Michigan has 4 degrees of criminal sexual misconduct. The penalties for these crimes are amount the most serious under Michigan law. If you are facing one of these charges, get a very good attorney immediately. In most cases, these charges are not going to resolved by probation or a slap on the wrist. If the victim is under 17, your entire future is on the the line. Don’t take a criminal sexual conduct charge lightly.
The commentary from The Michigan Model Criminal Jury Instructions distinguish the different degrees as follows:
“The Michigan statute concerning criminal sexual conduct, MCL 750.520a et seq., creates four degrees of the offense. First-degree criminal sexual conduct involves an act of sexual penetration accompanied by one or more aggravating circumstances set forth in MCL 750.520b. Second-degree criminal sexual conduct involves “sexual contact” accompanied by any of the aggravating circumstances for criminal sexual conduct in the first degree or one or more of four additional circumstances relating to sexual contact between state or county corrections officers and inmates, probationers, or pretrial detainees. MCL 750.520c. Third-degree criminal sexual conduct, like criminal sexual conduct in the first degree, requires for conviction an act of sexual penetration accompanied by designated aggravating circumstances, MCL 750.520d, other than those specified for first-degree criminal sexual conduct. Finally, criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree involves sexual contact aggravated by circumstances not specified for criminal sexual conduct in the second degree. MCL 750.520e.
In sum, first- and third-degree criminal sexual conduct require an act of sexual penetration with “greater” and “lesser” aggravating circumstances respectively, whereas criminal sexual conduct in the second degree and the fourth degree require sexual contact with “greater” and “lesser” aggravating circumstances. Criminal sexual conduct in the first degree is punishable by life or any term of years; criminal sexual conduct in the second degree and criminal sexual conduct in the third degree are punishable by up to 15 years in prison; and criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree is punishable by up to 2 years in prison.
The statute also creates the offenses of assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct involving penetration, a 10-year felony, and assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct in the second degree, a 5-year felony. MCL 750.520g.”
In future blogs, I will discuss each degree in more depth and give examples of the aggravating circumstances mostly commonly handled in my practice.