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Frequently Asked Questions About Michigan Sex Crimes

The experienced trial lawyers of Williams & Associates have defended clients on the full spectrum of sex offenses. Below are some of the common questions we hear from people when they or a loved one are accused of a sex crime.

We can also address your specific questions in a free consultation. Call our Traverse City law office at 231-735-8575. We handle sex crime cases throughout northern Michigan and statewide.

What is criminal sexual conduct?

Criminal sexual conduct , or CSC, is an umbrella statute in Michigan covering a wide range of sexual offenses from forcible rape to sexual touching. There are four degrees (levels) of CSC. Criminal sexual conduct in the first degree is the most serious offense, punishable by up to life in prison and a mandatory minimum of 25 years if the victim is under the age of 13. The lowest level, criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree, is a high-court misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum of 2 years in prison.

Will I have to register as a sex offender?

The Michigan Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) requires most people convicted of sex crimes to register with law enforcement and notify authorities of any change in address or employment. The highest level of offenders (Tier III) are restricted as to where they can live and work, and neighbors may be proactively notified of their status. Tier III offenders must register for life, Tier II offenders for 25 years and Tier 1 offenders for 15 years. Certain low level offenses and some sexual offenses committed by juveniles may not be subject to sex offender registration. Our attorneys can determine if you would be subject to sex offender registry for the offense(s) as charged, and if so which level.

Can I get off the sex offender registry or downgrade my sex offender level?

Tier I offenders can petition to be removed after 10 years if they meet certain criteria. Tier II offenders can petition under limited circumstances. Tier III offenders have very little opportunity for removal. Because it is so difficult to change status or be removed from the registry, it is critical to avoid landing on the registry in the first place. Hire an experienced sex crime defense lawyer who knows how to fight the charges.

What is the age of consent in Michigan?

A person can consent to sex at age 16. However, sex with a minor who is “of age” can still be a crime if sexual acts involve force or coercion, if the person was mentally or physically incapacitated at the time, or if the perpetrator is several years older.

Is sexting a crime?

It’s not a crime when consenting adults text nude photos or other sexually explicit material to each other. However, it is illegal to distribute sexual photos or videos of a minor and it is illegal to send sexual images to a minor. Sexting that involves minors can be prosecuted as distribution of child pornography, a serious felony even if the sender is also underage. It is likewise a crime for adults to post “revenge porn” nudes or videos of a former partner on social media or the internet without the person’s consent.

Is prostitution a sex offender crime?

Offering sex for money is a misdemeanor and will not typically trigger sex offender status. Hiring a prostitute may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, and can result in sex offender registration, especially if the sex worker is underage. Pandering (“pimping”) is a major felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. If you were arrested for soliciting a prostitute, including online solicitation to arrange a hookup, you should seek legal counsel.

What is the punishment for date rape?

Michigan does not have a specific date rape statute. A person would be charged under the criminal sexual conduct statute; the degree of the offense would depend on what nonconsensual behavior was alleged and other factors such as age differential. Forcible penetration or use of so-called “date rape drugs” could be charged as first-degree CSC.

Any accusation of sexually assaulting a dating partner can have serious ramifications, including expulsion from school and being designated as a sex offender. Even if you believed the sex was consensual, it if imperative to talk to a lawyer. Our lawyers have defended many high school and college students accused of sex crimes.