Shannon Smith and Gail Benson have defended multiple Michigan teachers accused of sex crimes for having sex with students. The current state of the law prohibits teachers from having sex with students who are less than 18 years of age. Since the age of consent in Michigan is 16, many people do not realize that the law is different for teachers. Teachers are specifically prohibited from having sex with students from their school district who are 16 and 17.
When a Michigan teacher is charged with a sex crime for having sexual relations with a student, they are currently charged under the Michigan criminal sexual conduct statutes, depending on the age of the student and whether the allegation involves touching or penetration. The consequences and penalties are high. Not only do teachers face prison time, but they will also have to register as a sex offender and certainly will lose the ability to obtain a teaching position again.
The law might be changing, however, as the Michigan state Senate just passed a bill that makes it illegal for teachers to have sex with students, even ones who are over 18.
The main concern our office has with this legislation is notice to teachers. Our office has seen teachers get charged with sex crimes for having sex with students who were over 16 years old because the teacher did not realize that the law was different for teachers. If the new law prohibits sexual relations with students who are over 18, there will be many teachers who do not realize that this type of contact is illegal.
At this time, if you or someone you know is charged with a sex crime for having sex with a student, call for a consultation. Attorneys Shannon Smith and Gail Benson have experience defending these allegations and specifically have experience defending other teachers accused of sex crimes.