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Yes, our firm would absolutely recommend that you hire an attorney when you are accused of these very serious crimes. And that’s true even if we’re not the attorneys you decide to hire.

In today’s world, there are a lot of innocent people who are accused of crimes they didn’t commit, and that’s especially true where the crimes involve children.

So yes, you do need an attorney to help you fight these accusations, and it’s really important that you call one sooner rather than later because there are steps that you could take from the very beginning that will really benefit you in the long run.

First degree criminal sexual conduct charges are the most serious to deal with. This is because if it involves a child who’s under 13, there’s a 25 year mandatory minimum attached with the case. Otherwise, it’s considered a life offense, and that doesn’t necessarily mean that upon being convicted you would do life, but it makes the amount of time you could spend in prison the most substantial.

First degree criminal sexual conduct is charged when there’s an allegation of sexual penetration on a child of less than 13 and in some other circumstances, specific to the law – so, for example, in cases of rape or coercion. Sometimes when there’s physical injury to a woman, and we see cases where there’s alleged physical injury that are even caused by consensual sex, it can be charged as first degree criminal sexual conduct.

It’s really important that you have a lawyer who understands the difference between the degrees of criminal sexual conduct because, quite frankly, any result that is not a full acquittal will not be acceptable. You’ll be in prison for far too long and registered as a sex offender for the rest of your life.

Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Second Degree is a felony punishable by up to 15 years. It requires sex offender registry, and depending on the age of the person who makes the accusation, could be 25 years or life on the registry.

It’s really important that you have a good defense attorney when you’re charged with criminal sexual conduct in the second degree because sometimes a conviction can also allow you to do a jail sentence versus a prison sentence, if in fact, you’re guilty.

What we find for most of the clients in our office are people falsely accused, and no prison time or jail time would be acceptable. We have a lot of experience in resolving these cases with those results, and we’re happy to answer any questions and go through the facts of your case to see what we can do for you.

Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Third Degree is also a felony punishable by up to 15 years. One of the things that makes criminal sexual conduct in the third degree more of a scary crime than even a second degree is that prison is absolutely mandatory upon being convicted. It also requires sex offender registration.

Third degree criminal sexual conduct is frequently charged when a person is under age, between the ages of 13 and 15, and someone has had sexual relations with them. One of the things you have to be mindful of is, at that age, there is no consent defense. You cannot consent to sexual penetration when you’re between 13 and 15.

So if you’re charged with a third degree criminal sexual conduct case, if you come in we can sit down, go through the circumstances, see if it’s the right charge, see if it’s a false allegation, and if there’s some things we can do to defend it. And we have plenty of experience with acquittals and resolving cases involving third degree sexual conduct.


Fourth Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct is the least serious out of the four degrees of criminal sexual conduct, but it’s still very serious. While some lawyers will call it a high-court misdemeanor because it’s punishable by up to 2 years of incarceration, it’s really very serious because on job applications and things down the road, it’s often treated as a felony.

It also carries with it registration. If the complainant is an adult, it would be a Tier 1, 15 year, non-public registration. Most of our clients find that to be unacceptable, particularly when they’re falsely accused and didn’t do anything.

Criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree is when there’s no penetration alleged, but an improper touch.

If you come to sit down with us and go through the facts of your case, we can determine if you’re properly charged. We find a lot of people are overly charged when it comes to fourth degree criminal sexual conduct, and we’re happy to answer all of your questions.

If you accidentally hurt your child, but have been accused of abuse or neglect, we can absolutely help you.

Sadly, the law in the state of Michigan stands for the presumption that even if you didn’t mean to hurt your child, the government can come after you for abuse or neglect.

Thankfully, we’re very experienced with these kinds of cases and have handled hundreds of these kind of cases. There are a number of things that we can do to help you overcome the hurdle of having this unfortunate circumstance in your family.

The Holmes Youthful Trainee Act is a part of the law that allows for people of a certain age, so between the ages of 15 and 24, to get a deal on a case where if they complete probation and the terms of their sentence, they will not have a criminal record.

This is a very favorable plea for a lot of people to take because it also comes with no sex offender registration. That was part of the changes to the law in 2012 and so a lot of times when people can plead under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, it’s usually too good of a deal to pass up.

When your child is caught sexting, we know that it can be a really stressful situation. There’s no doubt that parents who call us are angry with their kids, wanting to do the right thing, and wanting to clear it up and make sure their child’s not in trouble.

The most important thing to do is not underestimate how serious the consequences can be, and that’s why my first piece of advice is to call us immediately. Unfortunately the laws of Michigan haven’t caught up with the trends, and so what happens is these cases are treated like child pornography cases, and the consequences are severe.

It’s really important to call us so we can give you some good direction and some ideas about what to do and what not to do to make sure your child doesn’t end up in a worse situation.

Shannon Smith Law, PC

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