Second-degree criminal sexual conduct can involve unwanted sexual touching of a person, including minors, persons with mental or physical disabilities, or people whom the perpetrator has power over. It’s a serious felony offense that can result in severe consequences if you are found guilty.

Due to the potentially life-changing consequences of a conviction for second-degree criminal sexual conduct, it’s vital that you do everything in your power to protect your rights. That’s why you should hire a lawyer as soon as possible. Even if you’re just answering questions in a police investigation, it’s a good idea to have an attorney present, as they’ll be able to protect your rights and ensure that nothing you say is taken out of context or can be used against you in a trial.

Experienced criminal lawyers, particularly those who focus on sex crimes, can protect you from charges of second-degree criminal sexual conduct that can have a huge impact on your life. If you find yourself in a situation where you’re facing such a charge, it’s vital to have a lawyer who’s on your side and will do everything they can to protect your rights and your future.

What is the Definition of Second-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct?

Second-degree criminal sexual conduct involves sexual touching (without sexual penetration) either for the purpose of sexual gratification or in anger or revenge to humiliate the victim. There’s a large emphasis in Michigan law on power-based relationships where one person has authority over the other. If a perpetrator abuses these relationships to gain sexual gratification, the penalties are severe.

According to Michigan statutes, you can be charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct if you have had sexual contact with:

  • A person under the age of 13
  • A person between the ages of 13 and 16 who is a member of your household, or is related to you to the fourth degree, or someone whom you have a position of authority over that you used to force sexual contact
  • A student in a school where you work or volunteer
  • A person in the Department of Corrections if you work or volunteer at the DoC
  • A person with a mental or physical disability who is a relative to the fourth degree or over whom you have a position of authority
  • A resident of a group home or a child in a foster home where you work or volunteer
  • An inmate at a detention facility where you work or volunteer
  • A county prisoner or probationer if you work or volunteer at the county office

In addition to these instances of sexual touching, you may be charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct if you:

  • Have sexual contact that occurs during the course of committing another felony
  • Have sexual contact where you were aided by other people or used force or the threat of force
  • Have sexual contact with a person that has a mental or physical disability
  • Have sexual contact using force or coercion and the victim was injured
  • Have sexual contact if you’re armed with a weapon or the victim believes you were armed with a weapon
  • Have sexual contact with a victim that you know is physically or mentally disabled that results in an injury to the victim

Penalties for Second-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

Since second-degree criminal sexual conduct is a felony in Michigan, you can be sentenced up to 15 years in prison if found guilty. If the victim was under 13 and you were 17 or older, you will be subject to electronic monitoring for the rest of your life.

Also, you’ll be registered as a sex offender and receive a permanent criminal record, which can have grave consequences for the rest of your life. You may lose your job, and finding a new job will be very difficult. You will be limited in where you can live, and your rental options will be strictly curtailed as well. You may lose custody of your children, and if you have a professional license, this license may be revoked.

Under Michigan statutes, you may be subject to habitual offender sentencing enhancements, which mean that you must be sentenced to a minimum of five years in prison for subsequent convictions of sex crimes. Also, if you have any prior convictions for rape, indecent liberties, or gross indecency in another state, you may face habitual offender sentencing enhancements.

A recent Michigan Supreme Court ruling decided that judges can use their discretion and don’t have to follow legislature guidelines on sentencing. Instead of relying on statutes to decide what your sentence will be, the judge will use their own judgment to determent a “reasonable” sentence for a conviction.

What to Do if You’re Charged with Second-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

Many times, criminal sexual conduct cases are emotionally-charged and complex situations. Often, it’s the accuser’s word against the defendant’s word, and knowing where the truth lies can be difficult to unravel. That’s why it’s vital to have a good lawyer on your side, as they’ll be able to tell your side of the story.

Criminal cases rely on the principle of reasonable doubt, meaning that it’s the prosecution’s job to prove that you’re guilty, not yours to prove that you’re innocent. A good defense lawyer will use every tool at their disposal to discredit the prosecution’s story using evidence and expert testimonials. They will be able to pick up on any inconsistency that can challenge the credibility of the prosecution and their witnesses. They will also be able to interpret and challenge physical evidence, such as DNA tests, which can be contaminated or represent unreliable evidence.

Having a good lawyer on your side can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case. The sooner you get in touch with a lawyer, the better your chances, as they’ll be able to protect you even before you’re charged. A good lawyer is one who will examine all the facts and develop a strategy that will defend your rights and protect your future, right from the start.

Sex Crime Articles