Criminal Sexual Conduct First Degree

Criminal Sexual Conduct in the First Degree (MCL 750.520b), also known as CSC 1st Degree, is the most serious of all sex offenses in Michigan.  Criminal Sexual Conduct in the First Degree can involve children or adults depending upon the circumstance, and always involve some form of rape or sexual penetration.  The penalties for 1st Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct, upon conviction, are severe:

1)      CSC 1st Degree carries a maximum sentence of up to life in prison.  The minimum prison sentence will be lengthy due to quickly escalating sentencing guidelines which the Court will follow in almost all cases;

2)      If the victim is younger than 13 years old, there is a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison;

3)      The sentence becomes life without the possibility for parole for CSC 1st Degree if the victim is younger than 13 years old, and the Defendant has a prior conviction involving the same type of conduct involving a victim younger than 13 years old;

4)      The sentencing Judge has the discretion to impose consecutive sentences for any other criminal act that arises out of the same transaction;

5)      Upon parole, the Defendant is subject to a lifetime on a GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) tether;

6)      Michigan Sex Offender Registration as a Tier III offense, unless the sentencing Judge makes a determination that the victim consented, the age of the victim was at least 13 years old but less than 16 years old, and the Defendant is not more than 4 years older than the victim.  Tier III cases place the person on a lifetime public registry.  The information must be verified by the offender with law enforcement at least 4 times a year, and whenever the offender moves, buys a vehicle, obtains an email address, changes employment, enrolls in school, or changed his or her residence for more than 7 days.  The notification is supposed to occur within 3 days of the aforementioned event.

Hence, a conviction for CSC 1st Degree is a life changing event.  Experienced, talented criminal legal representation is a necessity for anyone accused of this crime.  The law firm of Hilf & Hilf, PLC has the experience, expertise, and commitment to defend any Criminal Sexual Conduct allegation.

The offense of Criminal Sexual Conduct in the First Degree (MCL 750.520b) involves some form of sexual penetration combined with any of the following circumstances:

1)      The victim is under the age of 13 years;

2)      The victim is at least 13 years old but less than 16 years old, and any of the following factors exist:

a.       The alleged perpetrator is a member of the same household as the alleged victim;

b.      The alleged perpetrator is related to the alleged victim by blood or affinity to the 4th Degree;

c.       The alleged perpetrator is in a position of authority over the victim and used that authority to coerce the alleged victim to submit to him or her;

d.      The alleged perpetrator is a teacher, substitute teacher, or administrator of the school where the alleged victim is enrolled OR the alleged perpetrator is employed or contracted by the school that the victim is enrolled, OR the alleged perpetrator works for the state or local government that provides services for the school that the alleged victim is enrolled OR the alleged perpetrator volunteers at the school which the alleged victim is enrolled at, and uses that status to gain access or establish a relationship with the alleged victim.

3)      The sexual penetration occurs during the commission of any other felony (for example, a rape that occurs during the course of an armed robbery);

4)      An aider and abettor to First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct can be found guilty to CSC 1st Degree if any of the following occur:

a.       He or she knows or has reason to know that the alleged victim is mentally unable to consent (due to age, mental retardation, etc.), mentally incapacitated (due to intoxication, date rape drug, etc), or physically helpless (in a coma, quadriplegic, etc.)

b.      Force or coercion occurs involving either a weapon or an article used or fashioned in a way to make the alleged victim believe a weapon was involved (for example, a toy gun).

c.       The alleged victim suffers a physical injury and force or coercion was used to accomplish the sexual penetration.  The force or coercion can be physical, involve threats, unethical or unrecognized medical procedures, or overcoming the alleged victim by concealment or surprise

Mere presence alone does not constitute aiding and abetting.  However, any minimal assistance in the crime, even assistance in which the aider and abettor does not engage in any sexual act, can lead to the same charge as the main participant.

It is not uncommon for an individual to be falsely accused of Criminal Sexual Conduct in the First Degree.  Many common motivators to lie about Criminal Sexual Conduct or rape include a mental disorder, the hope to gain sympathy, bias or hatred, financial gain, and/or to not lose face in one’s community.  In cases involving children, sometimes these accusations are made to gain the upper hand in a divorce or child custody proceeding.  Children can be groomed not only by perpetrators, but by a parent or family member to report incidents that are not true.  Sometimes the interviewing techniques used by police officers, child protective services workers, and others who question the child about the alleged incident fall short of forensic interviewing standards which further complicates and compounds the case.

Anyone charged with First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct should immediately hire an experienced criminal defense attorney, such as the attorneys at Hilf & Hilf, PLC.

Criminal Sexual Conduct cases are treated very serious in Michigan, and incarceration is likely even for a first time offender. It is recommended that you first exercise your right to remain silent and second hire a skilled criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible after your arrest for the following reasons:
1. You have a better chance of receiving a reasonable bail or bond through effective legal representation;
2. The lawyer can prepare the case for preliminary examination to work for possible dismissal, lay the groundwork for possible motions, develop testimony to impeach witnesses, and develop defenses for trial.
3. If you want to fight the case at trial, you need a skilled criminal defense attorney to prepare and conduct the trial to give you the best chance of winning.
4. If you plan to plead guilty, the Defense lawyer can work to achieve the best result through possible plea bargains, possible Cobbs agreements, persuasive lawyering to present all sentencing options including programs the reduce incarceration, and proper scoring of the Michigan Sentence Guidelines. Every case is different, and whether or not the factors in this paragraph apply depends upon your history, the facts of the allegation, the Prosecutor’s office, and the Judge assigned to the case.
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