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Sex Crimes Against Minors in Michigan

Blank Law, PC Team

Sex Crimes Against Minors in Michigan

Being charged with a sex crime is one of the most serious offenses you could ever face within the Michigan legal system. If convicted, you could be looking at a tarnished reputation, shame for your family, trauma for your own children, an enormous fine, a lengthy prison sentence, and sex offender registration that will follow you for the rest of your life.

The potential consequences and damage to your life are far worse if you are accused of sex crimes against minors. Local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors aggressively pursue these kinds of sex offenses, and judges are prone to hand down harsh sentences to anyone convicted of committing sexual assault or a violent crime against a child.

Since child sex crimes are taken so seriously, you must take immediate steps when you have been accused of any kind of offense involving a sexual act with a minor. Your freedom and your entire future depend on it.

Make no mistake – child sexual abuse cases have the potential to ruin your life, even if you are innocent and even if you have been falsely accused. Do not waste time, because every minute you delay hurts your chances of beating these charges.

To help you understand just what you are up against and why you need to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney, let’s take a closer look at the various sex crimes against minors in Michigan – their legal definitions, the potential penalties and consequences, and the possible defense strategies that may keep you out of prison and off of the sex offender list.

In the Michigan legal system, the statutes concerning child sexual abuse are quite complicated. Some of the laws are so similar that the difference between being charged with a misdemeanor sex crime and a felony sex crime is a matter of nuanced interpretation and the legal arguments made to the court.

This term refers to the age at which an individual may legally engage in any type of sexual activity. In the state of Michigan, the age of consent is 16. Although the Michigan Penal Code does not use the term, an adult who has sexual knowledge of a minor younger than 16 is commonly referred to as having committed “statutory rape.”

To be clear, statutory rape – a form of sexual assault – is a crime, even if both parties allege consensual sex. Under Michigan law, an underage child cannot legally consent to sexual intercourse or any other sexual act.

Other Types of Statutory Rape

There are even some circumstances where the age for legal consensual sex increases to 18. For example, it is a sexual offense known as criminal sexual conduct when there is intercourse, sexual penetration, or inappropriate touching between an adult and a minor who lives in the same household or is a family member.

A CSC offense also occurs when there is any kind of sex act or touching between the alleged victim and someone in a position of authority or power over them – a teacher, counselor, foster parent, etc.

Accosting, Enticing, or Soliciting a Child for Immoral Purposes

Michigan Penal Code Sections 750.145a & 750.145b

This felony sex crime involves any adult who attempts to force a minor child to commit an immoral, depraved act, or indecent act.

Accosting a child for immoral purposes is punishable by a maximum of four years in prison and/or a $4,000 fine. Every subsequent conviction carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

Possession of Child Sexually Abusive Material or Child Pornography

Michigan Penal Code Section 750.145c

These felony sex offenses involve sexual or erotic depictions of a minor child under the age of 18. The depictions are illegal on all viewable/transmittable media – printed images, video recordings, mechanical, digital, and even sound. It is still a sexual exploitation crime whether the media are originals or reproductions.

The production, transmission, copying, or possession of these materials still violates Michigan child pornography laws, regardless of whether they actually depict an underage child engaging in indecent or sexual acts, or merely appear to do so.

Enticing, coercing, or forcing a minor to appear in sexually abusive material is a felony sex offense with maximum penalties of a 20-year prison term and a $100,000 fine.

The punishment is much worse if:

  • The victim has not yet experienced puberty
  • The material depicts sadomasochistic child sexual abuse or bestiality
  • The sexually abusive material contains an unlawful video or more than 100 images

If any of the above are proven, a felony conviction is punishable by up to 25 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $125,000.

Anyone who knowingly finances, promotes, or distributes child pornography in Michigan may face felony charges that carry maximum penalties of seven years in prison and a $50,000 fine. The penalty worsens for the aforementioned aggravating circumstances, increasing to a maximum of 15 years in prison and a $75,000 fine.

Finally, anyone who seeks, accesses, or possesses child pornography may be charged with a felony punishable by a maximum of four years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. Aggravated penalties are far more severe – up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $50,000.

A second or subsequent violation of any part of statute 750.145c carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison.

Criminal Sexual Conduct in the First Degree

Michigan Penal Code Section 750.520b

Criminal sexual conduct 1st degree is the appropriate child sexual abuse charge when an adult has sexual penetration with a minor under any of the following circumstances:

  • The alleged victim is a person under 13 years old
  • The alleged victim is at least 13, younger than 16, and:
  • Lives in the same home as the adult alleged perpetrator
  • They are related by blood or affinity – i.e. the adult is a step-parent of the minor alleged victim
  • The adult alleged perpetrator uses their position of authority over the minor alleged victim to coerce or force them into submitting to sexual assault
  • The alleged perpetrator is a teacher, administrator, official, employee, volunteer, or contractor at the school or district where the victim is enrolled as a student
  • The alleged perpetrator was an employee, volunteer, or contractor at the child care organization or foster home where the child was a resident at the time of the sexual abuse or sexual assault

This type of child molestation includes any type of penetrative sex involving the mouth, genitals, or anus.

CSC 1st degree is a serious sexual violence felony that carries harsh penalties if convicted.

Anyone aged 17 or older who gets convicted of first-degree criminal sexual act against a victim younger than 13 will receive a minimum mandatory prison sentence of 25 years. The maximum term is imprisonment for life.

The CSC 1st-degree Michigan penalty for sexual abuse cases involving an adult perpetrator and victims younger than 13 can be a sentence of life without the possibility of parole for a second or subsequent conviction.

Individuals convicted of CSC 1st degree are also subject to sex offender registration and lifetime electronic monitoring as convicted sex offenders.

The attempted rape or 1st-degree CSC of a child is also considered a felony. Under Section 750.92 of the Michigan Penal Code, anyone convicted of attempted rape of a minor can be sent to prison for up to five years.

Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Second Degree

Michigan Penal Code Section 750.520c

Criminal sexual conduct 2nd-degree criminal sexual conduct occurs under the same circumstances as a CSC 1 but now involves any criminal sexual contact. This includes all forms of child molestation through sexual touching – petting, fondling, masturbation, etc.

The CSC 2nd degree Michigan penalty for these crimes is felonies punishable by up to 15 years in prison. In addition, if the victim in a CSC 2nd degree case is younger than 13, the judge will order sex offender registration and lifetime electronic monitoring.

Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Third Degree

Michigan Penal Code Section 750.520d

Since both involve unlawful sexual penetration, criminal sexual conduct 3rd degree is very similar to a CSC 1st degree. The primary difference between these two sexual abuse charges is that first-degree crimes usually involve force, coercion, or even sexual violence, while 3rd-degree sexual assault often occurs even when both parties claim that the sex was consensual.

However, Michigan state law is very clear on the subject of this kind of child sexual abuse – just because someone is willing to have sex, that does not mean that they are legally capable of granting consent.

This important distinction means that even if the minor victim purposefully engages in any activity that includes sexual penetration of any kind, the law states that they are too young to legally grant consent. This is why this sexual assault charge is commonly referred to as statutory – rather than forcible – rape.

Of special relevance, you can still face charges, even if the minor victim refuses to cooperate, even if they say that they were a willing participant, and even if there was no sexual violence.

The CSC 3rd-degree Michigan penalty is a felony punishable by a maximum of 15 years in prison.

Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Fourth Degree

Michigan Penal Code Section 750.520e

Similar to CSC 2nd degree, criminal sexual conduct 4th degree also involves unlawful non-penetrative sexual touching between a minor and an adult.

Which child sexual abuse charges are filed largely depends on the ages of both parties. If the alleged victim is younger than 13 years old, 2nd-degree CSC will probably be filed. If the minor victim is between 13 and 15 and the alleged perpetrator is five or more years older, then 4th-degree sexual assault is the most likely scenario.

CSC 4th-degree charges may also be filed when the District Attorney’s Office believes it can prove that the minor victim was sexually assaulted, but there is not enough evidence to expect to secure a second-degree child sexual abuse conviction.

Unlike other child sexual abuse crimes in Michigan, CSC 4th degree is a misdemeanor sex offense. The maximum CSC 4th-degree Michigan penalty is still severe – two years in prison and a $500 fine.

Child Prostitution Statutes

Michigan Penal Code Sections 750.448 thru 750.462a

Prostitution is the exchange of money or goods for sexual intercourse or acts. Usually, solicitation charges are considered to be relatively minor – first and second offenses are classified as misdemeanors. In most cases, anyone convicted of solicitation will receive a small fine and little to no jail time.

However, solicitation of a minor is a far more serious child sexual abuse crime. Engaging or even attempting to engage in paid sexual services from someone younger than 18 is a felony sex crime punishable by up to several years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

Section 750.13 of the Michigan Penal Code states that anyone who entices or takes away a child younger than 16 for the purposes of child prostitution has committed a felony child sexual abuse crime that carries a penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment.

Other child sexual exploitation crimes in Michigan carry even stiffer penalties, particularly those that involve human trafficking or sexual slavery:

  • Procuring sexual slaves for a brothel
  • Forcing someone to work as a prostitute
  • Receiving the earnings of a prostitute

Each of these are felonies that are punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Sexual Abuse and Child Protective Services

According to the 2020 Child Maltreatment Report, 7% of cases verified by Child Protective Services involved victims of some form of child sexual abuse:

  • Child molestation
  • Sexual assault, aka criminal sexual conduct
  • Actual or attempted rape
  • Sexual exploitation

This makes sexual abuse of a child a major reason for CPS intervention because workers are required by law to investigate claims affecting child and adolescent health. They are also required to notify the police of all verified instances of child sexual or physical abuse or violent crimes against children.

The converse is also true. If you are accused of a sex crime against a child in Michigan, CPS may investigate your home and your relationship with your own children, even if they are not the alleged victims.

In other words, child sexual abuse charges are so serious that you may have to deal with the consequences in both criminal and family court.

Fighting Charges of Sex Crimes Against Children

While child sexual abuse is an unacceptable crime in American society, there are still two sides to every story. It is the duty of your Michigan criminal sexual conduct lawyer to fight for your legal rights and to make sure that your story is presented in the best possible light.

If the charges are false, then it is your CSC defense attorney‘s job to defend you by challenging every statement, every witness, and every piece of evidence. The prosecution must prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and your rape defense attorney needs to raise that doubt and make the prosecution’s job as hard as possible.

Even if some or all of the charges are technically true, you still deserve effective representation that best protects your interests. If your side is presented properly, the damage to your life and reputation may be much less than it otherwise could have been.

If there are extenuating circumstances, such as mental illness, there may be opportunities for a reduced sentence and rehabilitation programs that can serve as alternatives to a lengthy prison term, including:

  • Mental health evaluation
  • Treatment for any psychiatric disorders
  • Rehab programs for substance abuse problems
  • Medication
  • Electronic monitoring

These options are often part of a plea bargain agreement negotiated by your experienced sex crimes defense lawyer and the prosecution in lieu of an expensive, time-consuming, and unpredictable trial. The prosecution gets a successful conviction and you get lesser charges, a smaller fine, less prison time, and a more favorable outcome than you might have received.

Justice can be served without ruining the rest of your life.

The Right Michigan Child Sex Crimes Lawyer

If you are facing charges of child molestation, statutory rape, or any other sex crime against a minor, you need to take immediate action.

To protect yourself, your freedom, your family, and your future, you need an experienced Michigan sex crimes defense attorney who understands the law and who knows how to fight for your legal rights.

This is why you need the law office of Blank Law, PC

For more than two decades, founding Attorney Nicole Blank Becker has specialized in sex crime cases. Her professional experience as an Assistant Prosecutor and her role as the former Chief of Macomb County‘s Sex Crimes Unit and Child Abuse Crimes Unit gives her a unique strategic insight on how to best counter the prosecution’s claims.

Attorney Christopher Coyle worked 30 years as a Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor, eventually rising to Deputy Chief of the Special Victims Unit.

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Together, that’s over 50 years of specialized and expert sex crimes defense that should be working on your behalf. If you need help, contact Blank Law, PC for a FREE CONSULTATION.

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Phone: 248-515-6583

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