Michigan CSC 4th Degree Charges and Defenses
A person facing Criminal Sexual Conduct 4th Degree charges must realize that prosecutors do not take these charges lightly and the strongest possible defense is required.
What You Need to Know About Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Fourth Degree
In Michigan, Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Fourth Degree is a serious offense. If you or someone you care about faces criminal sexual conduct charges in Michigan, it’s critical to move quickly and decisively to counter the allegations and build a robust and credible defense. The main goal is to keep your record clean by preventing charges from ever being filed. If formal charges have been filed in court, the objective changes to winning your case. It is critical to have an experienced CSC defense attorney on your side.
4th Degree CSC Penalties
A charge of Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Fourth Degree is a charge of sexual contact without aggravating factors such as force, coercion, or personal injury. Although this charge is officially a “misdemeanor” with a maximum sentence of two years in prison, we take the case very seriously. CSC 4th Degree is treated as a felony in Michigan for all practical purposes.
Collateral Consequences of Criminal Sexual Conduct Fourth Degree
In many cases, the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction are worse than jail or fines. In the case of 4th Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct, a conviction requires sex offender registration, DNA testing, up to 5 years of probation, loss of firearm rights, loss of some government benefits, and the inability to attend some school functions. Depending on a person’s circumstances, a CSC 4th conviction can cause loss of employment or the inability to advance in a career, loss of or inability to obtain a professional license, disqualification from security clearance, and more. Although expungement of CSC 4th Degree charges is possible in specific circumstances, a person facing charges should never assume their record can be cleared at a later time.
Under what circumstances can someone be charged with CSC 4th Degree?
Various scenarios would qualify for Criminal Sexual Conduct 4th Degree. Examples include:
Engaging in sexual contact with a teenager between ages 13 and 16, when you were at least 5 years older than the other person.
Using force or coercion to sexually contact another person, which can include the use of physical force or violence; threat of force, violence, or retaliation when the alleged victim believes you can follow through on the threat; medical treatment or examination for unethical or unacceptable purposes; or through concealment or surprise.
- Engaging in sexual contact with someone who you knew to be mentally or physically disabled.
- Engaging in sexual contact with someone related to you to the third degree unless you are married; however, it may be a defense if the person had a position of authority over you and coerced the sexual contact.
- Engaging in sexual contact with a client or patient who was not your spouse if you are a mental health professional and less than 2 years has passed since you were treating the alleged victim.
- Engaging in sexual contact with a student aged 16 to 18 when you were a teacher, substitute teacher, or school administrator unless the student was emancipated or was your spouse.
- Engaging in sexual contact with a student aged 16 to 18 when you were a school district employee, contractor, or volunteer and you used your position to establish a relationship with the student.
- Engaging in sexual contact with a special needs student ages 16 to 26 when you were a teacher, substitute teacher, school administrator, school district employee, or contractor unless the student was your spouse.
- Engaging in sexual contact with a special needs student ages 16 to 26 when you were a volunteer or government service provider and used your position to establish a relationship with the student.
- Engaging in sexual contact with a resident of a foster family home or group home who was at least 16, and you were the employee, service provider, or volunteer in the home or facility while the teen was a resident.
What is Sexual Contact for Sexual Assault Charges?
Criminal Sexual Conduct Fourth Degree involves intentional sexual contact with another person without consent. Sexual contact is the intentional touching of a victim’s intimate parts or the intentional touching of the clothing covering the immediate area of the victim’s intimate parts. The touching must have been for sexual arousal or gratification, revenge, infliction of humiliation, or out of anger.
Michigan courts have held that the defendant’s intent is determined using a “reasonable person standard.” Therefore, the actor’s actual, subjective intent does not have to be proven by the government. Juries are instructed to decide whether the defendant’s actions reasonably appear to have been for an improper purpose.
Force and Coercion
If force or coercion is used to make the sexual contact, the charge would be 4th Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct. However, if there is also an injury, the charge could be raised to a more serious felony offense.
There are five specific uses of force or coercion described in the statute.
- The other person is overcome with the actual application of physical force.
- Threatening the use of physical force at the time of the incident.
- Threat of future use of force, and the victim or complainant believes the threat.
- If the person engages in medical treatment or examination that is medically recognized as unethical or unacceptable, such as touching someone sexually under a medical pretext.
- Intentional sexual contact through concealment or surprise.
Teachers, Mental Health Care Providers, and Child Care Workers
A teacher, school administrator, school employee, or non-student volunteer who engages in sexual contact with a student who is at least 16 years old but under 18 years old, might face CSC 4th Degree charges. The applicable age range for Criminal Sexual Conduct Fourth Degree charges increases to at least 16 years of age and 26 years of age, for special education students.
A mental health professional cannot have sexual contact with a client within two years of treatment, regardless of consent. Consent of the victim is not considered because the patient is considered vulnerable to someone in a position of authority. Sexual contact with someone at least 16 years old constitutes Criminal Sexual Conduct Fourth Degree if the accused is an employee or volunteer with a child care company supervising that person or someone licensed to operate a foster family home where the teenager resides.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is CSC 4th Degree a felony in Michigan?
Technically, CSC 4th is a misdemeanor; however, it is treated as a felony for almost all purposes under Michigan law.
What are the degrees of sexual misconduct in Michigan?
The degrees are 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. First Degree is the most serious charge and is punishable by up to life in prison. Fourth Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct is the least severe of the CSC charges.
What are the degrees of CSC in Michigan?
CSC and sexual misconduct are the same charges, and the degrees are the same.
What is fourth-degree sexual assault?
Generally, 4th Degree sexual assault is the unwanted, nonconsensual, or illegal sexual touching of another person under certain circumstances as prescribed by law.
What is fourth degree incest?
“Fourth degree incest” is the consensual or nonconsensual sexual contact between people related to the third degree or closer.
Which degree of CSC is the most serious of the 4 degrees of CSC?
First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct is the most serious.
Is there a statute of limitations on CSC in Michigan?
The statute of limitations for Fourth Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct is 10 years, or by the alleged victim’s 21st birthday, whichever comes later.
Your Best Defense to Criminal Sexual Conduct Fourth Degree Charges
Criminal sexual conduct cases are complicated and best handled by the experienced, effective team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. There are many different ways to defend against allegations of criminal sexual conduct. You need a trustworthy, tenacious criminal sexual conduct defense attorney who knows precisely how to provide you with the best possible defense. We have an established reputation as one of Michigan’s most successful criminal defense law firms. When you work with our team, you can be confident that your case will receive our complete focus, expertise, and attention. You deserve the best possible defense, and we are not afraid to win!
Judges, police officers, and prosecutors know LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. consistently provides an unparalleled defense for Criminal Sexual Conduct Fourth Degree investigations, settlement negotiations, trials, and appeals. We painstakingly review the evidence and find credible, persuasive avenues to attack the government’s case. We will determine if there is favorable evidence for our client and attack every piece of the prosecutor’s evidence. If you want the best possible defense, you are in the right place.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.