False rape accusations are devastating.
The stigma and trauma that come with such accusations is something no one should have to deal with. And if convicted in Michigan, the accused person not only faces jail time and fines, but also will be required to register as a sex offender on Michigan’s public Sex offender Registry.
Sadly, there are many cases of innocent men and women imprisoned due to false rape allegations.
Our team of attorneys at Smith Lehman has more than 25 years of combined experience helping clients face false allegations head-on. And we’re here to help you, too.
What Qualifies As Rape In The State Of Michigan?
Sexual activity between any two persons in which the activity was forced or included penetration against one’s will qualifies as rape.
In Michigan, rape falls under the broad category of Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC), which is divided into four degrees:
1st Degree CSC
1st Degree CSC is by far the most serious of the other four degrees and could result in life imprisonment. It usually involves one of the following:
Sexual penetration of a child below the age of 13
Sexual penetration of a physically or mentally incapacitated person
Sexual penetration when armed with a weapon, or
Sexual penetration when committing any other felony
2nd Degree CSC
The 2nd degree does not involve penetration, but rather deals with sexual contact (intimate touching) with the victim.
It is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and mandatory registration as a sex offender for up to 25 years.
If the allegation involves a young child, it may require lifetime sex offender registry.
3rd Degree CSC
The 3rd degree is otherwise known as statutory rape and is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Here, the victim might have given consent, but because he/she was still under the age of consent (16 years), it would be classified as rape.
4th Degree CSC
This particular charge is a high court misdemeanor charge — which really count as a felony in most circumstances — and is punishable by up to two years in prison. It usually involves some form of sexual contact with:
Persons who are physically or mentally incapacitated
Persons between ages 13 and 16, or
Sexual contact when coercion was used
Both rape and date rape are generally charged as 1st or 3rd Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct charges. Inappropriate touching cases are generally charged as 2nd or 4th Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct charges.
What Should You Do If You Are Being Investigated Or Charged With Rape Claims In Michigan?
If you or a loved one has been falsely accused of rape, you’ll want to do everything in your power to see to it that matters get resolved before your investigation results in an arrest.
There are a couple of things you should do to make sure you don’t end up behind bars:
1. Hire An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney
The first thing to do would be to hire a criminal defense attorney who is well-versed in handling matters relating to sexual conduct, especially matters such as false rape allegations. The involvement of an attorney during pre-warrant investigation and pre-indictment is a necessary part of your defense.
2. Don’t Give Statements To The Police
Even if you are 100% innocent, you must be careful when giving statements of any kind to the police or general public. Anything you say can be held and used against you in the case proceedings. Discuss with your attorney the appropriate time (if ever) to give a statement. At Smith Lehman, we do take many clients in to tell their side of the story. The determination about whether or not to do this is very case specific.
3. Stand Your Ground
Don’t give in to pressure. Admitting defeat instead of defending yourself may feel like an easy way out, but rape accusations can and will tarnish your image for life. Our attorneys at Smith Lehman have decades of experience fighting for clients with incredible results, and we can help you, too.
4. Educate Yourself
Beyond knowing the enormity of the trouble at hand, it’s important for you to know what to expect. Read up on penalties in Michigan, collect as much evidence in your favor as possible, and work with your attorney every step of the way.
Get in touch with Smith Lehman today
If you or loved one has been falsely accused of rape in Michigan, you need to take immediate action. Contact our team at Smith Lehman today for help with your next steps in this case.