Criminal Sexual Conduct

Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC) cases are especially sensitive because conviction will truly be life changing. Being found guilty for sex offenses in Michigan will haunt and follow a defendant for the rest of their lives. This is an area of the law where false allegations, misrepresentations, and witness manipulation will often times affect the results of a case, especially with sexual crimes involving minors. Not only do these cases create the potential for serious jail and prison time, they also carry the burden of registering as a sex offender. As these cases are often very fact driven, a successful defense to sex offenses requires a complete cross examination and a through analysis of the physical evidence performed by experienced sex crime lawyers. Only knowledgeable defense attorneys will have the expertise to get to the bottom of these allegations, preventing charges of sex crimes from affecting a defendant’s entire life.

Criminal Sexual Conduct Assault Charges

There is a wide variation in the type of criminal sexual assault charges that can be brought against a citizen in Michigan. Criminal sexual conduct – first degree and third degree both involve sexual assault that includes some kind of penetration, while criminal sexual conduct – second degree and fourth degree involve a sexual “touching.”

Criminal Sexual Conduct – First Degree (CSC 1)

CSC 1 is a capital, or life offense, crime.  This means that if convicted a judge may sentence a defendant to life in prison, or any number of years as proscribed by the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines.  Even if a defendant is not sentenced to “life”, a CSC 1 sentences can last decades, and often do.

There are a number of scenarios which would support a charge and sustain a conviction of CSC 1.  However, one thing that is required to exist to support a conviction for criminal sexual conduct – first degree is penetration. Some of the possible factual scenarios surrounding CSC 1 charges are as follows:

  • Penetration of a complaining witness (victim), where the witness is under 13 years of age;
  • Penetration of a complaining witness (victim), where the witness is over 13 but under 16 and:Penetration occurs during the commission of another felony;
    • The actor is a member of the same household;
    • The actor is a close relative;
    • The actor is a teacher;
    • The actor is in some kind of position of authority over the complaining witness and used that position to coerce/force the penetration.
  • Penetration occurs while the actor is in possession of a weapon or an object made to appear as a weapon;
  • Penetration that occurs as a result of force or the threat of force.

What every defendant MUST be aware of is that if you are charged with CSC 1 and the complaining witness is under 13 years old at the time of the alleged conduct and the defendant is over 17 years old, the defendant faces a MINIMUM of 25 years in prison.

You should also be aware that a conviction for Criminal Sexual Conduct – First Degree means that you will be required to comply with an electronic monitoring for the rest of your life, as well as regularly register on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry for the rest of your life.

Criminal Sexual Conduct – Second Degree (CSC 2)

CSC 2 is also a very serious criminal offense.  If convicted of CSC 2, a defendant faces up to 15 years in prison as well as electric monitoring requirements.

As with CSC 1, there are a number of factual scenarios or allegations that can result in a charge of CSC 2.  What is important to note is that in order to be convicted of CSC 2 the prosecutor must show that some kind of sexual contact occurred.  The following are other possible elements of CSC 2:

  • Sexual contact with someone under the age of 13;
  • Sexual contact with someone over 13 but under 16 and: Sexual contact that occurs during the commission of another felony;
    • The complaining witness is a member of the same household;
    • The complaining witness is closely related by blood to the actor;
    • The actor is in a position of authority over the complaining witness and used the authority to make the person submit to the sexual contact;
    • The actor is a is a teacher.
  • Sexual contact that was achieved by force, coercion, or the threat of force or coercion;
  • The actor is armed with a weapon or an object that appears to be a weapon.

A CSC 2 conviction also carries with it serious ramifications outside of a prison sentence.  If you are convicted of CSC 2, and the complaining witness is under 13 and you are over 17, you will be forced to wear an electronic monitoring device for the rest of your life.

Criminal Sexual Conduct – Third Degree (CSC 3)

Another sex crime in Michigan is CSC 3.  As with CSC 1, to be convicted of CSC 3, there must be some kind of penetration.  If convicted of CSC 3, a defendant faces up to 15 years in prison.

As with both CSC 1 and 2, there are a number of different factual scenarios which would support a charge of criminal sexual conduct – third degree.  These scenarios include:

  • Penetration of another person is at least 13 years of age and under 16 years of age;
  • Penetration accomplished by force or coercion;
  • Penetration where the actor knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally incapable, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless;
  • Penetration where the complaining witness is related to the actor to the third degree.
  • Penetration where the complaining witness is at least 16 years of age but less than 18 years of age and a student at a public school or nonpublic school, and either of the following applies;
    • The actor is a teacher, substitute teacher, or administrator of that public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district.

As with the other criminal sexual conduct convictions, punishment for CSC 3 is not merely limited to a prison sentence.

Criminal Sexual Conduct – Fourth Degree (CSC 4)

The final type of CSC charge, criminal sexual conduct – fourth degree, is a misdemeanor punishable by up to two years in prison.  Like CSC 2, CSC 4 does not require any type of sexual penetration, but rather only that some kind of sexual contact took place.  Again, there are a number of scenarios which would support a conviction for CSC 4.  Some of these scenarios are as follows:

  • Sexual contact where the complaining witnesses is at least 13 years of age but less than 16 years of age, and the actor is 5 or more years older than that other person;
  • Force or coercion is used to accomplish the sexual contact.  Force or coercion includes, but is not limited to, any of the following      circumstances: When the actor engages in the medical treatment or examination of the victim in a manner or for purposes which are medically recognized as unethical or unacceptable;
    • When the actor overcomes the victim through the actual application of physical force or physical violence;
    • When the actor coerces the victim to submit by threatening to use force or violence on the victim, and the victim believes that the actor has the present ability to execute that threat;
    • When the actor coerces the victim to submit by threatening to retaliate in the future against the victim, or any other person, and the victim believes that the actor has the ability to execute that threat.
  • When the actor achieves the sexual contact through concealment or by the element of surprise;
  • The actor knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally incapable, mentally
    incapacitated, or physically helpless.
  • The complaining witnesses is at least 16 years of age but less than 18 years of age and a student at a public school or nonpublic school, and either of the following applies:
    • The actor is a teacher, substitute teacher, coach, or administrator of that school.