In Michigan, criminal sexual conduct allegations are separated into four different degrees. Each degree of criminal sexual conduct has its own elements that must be alleged in order for a charge of criminal sexual conduct to be brought against you. The main difference between each of the four degrees hinges on whether there is an allegation involving penetration or simply touching. Most cases are charged based on the age of the alleged victim.
What is 1st degree Criminal Sexual Conduct?
Michigan Penal Code §750.520 (b) describes the crime of first degree criminal sexual conduct. A person, whether male or female, can be charged with a crime of criminal sexual conduct 1 if he or she engages in sexual penetration with a person who is under the age of 13 years old; or if sexual penetration occurs in one of the following circumstances:
- The other person is less than 16 years of age, but above 13 years of age, and the actor is a member of the same household as the other person; the actor is related to the victim by blood; the actor is in an authoritative position over the victim, which causes the victim to submit; the actor is a teacher, substitute teacher, an employee, a state service provider, or a volunteer in the school district in which the victim is enrolled in; or the actor is an employee or volunteer of a child care facility or licensed as a foster caregiver in which the victim resides.
- The sexual penetration occurs during the commission of another felony, such as kidnapping or robbery.
- The actor is aided or abetted by one or more other persons and either the actor has a reason to know that the victim is mentally incapacitated or ill or physically helpless or the actor uses force or coercion to sexually penetrate the victim.
- The actor is armed with, or reasonably believed to be armed with, a weapon.
- The actor uses force or coercion to sexually penetrate the victim and the victim is personally injured in the process.
- The actor knows, or should have known, that the victim is mentally incapable or incapacitated or physically helpless and the actor causes personal injury to the victim.
- The victim is mentally incapable or incapacitated or physically helpless and the actor and victim are related by blood or the actor is in a position of authority over the victim.
What is considered to be “sexual penetration” in 1st degree criminal sexual conduct?
In Michigan, sexual penetration can mean a number of different things, not just sexual intercourse. The following are all considered to be sexual penetration under the Michigan Penal Code:
- Sexual intercourse;
- Anal intercourse;
- Oral sex performed on either a female or male
- Digital penetration (finger into vagina); or
- Any other type of intrusion of another’s body, no matter how slight the intrusion may be; or
- The insertion of an object into the genital or anal areas of another
What can the punishment be for a crime of 1st degree criminal sexual conduct?
First degree criminal sexual conduct is the most serious among the various degrees of criminal sexual conduct. A person who is found guilty of 1st degree criminal sexual conduct can be punished by life imprisonment or for any term of years as decided by the court. In instances where the defendant is 17-years-old or older and the victim is below the age of 13, the punishment can be life in prison, but this comes with a mandatory minimum sentence of at least 25 years of imprisonment. Michigan law also allows, in some circumstances, for multiple criminal sexual conduct 1 convictions to allow the sentences to be stacked – meaning they will run consecutive to one another. In addition, the court will also impose a lifetime electronic monitoring sentence to anyone convicted of a crime of first degree criminal sexual conduct. Electronic monitoring allows the State to keep track of your whereabouts community and be able to supervise you more closely. Also, under the Michigan Sex Offenders Registration Act, a crime of criminal sexual conduct 1 is a listed offense, so, if convicted, a person would have to register with the Michigan sex offender registry for life.
What should a person do if accused or charged with a crime of first degree criminal sexual conduct?
If you are accused or are being charged with a crime first degree criminal sexual conduct you should seek legal counsel from an attorney with experience in handling sex crimes. Crimes of criminal sexual conduct are very serious. Retaining an attorney with experience and knowledge of these crimes is critical. It is not enough to simply hire a criminal defense attorney, you require an individual with detailed knowledge and experience as a criminal sexual conduct Michigan lawyer. First degree criminal sexual conduct cases are highly complicated and many attorneys do not have the background or knowledge to handle these difficult cases.
Smith Blythe, PC is an office that is dedicated to handling these types of sex crimes. We have the experience and skill to deal with these types of cases and will ensure that a client will receive the best defense possible.
Smith Blythe, PC has had success in defending clients who have had charges of first degree criminal sexual conduct against them. If you have been accused or charged with a crime of first degree criminal sexual conduct, please contact our office to set up a consultation.