What To Do if Charged with a Child Sex Crime
Engaging in a sexual act with a minor under 16 can attract severe consequences in Michigan. The Michigan legal system sets the age of consent at 16, and any child below that cannot legally consent to any sexual act. It does not matter if you were in a consensual relationship with the minor at the time of the act.
Suppose you are found guilty of committing a sexual act with a child. In that case, you could be charged with statutory rape, criminal sexual conduct (CSC), or other sex crimes involving the abuse of a child.
You need to obtain legal assistance if you want to avoid a criminal conviction. Our sex crime lawyers at Blank Law, PC zealously defend anyone accused of CSC or statutory rape in Michigan. We also assist clients in criminal sexual cases involving a child while maintaining objectivity.
Contact our law firm if you have been charged with a sex crime in any of the 83 Michigan counties. We have years of experience with cases involving minors. We have assisted defendants in fighting child molestation and sexual assault charges.
We understand the strain that sex offense charges can cause and will do our best to respond to your inquiries about the criminal justice system. Our legal team will advise you on the best course of action during a police investigation and trial, if necessary.
You need to take decisive steps if you are accused of child sexual abuse. You should also take the issue seriously, even if the accusations against you are untrue. Criminal allegations will not disappear if you ignore them. You can only defeat the criminal charges if you develop solid criminal defense strategies to disprove the victim’s claims.
If you have been charged with sexual assault involving a minor, right now is not the time to confront your accusers or the child involved. Whatever you say may be evidence against you during a criminal trial. Therefore, you should be cautious when using social media and conversing with friends, relatives, and coworkers. Also, avoid public emotional outbursts at this time.
The most crucial step to take if you are accused of the sexual abuse of a child is to hire a criminal defense attorney. A skilled criminal defense lawyer who understands the intricacies of the criminal justice system can offer direction and legal assistance in ensuring you beat the sexual assault allegations made against you.
Even though the cost for a criminal defense attorney will not be cheap, you can find an experienced, tenacious criminal defense lawyer without breaking the bank. Many attorneys offer a criminal defense free consultation; some could even be ready to provide discounts. So, ensure you consider your options carefully and select a criminal defense lawyer who can offer the best legal assistance.
Other essential steps include recollecting the incident that gave rise to the allegation. Once you know the sex crime charge against you, write down all you remember, including what you and the alleged victim were wearing, where you were, what you did, and any sexual encounters you may have had.
Furthermore, compile a list of potential witnesses who might be able to support your version of events. You could use their testimonies to refute the victim’s claims. In addition, you should inform your sex crimes lawyer if the incident that gave rise to the sexual assault accusations took place somewhere where CCTV footage of the occurrence was available. You should also provide any photos taken on the day of the event.
Such tangible proof will disprove the sexual assault claims made against you. Once you have compiled sufficient evidence relevant to your child sexual abuse case, ensure to provide it to your criminal sexual conduct attorney and no one else.
Brief Overview of Sex Crimes Against a Minor Under Michigan Criminal Law
Under Michigan criminal law, there is no specific provision against child molestation. All sex crimes in Michigan are collectively referred to as criminal sexual conduct by the Michigan Penal Code.
Criminal sexual conduct attracts harsh penalties in Michigan, including spending years in prison, mandatory sex offender registration, fines, and lifetime electronic monitoring. This sex offense is divided into four classifications, depending on the child’s age and the nature of sexual relations between the parties.
Generally, sexual misconduct in Michigan may be classified as sexual penetration or unwanted sexual contact. Sexual penetration involves anal, oral, or vaginal penetration of another person without their consent. In contrast, unwanted sexual contact includes non-consensual fondling, offensive touching, or groping another person.
Criminal sexual conduct involving sexual penetration is classified as CSC 1st degree or CSC 3rd degree. In contrast, sexual acts involving criminal sexual contact are classified as CSC 2nd degree or CSC 4th degree. Therefore, sex crimes involving minors may be classified under any of these CSC degrees.
In addition, sex crimes involving children may be regarded as child abuse under Michigan criminal law. It describes any behavior that causes bodily harm or mental harm to a child. This behavior includes physical injuries, sexual abuse, neglect, and maltreatment.
Like criminal sexual conduct, abuse charges are divided into four categories, depending on the severity of the offense. Child abuse 1st degree covers the worst cases, while child abuse 4th degree covers minor instances.
Child Abuse 1st Degree
First degree child abuse is a felony. It is the harshest child abuse charge under Michigan law. Suppose the charges against you amount to 1st degree child abuse. In that case, the police believe you have caused severe physical or mental damage to a minor.
You need to obtain legal counsel immediately if the sexual abuse allegations against you have resulted in a 1st degree child abuse charge. Prosecutors ruthlessly pursue this kind of charge to ensure that the perpetrator is severely punished. You need all the help you can get. Examples of actions amounting to first degree child abuse include broken bones and organ or brain damage.
Child Abuse 2nd Degree
2nd degree child abuse is also a felony offense. This kind of charge is brought against someone whom the police believe willfully neglects their child’s needs for housing, clothing, or food and fails to give them the required care as the child’s parents. You could be proven guilty in these circumstances, whether or not there is bodily harm.
Child Abuse 3rd Degree
3rd degree child abuse is a felony, too. Suppose you knowingly or purposefully do anything, including the sexual abuse of a child, that causes physical harm. In that case, you will be charged in the third degree. The prosecution only needs to show that the minor suffered some injury.
Child Abuse 4th Degree
Finally, 4th degree child abuse is a misdemeanor. It occurs when one of these conditions is present:
● The child suffered physical damage because of the parent or guardian’s deliberate failure to provide them with food, clothing, or shelter
● The child’s parent or guardian acted carelessly, resulting in physical harm to the child
Thus, you could be charged with child abuse if the sex crime has resulted in physical or mental damage to the minor involved. You need to consult sexual abuse lawyers to understand the nature of the criminal allegations against you. Our team of skilled lawyers at Blank Law, PC can assist you with your case. Contact us for a free consultation today.
Will Speaking with a Police Officer or Law Enforcement Agent Exonerate You when Facing Criminal Child Sexual Abuse Charges in Michigan?
You should not communicate with a detective or law enforcement official if you are under investigation for claims of sexual abuse of a child without your CSC defense attorney present. You have a legal right to remain silent during an investigation, especially if your lawyer is absent.
Refusing to speak with a police officer will not result in negative consequences for you. However, keeping silent will not stop them from detaining you for the alleged crime. You cannot completely avoid interacting with the police during a criminal investigation. Therefore, it is necessary to retain legal counsel.
An ideal attorney should be reliable and uphold the confidentiality of the attorney-client relationship. You should be able to trust your lawyer with confidential or sensitive information, which they can use to develop a defense plan customized to your case. Learn more on what to look for in a criminal defense lawyer here.
What are the Penalties for a Criminal Conviction on a Child Sexual Abuse Charge in Michigan?
Anyone convicted of sexual assault is subjected to strict penalties under Michigan law. In addition to paying a hefty fine or facing a lengthy prison sentence, with a maximum life sentence, the convicted offender will also be required to register as a sex offender. The Michigan Sex Offender Registry publishes details of the convicted sex offender, making it available to the public.
In addition, you may also be required to register with the Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry. Other penalties include losing parental rights or custody if you are the minor’s parent or guardian, lifetime electronic monitoring, and probation.
Are There Available Legal Defenses Against Child Sex Abuse Allegations Under Michigan Law?
Prosecuting attorneys take child sexual abuse cases seriously, particularly if it involves a minor. They interview children, the person accused of the crime, eyewitnesses, and others they believe can help establish the defendant’s guilt. The prosecution’s goal is to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in order to obtain a conviction.
As a person accused of the sexual abuse of a child, you should know that it is not entirely your responsibility to prove your innocence. You only need to undermine the prosecution’s case and question the reliability of the evidence they present.
A few legal defenses may be available in a Michigan sex crime case. For example, proving that the victim had attained the legal age of consent at the time of the act, which was consensual, can be a valid legal defense.
Establishing a solid alibi could also serve as a defense against sexual assault claims. Proving that you were not at the crime scene at the time or on the day the event occurred could exonerate you from the sexual assault charges against you.
Blank Law, PC Fights for Defendants Charged with Child Sexual Abuse Crimes
Blank Law, PC is a leading Michigan criminal law firm specializing in sex offenses. Our founder, Attorney Nicole Blank Becker, and her legal team support those facing false allegations of sexual abuse to help them clear their name and secure their freedom.
If you or your loved one has been charged with sexual assault involving a minor, our team can assist you in avoiding a jury trial and spending years in prison.
This contact form sends information about your case straight to our experienced legal team. Contact us today.
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