What Determines If A Sex Crime Will Be Charged At A Felony Level Versus Misdemeanor In Michigan?

In Michigan, there are many different types of sex crimes, which we organize into four different degrees of criminal sexual conduct (CSC): 1st Degree, 2nd Degree, 3rd Degree, and 4th Degree. Technically, they are all felonies, though 4th Degree is listed as a low felony or high court misdemeanor, punishable by up to 2 years in prison. Each degree can be registerable, meaning you have to register as a sex offender depending on what state you’re in. In Michigan, the registration requirement can last for 25 years or life based on the CSC degree that you’re convicted of.

There are also other types of sex crimes that are not labelled criminal sexual conduct, including soliciting a minor for immoral purposes and an assault with intent to commit a sex crime (we don’t use rape as charging legal term in Michigan).

What Are Some Of The Penalties And Lifelong Consequences Someone Could Face With A Sex Crime Conviction On Their Record?

In Michigan, as well as many other places in the country, having a sex crime on your record is the old scarlet letter labeling you as a degenerate. While it’s important, for instance, that parents are able to see if there is someone convicted of a sex crime living in their neighborhood in order to protect their children, people should also remember that you can be convicted of a sex crime for behavior that is not necessarily overtly dangerous. To give an example, a 19-year-old senior in high school who has sex with his 15-year-old girlfriend, a freshman, could have been convicted of a sex crime and labelled a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Recently, we’ve had what are called Romeo and Juliet amendments in provisions of the law to allow those types of lesser crimes (or crimes that might be considered teenage crimes) to be kept off the defendant’s record in terms of being charged with the sex crime or having to register as a sexual offender. If a defendant were to have to go to jail or prison with a child sex crime, it’s very difficult for that person to stay safe inside or prison system.

If An Alleged Victim In A Sex Crime Case Changes Their Story Or No Longer Wishes To Press Charges, Will The Charges Be Dropped?

The same rules and policies involving a domestic violence charge also relate to sex crimes. It’s usually the prosecutor’s discretion whether to let the alleged victim or complainant change their mind and not go forward with the case. As you can imagine, there’s a lot of pressure from family members and friends to stop the charges if their loved one is being blamed for a sex crime, so the policy in the State of Michigan favors not having the complainant choose whether they want to go forward or not.

An Overview Of Sex Crimes In Michigan

Nobody who has ever been accused of committing some type of sex crime has any idea what they’re in for. What will happen first is they might receive a call from a detective who says, “We want to have you come on in and talk to you about some kind of allegation.” Believe me, that detective is not there to be your friend. They’re there to try and get evidence against you.

Hi, my name is Scott Weinberg. I have represented hundreds of people accused of committing sex crimes, but I used to be a sex crime prosecutor, so I’m going to tell you a couple of issues that you need to know before you ever go in and talk to the police.

Obviously, the first thing you need to do is call an attorney if you get approached by the police or any official who is accusing you of any crime, let alone some type of sex crime. You don’t need to deny what they’re saying; you don’t need to go in and try to talk your way out of it; what you do need to do is talk to your attorney first, an attorney who has handled hundreds of these kinds of cases.

Next, if you do go in and get interviewed, they’ll want you to take a polygraph test, which is designed by the state to be private, meaning you can’t have your lawyer in the room with you. The detective can’t be in the room either; it’ll be just you and the polygraph operator. They’ll Mirandize you, meaning they’ll read you the rights that you have to remain silent, before interviewing you in the polygraph test. Afterward, they’ll want to interview you again, and this is where they try to get you. Just remember, do not take a state-run polygraph without talking to your attorney first. The police are not there to help you in this situation. Do not agree to any communication without talking to an attorney.

When it comes to any kind of sexual allegation, you need an attorney involved to protect your rights. Let’s say the allegation is as simple as your son, who is a senior in high school, being accused of fooling around with his freshman girlfriend, who is underage. Under state law, he has rights meant to protect him, so don’t have him give up those rights by talking to the police without getting an attorney involved. You need to know exactly what you’re facing in order to protect his record. Don’t make the mistake of thinking the police are on your side. You need to have an attorney on your side; you need your own representative. Take care.

For more information on Sex Crimes in the State of Michigan, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (800) 710-0529 today. 

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