The stigma of being accused of sexual assault by a minor not only effects you and your loved ones, but it can tarnish your reputation and ruin your career, as well.
Unfortunately, many people dealing with these types of accusations have been wrongfully accused, and some are even wrongfully convicted.
The sad truth is that these kinds of false accusations are more common than you might think.
At Smith Lehman, we understand the gravity of a false sexual assault allegation. Our team of experienced sex crime attorneys will work with you to clear your good name and reputation. Here’s how we’ll get started.
Steps to Take When Wrongfully Accused of Sex With A Minor in Michigan
Being falsely accused of a sex crime against a minor can leave you feeling indignant, hurt, and even angry.
The natural reaction is to want to defend yourself. But the truth is, any communication of this sort could actually hurt your case.
So what should you do?
1. Avoid making any statements
First, don’t speak to anyone about the charges that are levied against you – even relatives or close friends. Certainly don’t speak to the police about your charges.
Even if someone claims to support you, don’t give a statement. Instead, let your attorney do the talking for you and direct anyone with questions to your attorney.
Which brings us to the next step…
2. Consult a sex crime attorney
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is waiting to hire an attorney. Immediately after you learn about the sex crime accusation, contact a Michigan sex crime lawyer.
Those early stages are very critical to the case. Hiring a lawyer on time will help you to build a solid defense. An attorney will also be able to explain all the possible legal options at your disposal and prepare you for the issues you may be facing.
3. Investigate the strategies used by the police and prosecutors
A good attorney will help you determine if the police and prosecutors followed due process while investigating, looking into the following questions:
Did the police have probable cause to arrest you?
Should they have searched you?
Did they step out of bounds?
If there were any violations of your rights, they will be instrumental in helping you overcome your charges.
4. Collect evidence useful for your case
An experienced lawyer also knows the importance of thoroughly examining every piece of evidence. They’ll be sure to hire the best experts and resources.
For example, they might inspect DNA testing and chain of custody procedures, or hire a child psychologist to make an assessment of the case.
5. Dealing with witnesses
Many times, the testimony of eyewitnesses is flawed. Our team at Smith Lehman has also seen many cases in which testimonies have been influenced by others – particularly when children are involved.
A good attorney would help you find holes in the prosecution’s case and go through your own contacts for witnesses who may help your case. You’ll need to collect all relevant contact information and present it to your attorney.
What Are The Charges For Sex With A Minor Allegations In Michigan?
It’s also important to be aware of the penalties you could be facing if found guilty.
Regardless of consent or relationship, an adult who commits a sexual act with someone who’s below the age of 16 is committing a crime in Michigan.
Sex with a minor result in charges of criminal sexual conduct (CSC). There are four degrees of CSC:
First Degree CSC: Those who are accused of sexual criminal conduct in the first degree are accused of engaging in sexual penetration with a person under the age 13, however, there are other circumstances that cause first degree charges.
Second Degree CSC: People accused of second degree criminal sexual conduct are accused of engaging in non-penetrative sexual contact with someone under the age of 13 OR between the ages of 13 and 16 under certain circumstances.
Third Degree CSC: Criminal sexual conduct in the third degree involves forced penetration with another person and depends on the age of the complaining witness.
Fourth Degree CSC: And the fourth degree of criminal sexual penetration is when someone is accused of engaging in non-penetrative sexual contact with another person.
If convicted, you could not only be facing jail time and serious fines, but your name will also be registered on the Michigan Public Sex Offender Registry. Depending on the degree of the CSC, your name could be on the Registry for 25 years or for the rest of your life.
Contact Smith Lehman today
Even if your accusation seems minor, you need a good defense to avoid conviction. Our team of experienced Michigan sex crime attorneys can help you build that strong defense. Contact us today if you’re facing false allegations of this type.