Michigan has served as a model to other states for implementing comprehensive sexual assault
laws. Michigan was the first state to enact a rape shield law prohibiting the use of a
victim’s sexual history as evidence except under limited and carefully defined
Current sexual assault law in Michigan is gender neutral, places the
burden of proof on the actions of the abuser and not on the victim’s level of resistance, and
recognizes the complexities of sexual assault, including the different types of force used and
varying degrees of sexual contact. For this reason, it is important to seek out an experienced
Rapids sexual assault attorney if you have been charged with sexual assault in
What Is Sexual Assault?
Broadly speaking, sexual assault is a
statutory criminal offense involving any unwanted sexual act either through force, coercion, or
threats. Types of sexual assault charges include:
Rape and attempted
There are four degrees of Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC)
within Michigan sexual assault law. The degree of CSC is dependent on a number of factors,
including the victim’s age, mental capacity, and the use of weapons.
and third degree CSC—Forced or coerced sexual penetration or intercourse with a body
part or object
Second and fourth degree CSC—Forced or coerced sexual
contact, including touching of intimate parts or clothing covering these parts for the purpose of
sexual arousal or gratification
Sexual Assault Penalties
The penalties for
sexual assault charges can be serious and life-changing. The level of punishment varies
considerably, depending on the circumstances of the crime. A misdemeanor offense may receive
minimal jail time plus a fine and community service or counseling, whereas a felony conviction could
lead to life in prison. A skilled criminal defense attorney in Grand Rapids can be crucial in determining
what kind of sentence a person might receive.
The specific penalties according to degree of
CSC are as follows:
Fourth degree CSC—Up to 2 years in prison
and/or a fine of $500
Third degree CSC—Up to 15 years in
Second degree CSC—Up to 15 years in
First degree CSC—Up to life in prison (considered a felony
conviction due to certain circumstances, including the victim’s age, incapacity, familial
relationship to the assailant, use of weapons, or involvement of another felony
Additionally, the state of Michigan requires all individuals convicted of a
sexual assault charge to register their address with law enforcement.
information provided by: Jeffrey J. O'Hara 161 Ottawa Avenue Northwest Grand
Rapids, MI 49503-2701
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