3 Questions to Ask When Facing Sexual Assault Charges


Have you or someone you know been charged with rape or sexual assault charges?

Wondering what sexual assault means?

If you are facing charges of criminal sexual assault, you may feel like you have already been found guilty before the trial. The battle ahead may be tough, but it is not hopeless.

In this article you find information to help you understand what the being charged with sexual assault in Michigan means. Each state tends to vary a bit. The following information is for the State of Michigan.

3 Questions to Ask When Facing Sexual Assault Charges

  1. What is Sexual Assault?

    Let’s start with the basics and get an understanding of what this charge really is. One of the most straight forward definitions that I have found is from the University of Michigan’s Sexual Assault Prevention & Awareness Center.

    “SAPAC defines sexual assault as any form of unwanted sexual contact obtained without consent and/or obtained through the use of force, threat of force, intimidation, or coercion.”

    Another definition I have found that is helpful is from Michigan Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention and Treatment Board,

    “Sexual assault (often known as rape) is forcing or coercing an individual to engage in any non-consensual sexual contact or sexual penetration. In Michigan, the law regarding sexual assault is called the Criminal Sexual Conduct Act. It is gender neutral and includes marital, stranger, date, acquaintance, and child sexual assault.”

    Looking at these definitions may not be pleasant; however, it is important to know what you are up against.

    The State of Michigan has sexual assault under their Criminal Sexual Conduct Law. There are four different degrees, each with their own set of penalties.

  2. Four Degrees of Criminal Sexual Conduct or Sexual Assault

    In an article that I previously published, I go into detail about the four degrees of Criminal Sexual Conduct. That article is called, The Truth About Criminal Sexual Assault.Here are a few points to take note of, but if you have more questions, please read the article above.

    • The first and third degrees deal with penetration, forced or coerced.
    • Penetration means vaginal, anal, or oral intercourse, but it also means putting a finger or an object in another person’s genital or anal opening.
    • The second and fourth degrees deal with contact, forced or coerced.
    • Contact means intentional touching of intimate parts or the clothing covering those intimate parts for sexual gratification.
  3. What Are the Possible Punishments?

    There are four different degrees with four different punishments.

    1. First degree has the harshest punishment of life in prison and mandatory registration on the sex offenders list.
    2. Second degree is up to fifteen years in prison and mandatory registration on the sex offenders list.
    3. Third degree is up to fifteen years in prison and mandatory registration on the sex offenders list.
    4. Fourth degree in up to two years in prison and a fine of $500.

    The first three degrees are all felonies while the fourth is a misdemeanor.


Now that you have a handle on what you or someone you know is being charged with, the next step is to hire an experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney. Make sure to hire a defense attorney that will fight diligently for your rights because the charge itself can put a black mark on your reputation. I am here to help. Please call my office at:

248-348-7400 or 586-530-1000