What is Criminal Sexual Conduct 3rd Degree in Michigan?

Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct Michigan

Criminal Sexual Conduct 3rd Degree in Michigan includes both “Statutory Rape” and sex by “Force or Coercion.”

MCL 750.520d

Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Third Degree charges in Michigan are extremely serious, and a conviction will irreversibly change your life forever.  Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Third Degree includes more than what we think of as “Rape.”  A person convicted of CSC 3 in Michigan will most likely go to State Prison.  The maximum time is 15 years in Prison and more if you have already been convicted of any felony.  Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct includes what is commonly called “Statutory Rape” – sex with a person who is younger than the age of consent; as well as the traditional definition of “Rape” – non-consensual sex by “force or coercion.”

If you are convicted of Third Degree CSC, unless one very limited exception applies, you will be required to publicly register as a sex offender on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry for LIFE.  This begins as soon as you are released from Jail or Prison.

DO NOT SPEAK WITH THE POLICE!  Contact a top Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct Attorney immediately.  Aside from physical or scientific evidence, nothing can hurt you more than your own words.  Police are skilled at forcing you to confess or even slightly incriminate yourself.  You could still be hurting yourself even when you are denying that you committed the 3rd Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct.

RELATED: I’m facing CSC 3 charges.  Should I take a Polygraph?
RELATED: Click here for answers to the most frequently asked questions about Criminal Sexual Conduct in Michigan.

What exactly is Criminal Sexual Conduct 3rd Degree in Michigan (“CSC 3rd Degree”)? What is the definition of CSC Third Degree in Michigan?

PrainLaw, PLLC, established by Michigan criminal defense attorney Brian J. Prain, is a Criminal Defense firm that concentrates on defending those facing charges with an element of Assault, including Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Third Degree (also referred to as “CSC 3,” “CSC Third Degree,” “Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct,” “Third Degree CSC,” “Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Third Degree,” and other similar names for short).  At PrainLaw, PLLC, we commonly answer the question “What is 3rd Degree CSC in Michigan?

The Michigan CSC Third Degree law, MCL 750.520d, states:

(1) A person is guilty of criminal sexual conduct in the third degree if the person engages in sexual penetration with another person and if any of the following circumstances exist:

(a) That other person is at least 13 years of age and under 16 years of age.

(b) Force or coercion is used to accomplish the sexual penetration.  Force or coercion includes but is not limited to any of the circumstances listed in section 520b(1)(f)(i) to (v).

(c) The actor knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally incapable, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless.

(d) That other person is related to the actor by blood or affinity to the third degree and the sexual penetration occurs under circumstances not otherwise prohibited by this chapter. It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under this subdivision that the other person was in a position of authority over the defendant and used this authority to coerce the defendant to violate this subdivision. The defendant has the burden of proving this defense by a preponderance of the evidence. This subdivision does not apply if both persons are lawfully married to each other at the time of the alleged violation.

(e) That other person is at least 16 years of age but less than 18 years of age and a student at a public school or nonpublic school, and either of the following applies:

(i) The actor is a teacher, substitute teacher, or administrator of that public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district. This subparagraph does not apply if the other person is emancipated or if both persons are lawfully married to each other at the time of the alleged violation.

(ii) The actor is an employee or a contractual service provider of the public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district in which that other person is enrolled, or is a volunteer who is not a student in any public school or nonpublic school, or is an employee of this state or of a local unit of government of this state or of the United States assigned to provide any service to that public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district, and the actor uses his or her employee, contractual, or volunteer status to gain access to, or to establish a relationship with, that other person.

(f) That other person is at least 16 years old but less than 26 years of age and is receiving special education services, and either of the following applies:

(i) The actor is a teacher, substitute teacher, administrator, employee, or contractual service provider of the public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district from which that other person receives the special education services. This subparagraph does not apply if both persons are lawfully married to each other at the time of the alleged violation.

(ii) The actor is a volunteer who is not a student in any public school or nonpublic school, or is an employee of this state or of a local unit of government of this state or of the United States assigned to provide any service to that public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district, and the actor uses his or her employee, contractual, or volunteer status to gain access to, or to establish a relationship with, that other person.

(g) The actor is an employee, contractual service provider, or volunteer of a child care organization, or a person licensed to operate a foster family home or a foster family group home, in which that other person is a resident, that other person is at least 16 years of age, and the sexual penetration occurs during that other person’s residency. As used in this subdivision, “child care organization”, “foster family home”, and “foster family group home” mean those terms as defined in section 1 of 1973 PA 116, MCL 722.111.

(2) Criminal sexual conduct in the third degree is a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 15 years.

RELATED: click here for the definition of “Mentally Incapable, Mentally Disabled, Mentally Incapacitated, or Physically Helpless” in the Michigan CSC laws.

Definition of “Sexual Penetration” in Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct Third Degree cases

In Michigan, “Sexual Penetration” means:

1) Entry into the genital opening or anal opening by any part of the accused’s body, including their penis, finger, tongue, or some other object.  Any entry, no matter how slight, is enough.  It does not matter whether the sexual act was completed or whether semen was ejaculated;

2) Entry into the mouth by the accused’s penis. Any entry, no matter how slight, is enough. It does not matter whether the sexual act was completed or whether semen was ejaculated;

3) Touching of the Complainant ’s genital openings or genital organs with the Defendant’s mouth or tongue.

**Even though the Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct laws in Michigan seem to require “Sexual Penetration,” a person can still be convicted for things that really aren’t “penetration.”

RELATED: What is a “Rape Kit”?  Will they do a Rape Kit in my CSC case?

Definition of “Force or Coercion” in Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct, 3rd Degree cases

In Michigan, “Force or Coercion” includes (but is not limited to):

1) When the actor overcomes the victim through the actual application of physical force or physical violence.

2) When the actor coerces the victim to submit by threatening to use force or violence on the victim, and the victim believes that the actor has the present ability to execute these threats.

3) When the actor coerces the victim to submit by threatening to retaliate in the future against the victim, or any other person, and the victim believes that the actor has the ability to execute this threat. As used in this subdivision, “to retaliate” includes threats of physical punishment, kidnapping, or extortion.

4) When the actor engages in the medical treatment or examination of the victim in a manner or for purposes that are medically recognized as unethical or unacceptable.

5) When the actor, through concealment or by the element of surprise, is able to overcome the victim.

RELATED: Can I argue consent as a defense to my Third Degree CSC charges?
RELATED: What is a child forensic interview in Criminal Sexual Conduct cases like CARE House of Macomb County and Kids Talk in Wayne County?

A Criminal Sexual Conduct Third Degree conviction requires LIFETIME registration as a Sex Offender – the Michigan Sex Offenders Registration Act…

Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct in Michigan under MCL 750.520d is a Tier 3 offense.  If you are convicted of 3rd Degree CSC, you are required to register for your ENTIRE LIFETIME on the public Michigan Sex Offender Registry (click here to see the online Registry).

There is an exception for those charged after July 1, 2011 where the victim consented and was between the ages of 13 and 16, and where you were no more than 4 years older than the victim (part of the Michigan “Romeo and Juliet” law).

If you are convicted of CSC 3, you will sign paperwork within days during an interview with an officer of the Michigan Department of Corrections.  As of that date, you would officially be a publicly registered sex offender.  For the rest of your life, if you’re on the public Sex Offender Registry, any person in the world would be free to go on the Michigan State Police site and find out that you are a convicted sex offender by searching either for your name specifically, or for all registered sex offenders within a certain area. As a registered sex offender, you will be prohibited from residing, working, or loitering within 1000 feet from any school property, known as a “Student Safety Zone” (with exceptions for students living with parents);

Four times per year, you would be required to “report” or “verify.”  You would have to notify the proper law enforcement agency immediately if you do any of the following:

Failure to register, report, and comply with the Sex Offenders Registry Act is a serious crime itself.  This is reason alone to aggressively defend a Michigan CSC 3 charge.  

Required DNA, HIV/AIDS, and STD testing for Third Degree Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC 3)

Anyone facing a Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct charge in Michigan will be forced to undergo sampling and testing.  Your DNA will be taken as soon as you are arrested.  Every single time a a criminal complaint is made (anywhere in the US) where DNA evidence is taken, your DNA will already be in the database for comparison as a possible suspect.  This database, the Combined DNA Index System (or “CODIS” for short), is run by the FBI.  While you are being booked into custody for the CSC 3 charge, Police will take a “buccal swab,” a Q-tip swiped on the inside of your cheek.  It will then be sent to the Michigan State Police Forensic Crime Lab like the one in Northville, Michigan, where a technician will extract your DNA from specific “loci” on your DNA strand. When any type of biological sample is collected in any criminal investigation across the United States, it will be compared to your DNA, every time.  It does not matter whether DNA evidence was collected in the actual investigation.  In July, 2015, the Michigan CSC law requiring DNA profiling for those arrested for crimes was expanded to include more individuals.    

Click here to learn even more about Michigan’s new, tougher DNA profiling law.

At the Preliminary Exam, if your Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct charges are bound over to the Circuit Court, the District Court will enter an Order requiring you to submit to HIV/AIDS and STD testing if there is reason to believe the alleged act involved sexual penetration or exposure to bodily fluids.

RELATED: Can DNA evidence be used in Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct cases?
RELATED: How can I be charged with Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Third Degree when my accuser has changed their story?

Does the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (“HYTA”) apply to Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct?

No, you cannot get HYTA for Criminal Sexual Conduct 3rd Degree (or Attempt or Conspiracy to commit CSC 3) in Michigan UNLESS the alleged victim is at least 13 years old and less-than 16 years old.  Even if you do get HYTA, you can still get Jail or Prison.

The Michigan Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, MCL 762.11, normally allows a young person between age 17 and 24 at the time of the offense to plead guilty without having a conviction on their record.  But because of the seriousness of CSC 3, paragraph (2)(d) of HYTA specifically says it does not apply unless the alleged victim is at least 13 but less-than 16 years old, and there’s still no guarantee you’ll get HYTA.  Unless you get HYTA, if you are convicted, you’ll have a public conviction on your record.  A Criminal Sexual Conduct 3rd Degree charge must be fought aggressively by an attorney.

But this does not mean that a person charged with 3rd Degree CSC can never get HYTA.  It only means that if you were between ages 17 and 24 at the time of the alleged offense, and if that one special exception doesn’t apply, you’ll need to plead to a lesser offense to get HYTA.  Whether to allow HYTA in a particular case is entirely up to the Judge if you were at least 17 but under 21 at the time of the alleged offense.  If you were between 21 and 24 years old, the Prosecution must also agree.  Either way, whether to offer a lesser plea down from Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Third Degree to something else that allows HYTA in the first place is always completely up to the Prosecution.  

Perhaps the biggest advantage to getting HYTA is that you would not have to register as a sex offender.  If the facts of your case aren’t looking so good, HYTA can be a great option.  But overall, the best way to deal with any Criminal Sexual Conduct charge is to go to trial and be found NOT GUILTY.  

What is the Sentence for Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC 3) in Michigan? Will I go to Jail or Prison for Third Degree CSC in Michigan?

The Michigan 3rd Degree CSC law makes it punishable by “imprisonment for not more than 15 years.”  The maximum penalty is increased up to LIFE if you are charged as an Habitual Offender.  

If you are convicted of Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct under MCL 750.520d, you are most likely going to Jail or State Prison.  Your actual Sentence will be calculated according to the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines, which factor in your criminal history and the circumstances of this new CSC 3 case.    Under the Sentencing Guidelines, CSC 3 is a “Class B” crime against a person, essentially meaning that lengthy incarceration is inevitable upon conviction.   

RELATED: Can I really be charged with Third Degree CSC if the only evidence is the accusation itself?

Yes, this is all very scary, but you must stay positive.  Instead of focusing on how much Jail or Prison time you could get, it is far more beneficial to focus on aggressively fighting Criminal Sexual Conduct 3rd Degree charges by hiring the right Lawyer.

At PrainLaw, PLLC, we concentrate on defending those accused of Assaultive crimes, including Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct under MCL 750.520d.  Get real answers NOW from Michigan CSC Defense Attorney Brian J. Prain! Call us anytime at (248) 763-0641 or (844) CRIM-HELP.

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