In Michigan, the age of consent is 16. This means that if an individual is under the age of 16, he or she may not engage in sexual contact with an adult. Sexual contact between an adult and a child under the age of 16 is a sex crime for which the older party may face jail time, fines, and be required to register as a sex offender.
Sex crimes have many gray areas. If you are charged with statutory rape or another sex crime involving a minor, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you develop and use a valid defense strategy. Having your charge lowered or dismissed can protect you from incarceration, limited future opportunities, and the social stigma attached to being a registered sex offender.
Statutory rape is the criminal offense of engaging in sexual contact with an individual under the age of 16. It is also known as criminal sexual conduct. Sexual intercourse, oral sex, anal sex, and digital penetration can all be charged as statutory rape.
For teachers and other school employees, the age of consent is 18. Involvement with a child age 16 or 17 is charged the same way as involvement with a child under age 16 if the defendant is a school employee.
Statutory rape of a child between the ages of 13 and 16 or of a child age 16 or 17 by a school employee is charged as criminal sexual conduct in the third degree. Individuals convicted of this offense face up to 15 years in prison or life imprisonment if they are habitual offenders.
Sexual activity with a child under age 13 or with a child between 13 and 16 for whom the adult is an authority figure or a family member may be charged as first or second degree criminal sexual conduct, depending on the circumstances of the case. Incarceration terms for these offenses can range from a minimum of 15 years to lifetime imprisonment.
Sexual conduct that does not involve penetration is charged as criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree if the child was between 13 and 16 and the adult was no more than five years older or if the child was 16 or 17 and the adult was a school employee. For this offense, an individual can face two years in jail.
Although some states have “Romeo and Juliet” laws in place to protect minors from prosecution for consensual sexual contact with other minors, Michigan does not. Although minors can be charged for the sexual penetration of children between 13 and 16, they cannot be prosecuted for non-penetrative sexual contact.
Engaging in sexual conduct with an underage person is a criminal offense, even if the other party consented to the sexual contact. If you are facing a statutory rape charge or any other type of sex crime charge, you need to work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to develop an effective defense strategy for your case. Contact our team at Nickola Law today to set up your initial consultation in our office, during which we can examine your case and help you determine the best way to proceed.
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