Q: Is an indecent exposure charge something to be worried about?
A: Indecent exposure in Michigan, as in most states, is a misdemeanor, punishable not more than one year in jail or a $1,000 fine. In most instances, particularly for a first offense, there is a likelihood of being fined only. However, more severe penalties are possible. Where the indecent exposure involves fondling certain body parts, the sentence may be up to two years in prison, and a sexually delinquent person found guilty of indecent exposure can face an indeterminate sentence up to life in prison. Any indecent exposure charge should be taken very seriously.
Q: I have been convicted of a sex crime. Should I consider an appeal?
A: Generally yes. There is no guarantee that any conviction will be reversed on appeal, and an investigation of the facts of your case is essential to determine whether an appeal might be successful. However, sex crimes often involve unique evidentiary issues and the charges alone can inflame or prejudice a jury against a defendant. The penalties for many sex crimes are severe and long-lasting, and exploring the possibility of an appeal is a good idea.
Q: If I have been charged with child abuse, will I lose my parental rights?
A: You will not lose your parental rights simply because you are accused of child abuse. However, if you have been charged with child abuse, it is likely that the state’s Child Protective Services (CPS) will initiate proceedings to limit or terminate your parental rights. This proceeding is in family court, not criminal court, and is not directly related to your criminal case, although common evidence applies in both contexts. CPS may pursue termination of parental rights even if you are ultimately exonerated of the abuse charges.
Q: What is the statute of limitations for sexual abuse involving a minor?
A: Most crimes under Michigan state law have a six-year statute of limitations, except for certain more serious offenses. However, for any sexual abuse or assault of a minor, the statute of limitations is 10 years or until the minor turns 21, whichever is later. Rape has no statute of limitations in Michigan.
Q: If police contact me regarding a sex crime, should I talk to them?
A: You should first speak to an attorney. In some instances there is no potential harm in speaking with the police, but as a general matter law enforcement does not have your best interests in mind. In addition anything you say or what a police officer claims you said can be used against you in court. An experienced attorney can advise you on how to address any police investigation.