Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC)
Sexual assault offenses carry some of the most severe and potentially damaging penalties of any crime – including life imprisonment and lifetime sex offender registration.These cases are highly fact-sensitive, extremely emotional, and too often come down to a case of he-said/she-said. In Michigan, sexual assault offenses are described as criminal sexual conduct (CSC) offenses and are distinguished by several factors including: the age of the victim, the relationship between the victim and the offender, whether or not there was penetration, and whether the use of force or a weapon was involved.
In addition to assault offenses, there are a host of other sex-related crimes that can result in imprisonment or jail time and – like the assault offenses – will require someone convicted of these crimes to register as a sex offender for several years. These include, but are not limited to: aggravated indecent exposure, gross indecency, prostitution and solicitation, accosting a minor for immoral purposes, and voyeurism.
Distinguishing Sexual Assault Crimes
Michigan categorizes sexual assault cases by degrees depending upon the nature and extent of the assault, the age of the victim, and the relationship between the victim and the defendant. The list below does not provide a complete definition of these individual crimes, but offers a general description of what they involve:
Penetration Offenses: First-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC-I) and third-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC-III) involve sexual penetration with a victim AND one or more aggravating factors, including but not limited to:
- The age or mental capacity of the victim
- The relationship between the parties (e.g. blood-related, teacher-student, etc.)
- The use of force or a weapon to accomplish the act
- Whether or not the act resulted in physical injury
Other aggravating factors include whether the perpetrator was in a position of trust over or significantly older than the victim. CSC-I, which carries a lifetime penalty, often involves extreme violence, deadly weapons, severe bodily injury, or an exceptionally young victim. CSC-III is a 15-year felony.
Contact Offenses: Second-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC-II) and fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC-IV) involve sexual contact with a victim AND one or more of the aggravating factors listed above. The penalties for CSC-II and CSC-IV are 15 years and 2 years, respectively.
Assault With Intent Offenses: Michigan law also covers sexual assault offenses where a defendant is said to have committed assault with the intent to commit sexual conduct (penetration or contact), though such conduct never actually occurred.
An experienced, aggressive criminal defense attorney, like those at the Peter J. Johnson Law Office, PLLC, appreciates the nuances at issue in every sex crime case and knows how to finagle his or her arguments to win the client the best deal possible in negotiations with the prosecutor or successfully influence the jury at trial. The stakes are simply too high not to hire a knowledgeable and tested lawyer in cases like these. And that’s not all.
Sex Offender Registration
The Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) requires those individuals convicted of certain “listed offenses” to register as sex offenders for a predetermined period of time. Those offenses are classified by Tiers (1-3), with the most severe offenses requiring lifetime registration four times a year with no relief for removal from the registry under any circumstances. Under current law, judges and prosecutors are powerless to decide or recommend whether or not a defendant should or shouldn’t be placed on the registry.
That is why it is critical to have an attorney who understands the ramifications of SORA if you’ve been charged with a sexual offense. Pleading guilty not only affects whether or not you go to prison or get probation, but it impacts the quality of your life well after your sentence is served. Registered sex offenders are routinely abused and neglected by a fearful and misinformed public. Prosecutors and judges don’t care what happens to you after you leave their courtroom, but your defense attorney should. And the attorneys at the Peter J. Johnson Law Office do.
Call the Peter J. Johnson Law Office, PLLC today for your free consultation if you’ve been charged with a sexual assault offense or any other sex-related crime in Michigan. We can talk on the phone or you can visit us in our office. Don’t waste any more time. Your future is at stake. Call us today. If you don’t reach an attorney when you call, we guarantee a callback within 24 hours. That’s a promise most lawyers won’t or can’t make in today’s world.