Being accused of a sex crime is devastating, not only to the accused, but also to his or her family. Not only will the accusation destroy the accused’s social and professional reputation, a conviction will also bring criminal sanctions. The penalties associated with a sex crime are very substantial, including lengthy prison sentences and required registration on the Michigan sex offenders’ registry. Sometimes, registration can be imposed for life, which also includes restrictions on where a person may live, work, or even travel.
Some sex crimes provide for life imprisonment upon conviction—and the reality is that some judges have little reservations giving out stiff sentences for these convictions, no matter the prior record of the accused. This is particularly troubling, as an accusation, without any supporting evidence other than the accuser’s word, is sufficient to bring a case to trial.
Although many, if not most, claims of sexual assault are true, there are a significant number of accusations that are baseless. In today’s political climate, police and prosecutors tend to pursue weak sexual assault cases as vigorously as more substantiated accusations. Even where there is no physical evidence or discernible physical injury, and where the parties are in a dating relationship—including voluntarily intoxication at the time of the alleged assault—law enforcement may still pursue and file charges. Under these circumstances, the matter devolves into a “he said – she said” criminal prosecution.
In Michigan there are four degrees of criminal sexual conduct, with 1st degree being the most severe and 4th degree being minor in comparison. The differentiation between the various degrees depends on whether force or fear is used, whether the accused took advantage of a person or their position of authority, the difference in ages between the accused and the accuser, and whether there was only sexual touching or penetration.
There are also other criminal statutes other than Criminal Sexual Conduct that relate to sexually motivated crimes, including Statutory Rape, Child Pornography, Indecent Exposure, or Prostitution and Solicitation. Other legal issues arising out of sexually related crimes revolve around the sex offenders’ registry. Charges can be filed for failing to report changes in residence, moving into an excluded area, such as 100’ surrounding a school, or obtaining employment working with children.
In the event that you are facing criminal charges relating to a sex crime, obtaining counsel as soon as possible will not only help in defending the criminal charges, experienced counsel can help mitigate the collateral consequence of being publicly charged with such a stigmatic crime. If you or a loved one is facing sexually related criminal charges, contact the experienced attorneys at Neumann Law Group for a free consultation today.