Lansing Child Molestation and Sexual Abuse Lawyer
Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC) are subject to the most stringent laws and serious punishments – and never more than when the victim is a child. Whether you are a middle-aged man who has been accused of having forcible sexual conduct with a small child or a teenager who has had consensual relations with a younger girlfriend, if you've been accused of child molestation or sexual abuse, you need the help of an experienced sex crimes attorney in Lansing immediately.
What Is Child Molestation and Sexual Abuse?
For the purposes of law, a “child” is anyone under the age of consent - which in Lansing, as in the rest of Michigan, is 16 years of age under most circumstances.
Unwanted sexual penetration and unwanted contact are both considered child molestation under Michigan law. However, it is important to note that consensual penetration and contact are also considered child molestation if one of the individuals is under 16 years of age. At this age, the child is not considered capable of giving consent, and the case is handled as statutory rape. This is true whether or not the individual is dating the victim. For example, a boy who is 16 years old and one day who has a consensual physical relationship with his girlfriend, who is three months younger than himself, has committed statutory rape and is considered a man who has had an illegitimate relationship with a child in the eyes of the law.
What Are the Penalties for Child Molestation?
The penalties for child molestation vary according to the age of the child, the relationship of the perpetrator to the victim, the type of sexual conduct, and the circumstances surrounding the conduct. For example:
4th Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct (Misdemeanor) – Maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment and $500 fine.
- Sexual contact with a child between 13 and 16, when one actor is 5 or more years older than the other.
- Sexual contact with a child between 16 and 18 when one actor is a teacher or other school employee or volunteer
3rd Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct (Felony) – Maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment
- Sexual penetration with a child between 13 and 16
- Sexual penetration with a child between 16 and 18 when one actor is a teacher or other school employee or volunteer
2nd Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct (Felony) – Maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment
- Sexual contact with a child under 13
- Sexual contact with a child between 13 and 16 if the actor is a blood relative, a member of the same household, or an authority figure who used his or her position to coerce the child to submit
- Sexual contact with a child between 13 and 16 if the actor is a teacher or other employee at the child's school
1st Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct (Felony) – Maximum penalty of life imprisonment
- Sexual penetration with a child under 13
- Sexual penetration with a child between 13 and 16 if the actor is a blood relative, a member of the same household, or an authority figure who used his or her position to coerce the child to submit.
- Sexual penetration with a child between 13 and 16 if the actor is a teacher or other employee at the child's school
In addition to such penalties, sexual offenders must also register themselves as such once their prison sentence is over. Registered sex offenders may only live certain places in Lansing, and must verify their addresses one to four times per year, according to the severity of their offense. (Note: Some exceptions exist – see Romeo and Juliet laws).
Romeo and Juliet Laws
Because teenagers with younger girlfriends or boyfriends can be convicted for child molestation if their consensual partner is under 16, they are in grave danger of making a lifetime mess out of a momentary mistake. Romeo and Juliet laws attempt to recognize such situations and minimize the lifetime consequences of such relationships.
While these laws do not provide an “easy out” or a reduced prison sentence for someone engaged in statutory rape, it does allow for such offenders to be exempted from the sex offender list if the perpetrator is less than 5 years older than the victim.
Sex Offender List
With the exception of juvenile offenders who fall under the Romeo and Juliet laws, all sex offenders must register with the State of Michigan. This means that where you live, work, and go to school will be public knowledge to all Lansing residents, along with your name, photo, and other identifying details. Some offenders, such as those with tier one offenses, will not have to register.
If you are convicted of any of the following, you must register with the Michigan Sex Offender Registry. However, this is by no means an exhaustive list. For more details, see the Michigan Sex Offender Registry.
- Child Sexually Abusive Activity or Material Possession (750.145c4)
- Aggravated Indecent Exposure, if the victim is younger than 18 (750.335a3b)
- Criminal Sexual Misconduct (750.520b-750.520e)
- Gross Indecency Between Male Persons, if the victim is younger than 13 (750.338)
- Gross Indecency Between Female Persons, if the victim is younger than 13 (750.338a)
How often and how long you have to register, however, vary depending on your conviction, which is another reason why hiring an experienced attorney early on in the process can have inestimable benefits, even after your prison term has expired. If, for example, you are convicted of 2th degree CSC instead of 1st degree (assuming the victim was over 13), you only have to register twice a year for 25 years instead of four times a year for life.
How Grabel & Associates Can Help
If you've been accused of child molestation, you could be facing a sentence that will impact the rest of your life. One of the most important things you can do at this critical juncture is to hire an experienced and aggressive attorney who will not stop until he or she clears your name.
Emotions run high in these kinds of cases. Call today for level-headed and committed representation at 1-800-342-7896. You can also contact us online to set up a free consultation.