Frequently Asked Questions

At Smith Blythe, we dedicate our practice to representing people accused of criminal sexual conduct and serious child abuse allegations. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you feel that we can help your family.

Frequently Asked Questions

At Smith Blythe, we dedicate our practice to representing people accused of criminal sexual conduct and serious child abuse allegations. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you feel that we can help your family.

Frequently Asked Questions

At Smith Blythe, we dedicate our practice to representing people accused of criminal sexual conduct and serious child abuse allegations. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you feel that we can help your family.

My Child Was Caught Sexting, What Should I Do?

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.

If I'm Innocent, Do I Need An Attorney?

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.

What Makes Smith Blythe Different from Other Firms?

The main difference between our law firm and other law firms is that we truly focus on such a narrow area of the law that it helps us be really good at those cases. Instead of drunk driving cases, larceny cases, fraud cases, we really really focus on criminal sexual conduct and child abuse.

This allows us to have relationships with the best experts who can help the defense, it allows us to have specialized knowledge that other lawyers simply don’t have time to learn, and it allows us to serve our clients better by keeping a small caseload.

So at Smith Blythe, we have the time to dedicate to your case, instead of having other things we need to be learning about.

Do You Handle Accusations of Child Abuse Due to Unexplained Fractures?

Our firm has successfully litigated numerous cases involving parents who are accused of child abuse because of their child having unexplained fractures in infancy. This usually happens because the child is taken to the hospital for some type of medical care, and x-rays are performed, and the doctors at the hospital don’t know what could have caused the fractures the child has, and then they default to a diagnosis of non-accidental trauma.

There are, however, numerous things that could cause your child to have unexplained fractures, including metabolic disease and bone disorders.

If this is something you’re going through and a doctor has accused you of child abuse, it’s really important that you hire an attorney who has experience litigating these types of cases, who understands the science, and who also has experience working with national experts who are really the authority on this topic.

How Will I Know Which Degree of Criminal Sexual Conduct I'm Being Charged With?

It’s really hard to determine whether someone is going to be charged with first, second, third, or fourth degree criminal sexual conduct because oftentimes when people are making up allegations, you don’t know what they’re going to say. So some people will come in and say I’ve been accused of touching someone inappropriately, and then when we get the police report, we found out that the other person has alleged penetration.

So what makes the major difference between the four categories is whether it’s an alleged touch or an alleged penetration. And by penetration this can be with a finger, with a penis, with an object, with a tongue, etc. It doesn’t take full-on intercourse to be charged with a first or third degree case.

Second and fourth degree cases involve inappropriate touching, but with those cases, the prosecution also has to prove that the person had a sexual intent. So if you fall over and accidentally knock into the butt of somebody else, that’s obviously not a crime because you don’t have sexual intent.

So it’s important to consult with a lawyer who knows all of the nuances between the four categories, the different penalties involved with each one, the registration requirement – which is also different for each one. And we’re always happy to go through the facts and tell you what we believe might be charged.

What is First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct?

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.

What is Second Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct?

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.

What is Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct?

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.

What is Fourth Degree Criminal 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.

What should I do if I accidentally hurt my child?

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.

What is HYTA (Holmes Youthful Trainee Act)?

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 you hire Smith Blythe as your attorneys, you’re getting:

  • Dedicated attorney attention
  • Constant communication and contact
  • 25+ years of experience in defending those accused of sex crimes
  • Proven strategies for success
  • Solid professional relationships
  • Experienced in courtrooms throughout the state and federal court
  • Leaders among leaders: we are frequently sought out by other attorneys

When you hire Smith Blythe as your attorneys, you’re getting:

  • Dedicated attorney attention
  • Constant communication and contact
  • 25+ years of experience in defending those accused of sex crimes
  • Proven strategies for success
  • Solid professional relationships
  • Experienced in courtrooms throughout the state and federal court
  • Leaders among leaders: we are frequently sought out by other attorneys

Additional resources for:

Contact Smith Blythe

At Smith Blythe, PC, our Michigan attorneys have been defending the rights of the accused for a combined 25+ years. Our team is dedicated to pursuing justice on behalf of those who are facing the most heinous allegations. We know how to protect your rights and will arm you with the strongest defense.

Get in touch with Smith Blythe P.C. today

Are you a new client? Yes, I am a potential new client.No, I am a current existing client.I'm neither

Contact Smith Blythe

At Smith Blythe, PC, our Michigan attorneys have been defending the rights of the accused for a combined 25+ years. Our team is dedicated to pursuing justice on behalf of those who are facing the most heinous allegations. We know how to protect your rights and will arm you with the strongest defense.

Get in touch with Smith Blythe P.C. today

Are you a new client? Yes, I am a potential new client.No, I am a current existing client.I'm neither