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What Does Criminal Sexual Conduct Mean?

Blank Law, PC Team

What Does Criminal Sexual Conduct Mean?

Sex crimes are prevalent globally. There are about 463,634 sexual assault victims aged 12 or above in the United States annually. Sexual assault refers to any nonconsensual sexual act (see what non-consensual sex mean). It involves fondling or intimately touching someone without consent, unwanted sexual penetration (see what is sexual penetration), and forcing someone to participate in oral sex.

If you have been charged with a sex crime, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. A criminal defense lawyer can help you fight the charges against you to avoid being convicted of sexual assault. Attorney Nicole Blank Becker is a top sex crime defense lawyer with a proven track record of success. Contact Attorney Nicole Blank Becker for a free consultation today.

What Does Criminal Sexual Conduct Mean?

All sex crimes fall under a broad term known as criminal sexual conduct in Michigan. Criminal sexual conduct (CSC) covers offenses like rape, child molestation, indecent exposure, lewd conduct, and child pornography. These sex crimes are categorized into four CSC degrees, depending on the severity of the offense.

Crimes involving sexual penetration usually fall under either criminal sexual conduct 1st degree or criminal sexual conduct 3rd degree. In contrast, offenses involving unwanted sexual contact or touching (see what is offensive touching) are classified as either criminal sexual conduct 2nd degree or criminal sexual conduct 4th degree.

Criminal sexual conduct attracts severe punishment. The penalties include a jail term, community service, probation, fines, life imprisonment, and registering as a sex offender. Being convicted of a sex offense can also affect the quality of your life, relationships, and reputation in society. You could lose your job, professional license, or visa if you are an immigrant.

First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

First-degree criminal sexual conduct refers to the most severe sex crimes. These crimes typically involve sexual penetration. First-degree criminal sexual conduct includes rape, sexual assault, and sexual acts involving minors, such as child molestation and statutory rape (see what is statutory rape).

First-degree criminal sexual conduct implies that the alleged act involved sexual penetration. Such penetration may be oral, vaginal, or anal. Another implication of a first-degree criminal sexual conduct charge is that other aggravating factors are involved.

The aggravating factors include:

  • The alleged victim is a person under 13
  • The sex offender is related to the victim, who is a minor under the age of 13
  • The victim is between the ages of 13-15 and suffers mental issues because of the sexual act involving penetration
  • The sex offender has caused personal injury to the victim
  • The offender was armed with a weapon or what the victim believed to be a weapon during sexual penetration
  • The offender has physically harmed the victim, who was already mentally or physically incapacitated

It would also amount to first-degree CSC when the accused uses a relationship or position as a school administrator, teacher, school employee, volunteer, or contractor to coerce sexual penetration.

CSC 1st degree in Michigan is a felony punishable by a minimum sentence of a lengthy prison term and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. You may be required to pay a hefty fine and court costs. In addition, you will be required to register with the Michigan Sex Offender Registry. You may also be subjected to Michigan lifetime electronic monitoring, too.

Second Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

Criminal sexual conduct 2nd degree refers to the most severe crimes involving nonconsensual sexual contact. Someone touching another person’s private parts without their consent for sexual gratification or arousal may be charged with CSC 2nd degree in Michigan. Offenses in this category do not involve sexual penetration. Examples include sexual battery and child molestation.

Second-degree criminal sexual conduct occurs when:

  • It involves a victim below 13
  • The victim is someone with a physical or mental disability
  • The offender is in a position of authority over the victim, such as a teacher, school administrator, substitute teacher, or employee of a school, and has coerced the victim into the act
  • The alleged victim is between the ages of 13-16 and is related to the perpetrator
  • The unwanted sexual contact occurs during the commission of another felony offense
  • The perpetrator physically injured the victim to accomplish the crime
  • The offender used force or coercion to commit the offense
  • The offender was armed with a weapon or what the victim believed to be a weapon during sexual contact

The penalties for CSC 2nd degree in Michigan are harsh and can permanently affect your life. You may be given a maximum prison sentence of 15 years or pay a hefty fine and court costs. You may also be subjected to lifelong electronic monitoring if the victim is a minor below 13. In addition, you may have a permanent criminal record as a registered sex offender.

Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

Criminal sexual conduct 3rd degree is similar to first-degree criminal sexual conduct because it covers crimes involving sexual penetration. An example of a sex offense under this category is statutory rape, which is the rape of a minor below the age of consent.

A person is charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct where:

  • Sexual penetration or battery occurred, and the alleged victim is a person 13 thru 15 years of age
  • The perpetrator used aggravated force to commit the unwanted sexual act
  • The offender was aware that the victim was mentally or physically incapacitated during sexual penetration
  • The offender is related to the victim
  • The victim is between the ages of 16-18 and the perpetrator is a teacher, school administrator, employee, contractor, or substitute teacher
  • The perpetrator works in a childcare organization or foster group home to which the victim belongs
  • The victim is in special education between the ages of 16 and 26

The penalties for this type of crime are severe and adversely affect the lives of sex offenders for a long time. Defendants charged with 3rd-degree sexual assault in Michigan are given a mandatory minimum sentence of one year and a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

Anyone convicted of third-degree CSC may be given a 5-year mandatory minimum prison sentence if they have been previously convicted for another offense under the first, second, or third degrees of Michigan criminal sexual conduct. They may be given the mandatory minimum sentence if they have been previously convicted of a sex offense, such as gross indecency, rape, indecent liberties, or carnal knowledge in other states.

Other penalties for third-degree CSC include hefty fines and court costs, probation, and community service. Defendants convicted of third-degree CSC may be required to have a permanent criminal record as a sex offender. Such criminal records typically contain the offender’s name, picture, residential address, and details of the crime. This information is made available to the public.

Fourth Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

Criminal sexual conduct 4th degree covers the least severe sex offenses in Michigan. Like 2nd-degree CSC, it also involves non-consensual sexual contact or touching. It involves sexually touching the intimate parts of another person’s body, such as the inner thigh, breasts, penis, vagina, and anus.

A person may be charged with CSC 4th degree in Michigan if such unwanted touching happens when the victim is clothed or naked. Also, the touching may be done by the fingers or toes of the perpetrator or using an object.

The penalties for fourth-degree CSC in Michigan include a maximum prison sentence of two years, a $500 fine, or both. A defendant convicted of this offense may also be required to register on the sex offender registry.

Why You Need an Attorney in a Criminal Sexual Conduct Case

Criminal sexual conduct cases are severe and the consequences can negatively impact your life for a long time. If you face sex offense charges, you risk a lengthy prison sentence, paying a hefty fine, and being required to register with the sex offender registry. Being convicted of a sex offense can permanently soil your reputation and prevent you from obtaining gainful employment later.

Therefore, you need to hire an attorney with experience handling cases involving sexual misconduct. A top criminal sexual conduct attorney can advise you on the available legal defenses to fight the charges against you. A criminal defense attorney can also help you improve your chances of succeeding at trial. So you need to hire a lawyer as soon as possible.

Hire Blank Law, PC

At Blank Law, PC, we are dedicated to helping defendants fight the criminal sexual conduct charges against them. Nicole Blank Becker is a top Michigan criminal sexual conduct attorney specializing in criminal sexual conduct cases. If you or your loved one has been charged with an offense of a sexual nature in Michigan, Nicole can help you create aggressive sexual assault defense strategies to beat the charges against you.

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Nicole’s unique advantage as a former criminal prosecutor in the Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Units makes her an excellent defense attorney. She can guide you through the complex criminal justice system to improve your chances of avoiding a conviction. Contact her at (248) 515-6583 for a free consultation.

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