The Truth About 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Degree Criminal Sexual Assault

The Truth About Criminal Sexual Assault

Do you know someone who has been charged or convicted of criminal sexual assault?

Are you wondering what the maximum penalty is for criminal sexual assault?

Being charged with criminal sexual assault could have life-altering consequences. Consequences include prison time, registering for the sex offender registry, and or jail time. It is vital to have the facts and more importantly understand those facts.

Charged with Criminal Sexual Assault

When charged with criminal sexual assault, the “actor” will be charged with one of four degrees of criminal sexual conduct. Before we break down each degree of criminal sexual conduct (CSC), let’s start off with a few definitions. These definitions will help in clarifying each degree of CSC and are provided by the Michigan Penal Code Section 750.520a.

  • The actor is the person accused of criminal sexual conduct.
  • Intimate parts are defined as “primary genital area, groin, inner thigh, buttock, or breast” of a person.
  • Sexual contact is defined as any deliberate touching of other person’s intimate parts. It can also be defined as the deliberate touching of another person clothing covering intimate parts for sexual arousal.
  • Sexual penetration is defined by sexual intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, anal intercourse, or “intrusion” into a genital or anal opening by any other body part or object.

For more definitions, please refer to the Michigan Penal Code at the Michigan Legislature website. First and third degrees involve a sexual assault that includes sexual penetration. Second and fourth degrees involve sexual assault with sexual contact.

First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

When someone is charged with criminal sexual conduct in the first degree, “sexual penetration,” defined above, is involved and one of the possible situations below.

  • The victim is under the age of 13.
  • The victim is over the age of 13 but under the age of 16 and one of the following:
    • The actor or the person accused of sexual assault is a part of the same household as the victim.
    • The actor is blood-related to the victim.
    • The actor is in a position of authority over the victim and used force or coerce.
    • The actor is a teacher, substitute teacher, or an administrator at a public school.
  • Use of a weapon or an object that appears to be a weapon.
  • The actor uses physical force or physical violence to overcome the victim.

First degree criminal sexual conduct is a felony charge. If convicted of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree, the actor or defendant will face life in prison and requirements to wear an electronic monitor for life. For a list of all circumstance pertaining to criminal sexual conduct in the first degree as defined by the Michigan Legislature, please see Section 750.520b.

Second Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

When someone is charged with criminal sexual conduct in the second degree, there has been “sexual contact.” Sexual contact is defined above and includes sexual contact with any one of the following situations.

  • The victim is under the age of 13.
  • The victim is over the age of 13 but under the age of 16 and one of the following:
    • The actor is a part of the same household as the victim.
    • The actor is blood-related to the victim.
    • The actor is in a position of authority over the victim and used force or coerce.
    • The actor is a teacher, substitute teacher, or an administrator at a public school.

Second degree criminal sexual conduct is a felony charge, and if convicted, you could face up to 15 years in prison and be required to wear an electronic monitor. For the entire list of criminal sexual conduct in the second degree, please see Section 750.520c of the Michigan Legislature’s website.

Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

When someone is charged with third degree criminal sexual conduct, again like first degree, there is some kind of sexual penetration and one of the following situations.

  • The victim is between 13 years of age and 16 years of age.
  • When penetration is accomplished by force or coercion.
  • When the victim is mentally incapable, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless, and the actor knows or has reason to know.

Third degree criminal sexual conduct is a felony charge. If convicted, the defendant faced 15 years in prison. For a full list of situations for criminal sexual conduct in the third degree according to the Michigan Legislative, please see Section 750.520d.

Fourth Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

When someone is charged with fourth degree criminal sexual conduct, it means there was some kind of sexual contact and one of the following situations.

  • The victim is between 13 years of age and 16 years of age, and the actor is five or more years older.
  • To accomplish sexual contact, force or coercion was used.
  • When the victim is mentally incapable, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless, and the actor knows or has reason to know.

This is a misdemeanor charge, and if convicted, the defendant faces up to 2 years in prison. For the full list of criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree, please see Section 750.520e at the Michigan Legislature’s website.

Takeaway

It is life alternating to be charged with sexual assault. While most Americans maintain innocence until proved guilty, that is often not the case with these kinds of charges. Make sure that if you or someone you know is is being investigated for sexual assault, that they have an experienced criminal defense attorney on their side, fighting for their freedom. Please contact me:

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Disclosure: Please note that the information provided on this website is not legal advice. This information is a general overview for informational purposes only. If you have specific questions about your unique case, please contact my office.