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Michigan law no longer refers to the crime of “rape”; instead, it establishes four “degrees” (or levels) of criminal sexual conduct, two of which (first-degree and third-degree criminal sexual conduct) refer to conduct that involves non-consensual sexual penetration, whether with a part of the body or with an object—the type of conduct commonly known as “rape.”
Whether a person is charged with first- or third-degree criminal sexual conduct depends on a number of factors, including the age of the alleged victim, the relationship between the accused and the victim (i.e. whether the accused was a family member of the victim, or was in a position of power over the victim), the use of any weapons, the use of force or coercion, and any personal injuries that result from the assault.
A person convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in Michigan may face life imprisonment. A conviction of third-degree CSC is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
People who stand accused of rape sometimes hope to raise in their defense the issue of the accuser’s sexual past. However, with certain clearly defined exceptions, Michigan’s Rape Shield Law prohibits the use of a victim’s sexual conduct in court. An experienced criminal defense attorney would be able to make use of those exceptions when they do apply. In addition, an experienced criminal defense attorney would ensure that his or her client takes full advantage of the procedural protections that the accused are supposed to receive in criminal court.
At the Leydorf Law Firm, we understand the seriousness of any accusation of rape, and the immediate impact that an investigation for rape has on a person’s life. We offer discreet and experienced representation, and stand ready to help you fight the charges, negotiate a plea, or, if possible, get charges dismissed.
If you are facing accusations of rape, please contact attorney Nicholas Leydorf at any time by calling (517) 388-6800.