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Rape: What You Need To Know About Rape Laws in Michigan

Rape is not a legal term in Michigan. Read on to understand how this crime is charged


First and foremost, it is important that you understand one very important fact. The word ‘rape’ has a definite meaning in the dictionary and in everyday speech, but it isn’t a recognized definition in Michigan law. Ask around and most people would tell you that rape means forced, non-consensual sex. Michigan law doesn’t define it that way.


In Michigan, anyone who is charged with raping another person (forcing another person to engage in sexual penetration) will be charged with either First or Third degree criminal sexual conduct. There are four ‘degrees’ of criminal sexual conduct in Michigan law, but only first and third degrees refer to the penetration of a victim. Second and Fourth Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct  refer to sexual touching without penetration.


How is rape charged in Michigan?


In most cases, sexual penetration by force would be charged as Third  Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct. Third degree CSC can become more severe if one or more factors are also present. Michigan law defines First Degree CSC as penetration of a victim when one or more other factors are present. These factors include:

  • The victim being underaged,
  • The perpetrator using force or coercion to achieve the penetration,
  • The victim being related by blood to the perpetrator,
  • The perpetrator being in a position of authority over the victim.


First degree criminal sexual conduct is punishable by up to life in prison. However, anyone whose sentence is shorter than life, and they are released back into society, will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of their lives.


What about the different types of rape?


Because rape is a commonly used term, it has been divided into subcategories based on circumstance. For example, people talk about ‘date rape‘, ‘statutory rape‘, ‘spousal rape’ and even ‘child rape.’ While all of these may help the people involved in the discussion to clarify which form of sexual assault they are talking about, none of these terms are used in Michigan law.


If a person sexually assaults another person by forcing them to participate in sexual penetration against their will, whether they are on a date, under the age of consent, or married, it will still be charged as Third degree or First degree Criminal Sexual Conduct in Michigan. Even ‘child rape’ (which is sometimes called child molestation) will be charged as First Degree CSC.


How is rape defended in court?


Every case is different, so this isn’t a question we can answer in a blog post. Constructing an effective defense against allegations of sexual assault is a very challenging, and very time consuming. It requires creativity, tenacity, hard work, dedication and a lot of training. It also requires a great deal of experience. Attorneys who’ve never defended anyone against a sex assault allegation before,  usually can’t provide the type of help you need.


It’s critical that you get legal help if you’ve been accused of rape, or of committing any kind of sexual offense. At The Kronzek Firm we take an aggressive stance on defending our clients, which includes hiring top-notch expert witnesses and investigators to help with every case. Our criminal defense team has successfully defended clients against sex crime charges. We do not judge a client for what they’ve been accused of doing. Every person in the United States is entitled to excellent criminal defense, and that is what we provide. Call 866 766 5245 and talk to a highly skilled sex crime defense attorney right now.

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