Sex crimes are crimes that involve nonconsensual sex in some way, whether that is because one of the parties involved was below the age of consent or because the perpetrator used force, or the threat of force, to engage in sexual contact with the victim against his or her will. Numerous actions are considered to be sex crimes. These offenses can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the nature of the individual offense.
Below are three specific types of sex crime recognized by Michigan law. Within each of these categories, there are more specific ways offenses can be charged based on the circumstances at play in a case. Penalties for sex crime convictions include fines, incarceration, probation, and registration with the Michigan Sex Offender Registry.
Criminal Sexual Conduct
Any act of nonconsensual sexual contact is defined as criminal sexual conduct in Michigan. In other states, these offenses may be separated into different charges and referred to as “sexual assault,” “sexual battery,” and “rape.”
First, second, and third degree criminal sexual conduct are all charged as felonies. Fourth degree criminal sexual conduct is charged as a misdemeanor. Each degree includes various actions, and in some cases, a specific detail like the victim’s age can mean the difference between a higher or lower level charge.
“Sexting” is the term that refers to the sharing of sexually explicit images, videos, and content via text message, email, and social media. There is nothing illegal about sexting between consenting adults. When one or more parties involved in sexting are underage, though, all parties involved can be subject to possession and distribution of child pornography charges.
Child Pornography and Other Internet Sex Crimes
In addition to sexting, sharing, possessing, or distributing pornographic images of individuals under 18 via the internet, on discs, and via thumb drives is a criminal offense. Other internet-based sex crimes include:
- Soliciting a minor for sex via the internet;
- Lewd behavior using the internet;
- Using the internet to commit indecent exposure; and
- Soliciting prostitution via the internet.
Investigating Sex Crimes
With any criminal charge, thorough investigation of the case is critical to ensure that the truth and all relevant evidence are presented in court. With a sex crime, a thorough investigation is even more critical than it is with other types of charges because these charges often rely on conflicting testimonies, scant evidence, and unclear consent boundaries. By conducting a full investigation and taking a hands-on role from the moment you are arrested, your lawyer can ensure that your case is handled properly.
Work with an Experienced Bloomfield Hills Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are facing a sex crime charge, work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to defend your case. The right defense strategy can result in your charge being lowered or even dismissed completely, depending on the circumstances. To learn more, contact our team at Michigan Defense Law today to set up your initial legal consultation with us.