What is sexual assault, and what are the penalties?

On Behalf of | Mar 25, 2015 | Sex Crimes

Sex crimes are taken extremely seriously in Michigan, and those who face such allegations are often pitted against an aggressive prosecution. Therefore, those accused of sexual assault or any other type of sex crime should carefully consider their legal defense options. Failing to put forth a strong defense could result in unwanted consequences, including an extensive prison sentence, damage to one’s reputation, and the hopeless feeling of trying to recover one’s life.

In order to present an appropriate defense, an accused individual must know the elements of the crime of which he or she is alleged to have committed. For example, it is important to realize that rape in Michigan is known as either sexual assault or sexual battery. Any sexual contact that is unwanted and acquired through force, threat of harm, or intimidation, or is obtained without an individual’s consent may be considered sexual assault.

There are varying degrees of sexual assault. A first degree offense may occur if penetration occurs and the victim is under the age of 13, there is a blood relation between the accused perpetrator and a victim that is between the ages of 13 and 15, or there is force, coercion, or injuries suffered as a result of the sexual act. A second degree offense occurs when any of the above mentioned elements are present but penetration does not occur. Third and fourth degree offenses contain similar elements, but vary depending on the age and mental state of the victim as well as whether or not penetration occurred.

The penalties for rape can be significant. An individual convicted of a first degree offense can be sentenced to life in prison. Additionally, a convicted individual may be required to be placed on the sex offender registry. Therefore, those who face such allegations may want to consider speaking with an attorney who is prepared to represent their best interests in a criminal trial.

Source: FindLaw, “Michigan Rape Laws,” accessed on March 20, 2015



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