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Second-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

Second-degree criminal sexual conduct is a serious felony offense in Michigan involving unwanted sexual touching, in many instances of a minor, a person with a mental or physical disability, or someone over whom you hold the power that you are suspected of using to coerce sexual activity. In other states, second-degree criminal sexual conduct might be charged as sexual battery or child molestation if the victim is a minor under a certain age.

If you are convicted of second-degree criminal sexual conduct in Michigan, the consequences you face are severe, and some are life-long. The potential consequences of a conviction may include:

  • You may be sentenced to years in prison
  • You may be ordered to pay costly criminal fines and court costs
  • You must submit to electronic monitoring for the rest of your life
  • You’ll have a permanent criminal record as a sex offender
  • You’ll be limited in where you can live and may be denied housing because of your criminal record
  • You may lose your job or be turned down for work because of your felony record, and you’ll be restricted from doing certain kinds of jobs
  • If you have a professional license to teach, practice law, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, or another profession, you may lose your license or be denied a license if you apply for one
  • You may lose full or partial custody of your children
  • If you’re not currently an American citizen, you may lose your immigration visa or green card, be denied citizenship, or be deported to your native country

Because of the serious effects, a conviction for second-degree criminal sexual conduct can have on your life, if you’re facing such a charge in Michigan you should consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who has experience handling sex offense cases. Your situation may seem hopeless, but a good Detroit sex crimes attorney may be able to help fight your charge and protect your future.

You can talk to a lawyer at any part of the criminal process — including when you’re being questioned by police as part of an investigation. There are many benefits to hiring a Detroit criminal defense lawyer early in the process to ensure that your constitutional rights are protected and your statements aren’t taken out of context and used against you — and in a case where it might come down to your word against that of the alleged victim, that kind of protection may be critical.

What is Second-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct?

Second-degree criminal sexual conduct in Michigan involves intentionally touching someone for the purposes of sexual gratification or arousal, or in a sexual way for the purposes of revenge, anger, or to humiliate the other person. Section 750.520c defines who can be a victim of 2nd-degree criminal sexual conduct, with some emphasis on power relationships and abuse of those relationships, such as teacher-student or jailer-inmate relationships.

Under the statute, you may be charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct when you are suspected of having sexual contact with any of the following people:

  • A child under 13
  • A child age 13 to 16 who lives in your household, is related to you to the fourth degree, or with whom you have a position of authority that you used to coerce sexual contact
  • A student in a school or school district where you work as a teacher, substitute teacher, administrator, employee, contractor, or volunteer
  • A resident or foster child in a child care facility, foster home, or group home where you are an employee, contractor, or volunteer
  • A person with a mental or physical disability who is a relative to the fourth degree, is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections, or over whom you have a position of authority that you used to coerce sexual contact
  • A person under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections when you are an employee, contractor, or volunteer for the department
  • A county prisoner or probationer and you are a county employee, contractor, or volunteer
  • An inmate waiting for a trial or hearing, and you are an employee, contractor, or volunteer in the detention facility

Some additional circumstances that might be charged with a 2nd-degree criminal sexual conduct include:

  • Sexual contact that occurs in the course of committing any other felony, such as a robbery
  • Sexual contact in which you were aided by one or more other people, and used force or coercion, or the victim had a mental or physical disability
  • Sexual contact during which you were armed with a weapon or an item the victim could think was a weapon
  • Sexual contact using force or coercion, and you cause injury to the victim
  • Sexual contact that causes injury to the victim, whom you know is mentally or physically disabled

Penalties for a Conviction

Second-degree criminal sexual conduct is a felony in Michigan. If convicted, statutes say that you may be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison. You also are subject to electronic monitoring for the rest of your life if the offense involved a child under 13 and you were at least 17 at the time of the offense.

Habitual offender sentencing enhancements may apply to your sentence if you are convicted of a second or subsequent criminal sexual conduct offense. Under Section 750.520f, a court must sentence you to a minimum of 5 years in prison for a second or subsequent conviction of first degree, second-degree, or third-degree criminal sexual conduct.

You also may face a habitual offender sentencing enhancement if you have a prior conviction for rape, carnal knowledge, indecent liberties, gross indecency, or an attempt to commit any of those offenses, in another state.

However, the sentence that a judge decides may not be the same as the ones detailed in Michigan statutes. Recently, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that it isn’t within the Legislature’s power to decide sentences for crimes. Instead, it’s up to judges to determine what sentence is “reasonable” for a conviction. A qualified Michigan criminal defense lawyer can explain how that might affect you if you’re convicted.

Defending Your Criminal Sexual Conduct Charge

Criminal sexual conduct charges often are complicated and involve heated emotions. Many times charges may involve a family member, current or former romantic partner, friend, or acquaintance. There may be motivations for the accusation that stem from tension in the relationship, or there may have been a misunderstanding. It’s not unusual for people to be falsely accused of sex crimes when in the middle of a break-up, divorce, or custody dispute, and your future may rely on how credible the alleged victim seems in the eyes of a court compared to your credibility.

A good Michigan sex crimes defense lawyer has the skill and experience to recognize inconsistencies — no matter how small — in the alleged victim’s story that may indicate the whole truth isn’t being told. A lawyer can fight to make sure that your side of the story is heard and considered in court, and challenge the credibility of witnesses whose testimony is being used against you.

A good criminal defense lawyer also should have an understanding of the kinds of technical and complex evidence used in sexual assault cases and how to challenge the processing, analysis, or interpretation of that evidence, such as DNA samples. When challenged, the evidence may tell a different story than the one prosecutors thought or wanted.

Charged with a sex crime? Contact us today.

Your initial consultation will always be free and confidential. Call today or fill out the form below and we will help you.

Attorney Maurice Davis