any type of sexual conduct. Additionally, any sexual assault case, whether a Class D felony or misdemeanor, comes with a mandatory minimum sentence. Learn what is mandatory minimum sentencing here.

What to Do When Facing Sexual Assault Charges

It is common for people – of all ages and genders – to experience some type of sexual assault, violence, or misconduct at some point in their lives. Since cases of sexual assault are so common, it is important to know your options if you are facing charges of sexual battery, indecent assault, aggravated sexual assault, or another sex crime.

Regardless of the sexual assault case you are facing, there are legal options to consider. It is important to contact a reputable and experienced Michigan sexual assault attorney for help with your case.

Developing a Winning Defense for Sexual Assault Charges

Working with an experienced sex crime attorney is recommended when facing any sexual assault charge, no matter if you are facing a Class D felony or a lesser misdemeanor sex crime charge. Some of the ways sex offender lawyers will likely work to defend you and your situation include:

  • Determining if the accuser has any motivation to fabricate the accusations against you (see: what if a minor lies about their age?)
  • Determine if the accuser has ever accused someone else of the same thing
  • Find out if the accuser was questioned in a suggestive manner, which may result in a false memory
  • Evaluate the policy process to determine if any mistakes were made during their investigation
  • Accessing if the police properly handled the physical evidence related to the case

When you hire an experienced sex crime attorney, you will find that there are many ways to build a viable defense. This is extremely important since many of the charges will come with a mandatory minimum sentence that includes jail time, fines, and the requirement to register as a sex offender.

If you need help with a sexual assault charge, contact Attorney Nicole Blank Becker of Blank Law, PC. You can call (248) 515-6583, text, or visit her website online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to get help with the criminal charges you are facing. You can not afford to waste time, as your CSC defense attorney needs as much time as possible to build viable sexual assault defense strategies for the charges you are facing.

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