Gross Indecency

Gross Indecency basically involves a sexual act between 2 or more persons in a public place, or in a location where a member of the public could have been exposed to or viewed the sexual act. Locations such as a rest stop, a public bathroom, a public park, and in a private home but in front of a window are all places in which sexual acts between consenting adults have and will result in prosecution for Gross Indecency in many instances.  A sexual act is more than just kissing for purposes of this offense; there must be some form of touching of a private part or sexual penetration between persons involving 1 or more private parts.

There are 3 offenses related to Gross Indecency in Michigan: Gross Indecency between Male and Female Persons (MCL 750.338b); Gross Indecency between Female Persons (MCL 750.338a); and Gross Indecency between Male Persons (MCL 750.338). Regardless of the sex or sexual orientation of the participants, the potential penalty is the same –  Gross Indecency is a felony offense which carries a possible punishment of up to 4 years in prison or a fine of not more than $2500. If the participant is deemed to be a sexually delinquent person, the Defendant (if convicted) faces an indeterminate prison sentence with a mandatory minimum of 1 day and a maximum of life. A sexually delinquent person is defined as a person whose sexual behavior is characterized by repetitive or compulsive acts which indicate a disregard of the consequences of the recognized rights of others, or by the use of force upon another person in attempting sexual relations of either a heterosexual or homosexual nature, or by the commission of sexual aggressions against children under the age of 16 years.

Gross Indecency may subject a Defendant, if convicted, to the requirements of the Michigan Sex Offender Registration Act.  Gross Indecency involving a victim less than 13 years old will result in a Tier III registration requirement pursuant to MCL 750.388, MCL 750.388a, and MCL 750.388b. Tier III cases are the most severe sex offenses, which places the offender on a lifetime public registry. The information must be verified by the offender with law enforcement at least 4 times a year; January 1st through 15th; April 1st through 15th; July 1st through 15th; October 1st through 15th.

Gross Indecency involving a victim between the ages of 13 and 17 will result in a Tier II Michigan Sex Offender Registration requirement, if a conviction occurs.  Tier II cases are mid range sex offenses, which places the offender on a public registry for 25 years. The information must be verified by the offender with law enforcement at least 2 times a year: between January 1st and 15th; and between June 1st and 15th.

Any sexual act committed by a sexually delinquent person that he or she is convicted of will result in at least a Tier I registration requirement or higher depending upon the circumstances related to a conviction.  Tier I cases are the least severe, which places the offender on a non public registry for 15 years. The information must be verified by the offender with law enforcement at least 1 time per year.

For all Tiers, the offender must also report to law enforcement whenever the following occurs to the offender, in addition to the reporting requirements listed above: he/she moved; bought a vehicle; he/she established an email address; he/she changed name (for example – through marriage); he/she changed employment; he/she enrolled at a college or university; he/she changed his/her residence temporarily for more than 7 days. The change in the above status is supposed to be made within 3 days. Offenders are required to provide more information to law enforcement, such as social security numbers, passport, e-mail addresses, vehicle information, and employer information. There is also an increase in the registration fee. The system is also linked with the Secretary of State database, which provides up to date photographs of offenders for tracking purposes. The purpose behind gathering this information is to provide law enforcement and the public with more accurate information concerning the offender.
Other offenses related to Gross Indecency can include misdemeanor offenses of Indecent Exposure and Disorderly Person.
Depending upon the facts of the case, the Defendant’s prior history, and the Prosecutor’s office pursuing the case, a plea bargain to one of these other offenses may be possible.  If you intend to contest the charge or charges of Gross Indecency at trial, or are seeking to achieve the best possible resolution short of trial, hiring an experienced criminal defense lawyer is a necessity.
Contact Information