Being accused of sexual abuse can be frightening and horrific. A conviction could attract hefty penalties and rob you of your freedom, which is why you can’t afford to plead guilty.
You may not know what to do, but the best action is to consult a Bloomfield Hills criminal defense lawyer for legal counsel and representation if you’re facing sexual abuse charges in Michigan.
What is the Definition of Sexual Assault in Michigan?
Sexual assault is when someone forces or pressures another person into unwanted sexual contact. This may entail sexual penetration or unwanted touching of private body parts. Some sexual assault perpetrators may commit the crime when the victim is asleep, under the influence of alcohol, unconscious, or physically helpless.
Under the Michigan Penal Code, a person is guilty of first-degree criminal sexual conduct if they engage in sexual penetration with another person under the following circumstances:
- The victim is under 13 years
- The victim is 13 but less than 16 years and the perpetrator is a member of the victim’s family, related by blood or affinity to the fourth degree, or as authority over the victim as a teacher, substitute teacher, or administrator of a school in which the victim is enrolled
- The actor causes personal injury to the victim and uses coercion to accomplish sexual penetration.
The law also lists the types of unlawful sexual conduct, but what unites each kind of sexual abuse and assault is the lack of consent. Lack of consent includes the lack of knowing consent and the inability to consent. For example, a person who is severely intoxicated or drugged cannot give consent. Additionally, a person under 16 cannot consent to sex in Michigan.
What are the Common Types of Sexual Misconduct in Michigan?
Rape is the most common type of sexual assault. It involves physical force, violence, and threats. The State of Michigan also classifies a crime as rape if the victim is not of the legal age, can’t consent, or is coerced into the action. Other forms of sexual abuse are the following:
Child Sexual Abuse and Molestation
This offense happens when a perpetrator has sexual contact with a victim not of legal age. Most child sexual abuse and molestation offenses are perpetrated by offenders known to the child, such as family members, coaches, teachers, caretakers, clergy, and other trusted adults.
Examples of child sexual abuse include:
- Sexual touching
- Manipulating the child to do something sexual
- Taking graphic photos of the child
If you’re facing child sexual abuse and molestation allegations, you risk spending a significant portion of your life behind bars if convicted. Consult a sex crimes lawyer in Bloomfield Hills to defend you aggressively against the charges.
Incest refers to sexual contact between closely related family members. The act may happen between consenting adults, but this is not common. Most reported incest cases are between a child and a close family member, for example, a sibling or parent.
Other Categories of Sexual Abuse
Some other forms of sexual assault don’t fit into defined categories. For example, a perpetrator could have sex in front of a child and make inappropriate comments to the child. In other instances, a perpetrator could post or publish explicit sexual photos or videos of someone without their consent in what may be non-consensual revenge pornography.
Regardless of the type of sexual assault you have been charged with, you should contact a Bloomfield Hills sex crimes lawyer for advice on the appropriate defensive course of action to take. They can evaluate the evidence brought against you and put their skills to work to help you create a strong defense for the most favorable outcome.
What is the Difference Between Criminal and Civil Charges in Sexual Assault Cases?
When filing a lawsuit, victims of sexual abuse may file criminal or civil charges. While the two are separate charges, the outcome of a criminal case could dramatically affect the outcome of a civil lawsuit.
Civil Charges in Sexual Assault Cases
Sexual assault victims can pursue civil charges for sexual abuse and molestation. In this case, the burden of proof lies with the plaintiff as they must show negligence on the defendant’s part to be liable for compensation.
For example, a student who pursues legal action against a teacher for a sexual offense must prove negligence. They must show how the teacher breached their duty of care towards them. Due to the breach, the court could order them to pay financial damages to the plaintiff in addition to prison time and fines. The compensation might depend on the following:
- Medical expense
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
A skilled criminal defense attorney in Bloomfield Hills can assess your case and defend you against these penalties. They know how the court system works and can potentially have the charges reduced or dropped.
Criminal Charges in Sexual Assault Cases
The state is responsible for pursuing criminal charges against sex crime offenders. If the offender pleads guilty or the court finds them guilty, the court penalizes them under the Michigan Penal Code. The penalties include:
- Prison time
- Monetary fines and restitution
- Community service
The penalties depend on the type and degree of sexual abuse and the offender’s criminal history. For example, some charges carry no more than two years in prison and a fine, while others can result in a life sentence in state prison.
The impact of these consequences can adversely affect your life. Let a skilled sex crimes attorney serving Bloomfield Hills, Detroit, and Big Rapids, help you fight the charges.
A Skilled and Compassionate Sex Crimes Lawyer Aggressively Defending Your Rights
You can be charged with sexual abuse in Michigan without hard evidence. The charges can be based purely on the victim’s testimony, meaning it’s their word against yours. It’s not unusual for an accuser to take the stand and say you sexually assaulted them, and that’s all the prosecutor will need to convict you. You need experienced legal representation to fight the charges successfully.
An experienced sex crimes attorney from our law firm can help you prove your innocence and win the case. We can provide the legal support, counsel, and representation you need during this difficult time. Our criminal defense attorneys give you the best chance at freedom and unrivaled personalized services to protect your rights. Talk to us today to discuss your situation with a defense professional.