There is likely no criminal offense more zealously prosecuted or harshly sentenced than criminal sexual conduct against a minor. You will need the help of a seriously experienced and effective defense attorney.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys - Group

The age of consent in Michigan is 16 years old. This means that a 16-year-old can consent to sexual activity in most cases. There are exceptions, including familial relationships and when the activity involves a person in a position of trust or power or if the minor is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Sexual contact with someone under 16 is always illegal regardless of consent or knowledge of the minor’s age.

Sexual Contact with a 16-Year-Old

Putting aside the question of whether a 16-year-old is mature enough to make informed decisions regarding sexual activity, it is technically legal for a person this age to have consensual sexual relations. However, there are many circumstances where sexual contact with a 16-year-old would be against the law. Examples of illegal sexual activity include when the 16-year-old is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, if there is any force or coercion, a close family relationship, or if the other participant is in a position of trust or power over the minor. Paying or offering to pay or give something of value to a minor for sex, even someone 16 years old, is not just solicitation of prostitution; it is a felony offense.

Having sexual contact with someone under 16 years old is frequently referred to as statutory rape. In Michigan, statutory rape is called Criminal Sexual Conduct, and the penalties are severe and include prison time and, often, lifetime registration as a sex offender and GPS monitoring. Consent or voluntary sexual contact is not a legal defense to Criminal Sexual Conduct charges involving a child under 16. Sexual contact does not just mean sexual intercourse. For purposes of Michigan’s CSC laws, mere touching over the clothing of intimate areas is enough for a conviction if true and proven beyond a reasonable doubt. If there is an accusation of penetration and the minor is under 13 years old, the penalty may include a mandatory minimum 25-year prison sentence.

What is the Age of Consent in Michigan?

Sexual Photographs and Videos of a Minor

Possessing, creating (manufacturing), distributing, or viewing sexual photographs or videos of a person under 18 years old is illegal in Michigan and under federal law. A sexual image of a minor is called Child Sexually Abusive Material or CSAM. Possession, manufacture, or distribution of SCAM is a felony punishable by years in prison, regardless of whether the photographs or videos are created with the minor’s permission or by the minor themselves. Under the law, a child cannot legally consent to this type of activity.

If you are accused of having sexual contact with a minor, it is critical that you enlist experienced defense lawyers immediately. Any delay can impair your defense or cause you to be arrested and incarcerated while charges are filed and prosecuted against you. A skilled and influential defense lawyer can arrange for their client to voluntarily surrender on an arrest warrant so they are not arrested and taken into custody. Voluntarily surrendering with a respected defense attorney can ensure the defendant gets a low or personal bond. A defendant who remains in custody on these charges is at a severe disadvantage because they cannot get psychological help to reduce a sentence, support their family, prove they can be law-abiding, or meaningfully assist in their defense.

The Dangers of a Sexual Relationship with a 16-Year-Old

Michigan law establishes 16 as the age of consent for sexual activity. Some 16-year-olds are mature enough to make decisions about their sexual activity independently; some are not. One danger of sexual contact with a teenager is that even though they might be ready and consent, their friends, parents, or relatives might not be as accepting of the idea. If angry family members confront a 16-year-old, they might make a false allegation of rape to avoid embarrassment or punishment. Also, an emotional and hormonal teenager who consented to sexual activity might turn around and make a false allegation of force or coercion if their feelings get hurt, they object to a breakup, or they misunderstand the nature of a romantic relationship. Sexual activity with a consenting teenager is a risky behavior that someone might regret. If you suspect that someone you’ve had relations with might make a false allegation, it is vital that you engage a qualified lawyer to help and protect you immediately.

Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney

Allegations of sexual activity with a minor are among the most serious in criminal law, and the need for a superior defense is more significant than ever. If the allegations are true, an experienced and effective defense lawyer will know how to take steps to minimize any consequences by skillfully directing their client to get help and getting the court and prosecution to see the good and human qualities of the client. In those cases where the allegations are false, the lawyer must be willing to go to war if necessary to prove their client’s innocence. In these cases, guilt is frequently presumed, and innocence must be proven. Call us for a free consultation right away. We will find a way to help you!

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