Most of the cases we handle at Smith Blythe are charges of criminal sexual conduct. In Michigan, all cases involving sex crimes, including rape, statutory rape, molestation and sexual abuse, are charged under the CSC statutes. The easiest way to break down the charges for people who are learning about this for the first time is simple.
First, if the case involves allegations of penetration, it will fall under the first or third degree criminal sexual conduct statutes. Sometimes these are referred to as CSC 1 or CSC 3, other times they are called first degree CSC and third degree CSC cases. Penetration in Michigan includes almost any penetration, no matter how slight. This means that any entry between the labia satisfies this element of penetration.
If the case does not involve penetration, but only sexual touching, it will fall under the second of fourth degree criminal sexual conduct statutes. Like CSC 1 or CSC 3, these are commonly referred to as CSC 2 or CSC 4 or second degree CSC and fourth degree CSC.
The differentiation between CSC 1 and CSC 3 depends on the ages of the people involved, whether there are claims it was force, and whether there is a relationship between the people (such as teacher/student). CSC 1 is a life offense and carries a minimum of 25 years if the alleged victim is under 13 years old. CSC 3 is a 15 year felony. Despite the fact that CSC 1 sounds like it would be much more serious than CSC 3, both result in severe, life changing consequences, given that both require that prison be ordered upon conviction and sex offender registry.
The distinction between CSC 2 and CSC 4 also involves differing factors, including the ages of the people involved and the relationship between the people involved. CSC 2 is punishable by up to 15 years, however, the scoring guidelines are not as serious as the grid used for CSC 3. CSC 4 is punishable by up to 2 years of incarceration. Again, the consequences and seriousness of any criminal sexual conduct case are severe, and it really is not any better to be charged with one count versus another. The stakes are still extremely high.
At Smith Blythe we have extensive experience defending CSC 1, CSC 2, CSC 3 and CSC 4. We achieve the best outcomes for our clients, including numerous acquittals on CSC cases. Please call our office with questions or if you need a consultation for answers.