The Age of Consent in Michigan is 16-Years-Old
There is likely no criminal offense that is 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.
With Some Exceptions, A 16-Year-Old Can Legally Consent to Sexual Activity
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 person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Sexual contact with a person under 16 years old is always illegal regardless of consent or knowledge of the minor’s age.
Sexual Contact with a 16-Year-Old
Putting aside the question as to 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, if there is a close family relationship, or if the other participant is in a position of trust or power over the minor. Paying a minor for sex, even someone 16 years old, is not just solicitation; it is a felony offense.
Statutory Rape (Consensual Sexual Contact with a Minor Under 16-Years-Old)
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 the age of 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. In cases where 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 to do if you are accused of sexual activity with a minor
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. Frequently in these cases, guilt is presumed, and innocence must be proven.
If you are accused of having sexual contact with a minor, it is critical that you enlist experienced defense lawyers immediately. Any delay can disable any defense you may have or cause you to be arrested and incarcerated while charges are filed and prosecuted against you. A defendant who remains in custody on these charges is at a serious disadvantage because they cannot get psychological help to reduce a sentence.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation, or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.