Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC) charges are extremely serious, and anyone who has been charged with a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th degree offense could face serious potential penalties. How a charge actually develops after an alleged action takes place is confusing to some, however, the following provides a brief explanation of how a CSC case is prosecuted in Michigan.
First, the alleged instance of CSC is committed. The police are notified of the alleged offense and an investigation will begin. Usually, the alleged victim reports the offense, through someone else, especially if the case involves a child may bring it to the attention of the police. Teachers, parents, or other authority figures sometimes report potential instances of sexual abuse to the authorities, and a pre-file investigation starts.
A statute of limitations governs how long after an alleged offense charges can be brought against a person. For most criminal cases, the statute of limitations is 6 years, however CSC cases are deemed more serious and are given a longer statute of limitations. For 2nd, 3rd, and 4th degree Criminal Sexual Conduct cases, the statute of limitations is 10 years, or by the alleged victim’s 21st birthday, whichever date comes later. For felony 1st degree CSC charges, there is no statute of limitations in Michigan.
During an initial investigation, alleged victims are interviewed along with any witnesses or suspects, if there is a crime scene it is surveyed and analyzed, and any other evidence is collected. Depending on the details of the case, it may be handled by a responding officer or a detective. In the case of a CSC allegation, a sex crimes detective will likely take over the case.
The goal of any investigation is to eventually bring a charge against a suspect, and the questions asked and evidence considered will fit with that goal. If the detective or officer establishes probable cause to believe that Criminal Sexual Conduct took place, and arrest and charge will result.
It is possible that an investigating officer can arrest a person on the spot, but in many cases the detective will request a warrant, which is the first involvement a prosecutor has in a case. A prosecutor will thoroughly review all evidence, reports, and records in the case, and review the suspect’s record. Sometimes, the prosecutor requests additional police investigation.
If there is probable cause to believe the suspect did indeed commit an act of Criminal Sexual Conduct, a prosecutor can bring charges against him or her, however a higher standard is usually used. A prosecutor will try to determine whether or not a case can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt at trial, and if it can, a CSC charge will be authorized.
If the suspect is not already in custody at this point, an arrest will have to be made. After the prosecutor has authorized criminal charges, an arrest can take any length of time, depending on how easy it is to locate the suspect and bring them in. If a suspect has already been in custody, it is easier to move forward with the case.
There is a lot that goes into bringing a criminal charge after an alleged offense is committed, and each of these steps can take a significant amount of time. A lot has to come together in order for a CSC charge to be approved, from reliable witness testimony, compliance with the statute of limitations, and probable cause for arrest, there a numerous actions that have to take place before a person can be brought to trial for CSC. As soon as you suspect you may be under investigation for CSC, it is critical to contact an experienced sex crime attorney, because you need to fight to ensure criminal charges do not result, or that you are not charged with a greater offense than you really committed.
For over 10 years, Grabel & Associates has been dedicated to sex crimes defense in Michigan. Contact our firm now for a free consultation by calling 1-800-342-7896 or contacting us online. For further information on CSC charges, speak to an attorney or view the additional Michigan sex crime defense resources on our site.