If you or someone close to you was recently charged with sexual assault in Lansing, MI and you are looking to get as much information as you can regarding this type of charge, the Law Offices of Stuart R. Shafer, P.C. here to provide it to you. Below we are discussing what sexual assault is as well as what the penalties are that the crime carries with it when a defendant is convicted of the charge in the State of Michigan.
What is sexual assault?
Sexual assault, or rape, “is forcing or coercing an individual to engage in any non-consensual sexual contact or sexual penetration” [Source: Michigan Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention and Treatment Board]. The State of Michigan recognizes sexual assault as criminal sexual conduct and there are four degrees of it. The first and third degrees involve forced or coerced penetration and the second and fourth degrees involve forced or coerced sexual contact. Now, if you’re wondering how the prosecutor overseeing your case is going to determine the severity of your charge, he or she will likely use the following factors:
- Whether there was more than one assailant.
- If there was a weapon used or present at the time of the alleged offense.
- If the plaintiff in the case suffered a physical injury other than sexual assault.
- If extortion was a factor.
- If the element of surprise occurred at the time of the alleged offense, meaning the act occurred unexpectedly.
- If the plaintiff was under the age of 13 or between the ages of 13 and 15.
- If the assailant is a member of the plaintiff’s family or in a position of authority over the victim (i.e. teacher, counselor, doctor, etc.).
How are individuals punished for criminal sexual conduct in the State of Michigan?
It depends on the degree of the crime you are charged with. However, most criminal sexual conduct charges carry jail time as well as fines and fees. To learn more about each type of charge, we encourage you to review The Michigan Penal Code for each degree of a sexual assault charge provided for you below.
Criminal sexual conduct in the first degree (750.520b.)
Why do I need to hire a MI criminal defense attorney if I was charged with sexual assault?
There are several reasons why you need to retain an attorney after having been charged with a criminal sexual conduct charge. The most obvious reason is that you need to protect your rights and freedom, and only a qualified defense attorney is going to be able to do this. Some other reasons why it benefits to have an experienced lawyer representing your criminal case include:
- If you were wrongfully charged with sexual assault. This often happens after two individuals consent to engage in sexual relations with one another and one party later decides they shouldn’t have done so. Because this person may have felt ashamed or disappointed by their actions, they decide to blame the other for forcing them into the act. The reason you need an attorney when circumstances such as these arise is because this individual who accused you of sexual assault will likely hire a lawyer of their own. And this attorney will likely paint a false picture of you to the court and jury that doesn’t quite depict who your character is. But, if you don’t have an aggressive lawyer defending you, the court and/or jury will likely side with the person who is claiming to be a victim.
Did you know that “criminal sexual conduct does not require a witness other than the victim?” Essentially, it could come down to a case of “he said she said” and if you don’t have a legal expert working by your side, the alleged victim could potentially get you convicted of a crime you didn’t actually commit.
- You want to try and get your charges reduced or dropped. If there is little evidence that proves you engaged in an act of sexual assault, you need a lawyer who can pull together all the evidence needed to prove your innocence or identify there is not enough to convict you.
- You are looking to avoid jail time. If you are guilty of committing the act but want to receive an alternative punishment to jail, a skilled criminal defense attorney in MI such as Stuart R. Shafer can help convince the court that you shouldn’t be jailed for the crime.
If you are ready to discuss your case with a criminal defense lawyer in Lansing, MI now, contact the Law Offices of Stuart R. Shafer, P.C. today.
You can reach the Law Offices of Stuart R. Shafer, P.C.at:
1223 Turner Street, #333
Lansing, MI 48906