Criminal Sexual Conduct 2nd Degree
Second-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct Lawyer in Michigan
Second-degree criminal sexual conduct under MCL 750.520c (often called “CSC-II” or “CSC 2”) is the second-most serious form of sex crimes in Michigan (after first-degree). CSC-II criminalizes certain “sexual contact.” The law defines sexual contact as the intentional touching of the victim's or actor's intimate parts or the intentional touching of the clothing covering the immediate area of the victim's or actor's intimate parts, if that intentional touching can reasonably be construed as being for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification, done for a sexual purpose, or in a sexual manner for revenge, humiliation, or out of anger. MCL 750.520a.
There are several ways to commit CSC-II (13 to be precise). Two variations, though, are the most common. First, sexual contact with a person under 13 years old is CSC-II. Second, sexual contact with a person between 13 and 16 years old is CSC-II if the victim and perpetrator are related or members of the same household or if the perpetrator is in a position of authority over the victim.
CSC-II is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and lifetime registration as a sex offender. And if the victim was less than 13 years old and you were17 years old or older, you will be subject to “lifetime electronic monitoring.” This means that even after your sentence is complete, you will need to wear an ankle tether and be monitored by the government for the rest of your life. You need a second-degree criminal sexual conduct lawyer in Michigan with experience.
Can I be charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct in Michigan even if there’s no evidence?
Yes, you can be charged with CSC-II even if there’s no hard evidence against you. Under MCL 750.520h, in CSC cases, “the testimony of a victim need not be corroborated.” In other words, the accuser’s word is enough. So by taking the stand and telling his or her version of events, the accuser has given the jury all the “evidence” they need to convict you. The prosecution need not present, for example, DNA evidence or witness testimony to corroborate the accuser’s allegations.
Clients are often shocked to hear this. But in our experience, many—if not most—CSC-II convictions are obtained on the accuser’s word alone. So don’t think you’re scot-free because the only “evidence” in the case is the accuser’s testimony.
Will I go to jail for a second-degree criminal sexual conduct conviction?
Yes, in most cases, you will go to jail or even prison for a CSC-II conviction. (Sentences of a year or less are served in the county jail; sentence of more than a year are served in state prison.) CSC-II is a Class C felony for purposes of the Michigan sentencing guidelines. In most cases, the guidelines will call for some period of incarceration. How much? It depends on the case. If you have no prior record and the facts of your case were not egregious, 6 months of jailtime would be unsurprising. But if you have a lengthy criminal history and the offenses were especially heinous, a judge could impose several years of prison time.
How can you avoid jail or prison time? Prepare a defense. You will likely need to either win the case at trial or so weaken the prosecution’s case that they agree to a plea deal that includes no incarceration. The first step, though, is to retain an attorney with a track record of winning high stakes CSC cases.