CSC Lawyer – Most Frequently Asked CSC Questions Answered

Michigan CSC Attorney

Brian J. Prain, Criminal Defense Attorney at PrainLaw, PLLC, takes pride in vigorously defending those accused of Criminal Sexual Conduct in Michigan.

In this article, Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct Defense Attorney Brian J. Prain of PrainLaw, PLLC answers some of the most common questions asked by those facing CSC charges in Michigan.  Don’t see the answer you need below?  Call PrainLaw, PLLC at (844) CRIM-HELP or reach Brian directly at (248) 763-0641.  Let’s jump right into the Q and A…   

Will I go to Jail or Prison for CSC in Michigan?   

You will only go to Jail or Prison if you are convicted of CSC in Michigan.  If you are actually convicted of First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct, Second Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct, or Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct in Michigan, you are likely to end up in Prison under the scoring of most Sentencing Guidelines.  A Conviction for Fourth Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct is more likely to carry a County Jail sentence.  But there’s a difference between being charged and convicted.  Being charged with CSC in Michigan means you’re facing an unproven CSC accusation.  Being convicted of CSC means you’ve either given a plea or been found guilty at trial – after going through the entire process.  If you’re reading this article, chances are you’ve only been charged with CSC.  Remember – you’re innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  The importance of hiring a Criminal Sexual Conduct Defense Attorney is to avoid ever being convicted of CSC.  For more information on the degrees of CSC in Michigan and the potential penalties, visit our Sex Crimes Main Page.    

How can they charge me with CSC based only on hearsay?  How can they charge me with CSC without any evidence?  

Understanding that being charged and being convicted are two completely different things, the sad truth is that you can be both charged and convicted of Criminal Sexual Conduct in Michigan based solely on your accuser’s words and claims without any corroborating evidence.  Many people mistakenly call this “hearsay,” but the testimony of a person about what they claim happened to them, even when it amounts to complete lies, is not “hearsay.”  The bottom-line is that you can be both charged and convicted of Criminal Sexual Conduct in Michigan without any DNA, scientific evidence, other physical evidence, eyewitnesses, video evidence, phone/text/computer evidence, or anything else other than your accuser’s testimony, and the Judge will instruct the Jury on that fact.  It takes a very skilled CSC Defense Lawyer to get around this problem.  For more information and to read the actual laws that apply, read our article Can I be Convicted of CSC Based on Hearsay? 

Should I waive the Preliminary Exam in a CSC case?  

Aside from hiring the right Criminal Defense Attorney and deciding whether to take a plea deal or go to trial, whether to hold or waive the Preliminary Exam in a CSC case is the biggest decision you’ll make.  Holding the Preliminary Exam and bringing valuable evidence to light can turn the prosecution’s CSC case against you on it’s head and literally save your life and future.  But making the mistake of holding the Preliminary Exam in the rare case where it should have been waived could take your 15-year maximum Third Degree CSC or Second Degree CSC charge and leave you facing multiple counts of First Degree CSC LIFE offenses, possibly even wth mandatory 25 year minimum sentences.  If an ignorant CSC Defense Attorney fails to recognize whether this possibility exists in your case, it could cost you everything – and don’t expect to rely on the Court of Appeals for help.  Every case should be evaluated individually, but our general policy at PrainLaw, PLLC is to always HOLD the Preliminary Exam unless there is a legitimate reason not to.  Many Criminal Defense Attorneys simply waive the Preliminary Exam because they are lazy.  Lack of work-ethic or the lawyer’s fear is never a legitimate reason to waive the Preliminary Exam in a CSC case.  For more information on why we usually recommend holding the Preliminary Exam in a CSC case, see our article Criminal Sexual Conduct in Michigan – Preliminary Exam.

Should I take a Polygraph in my CSC case?  Should I take a Lie Detector for CSC?  

If you are facing CSC charges in Michigan, there’s a chance that at some point (either before or during prosecution), you’ll be asked if you will submit to a polygraph exam.  At PrainLaw, PLLC, we tend to favor having our clients decline a polygraph for several important reasons.  One thing is for sure – you should never – NEVER – take a Police polygraph while you are being investigated, or at any time before you have hired an experienced and knowledgeable Criminal Sexual Conduct Attorney.  A CSC Attorney would tell you that it is actually very difficult to pass a Police polygraph even when you are completely innocent.  You would be sorely mistaken to believe that simply because you are innocent, you are likely to pass and there’s nothing to worry about.  In-fact, polygraphs are not even scientifically reliable enough to be used as evidence in court – so even if you take a polygraph and pass, that does not mean that you won’t be charged with CSC, and it does not mean that you won’t be convicted of CSC, either.  Even where appropriate, a polygraph examination should only be taken under a guarantee from the Prosecutors Office (not the Police) that a certain outcome will happen if you pass.  But before you take any polygraph, consult an experienced CSC Defense Lawyer.  To learn more, check out our popular article Should You Take a Polygraph in a Sexual Assault Case in Michigan?

Should I use the Public Defender in my CSC case?  I’m innocent anyway, so why spend money – the truth will come out once we get to Court…won’t it?  

Definitely not.  That may sound like an insult to public defenders – it isn’t (read on).  Court Appointed Attorneys (or “public defenders”) are there for those unfortunate Defendants who have no other choice but to use their services at public expense.  Our point is this: if you’re considering the question “Should I go with the public defender in my CSC case, or should I hire my own lawyer?“, then you do have a choice, and by definition, you definitely should not be using a public defender.  Many public defenders are phenomenal trial attorneys, but most public defenders themselves will concede that Michigan’s indigent criminal defense system is broken, and they are overworked and underpaid.  That means less time and fewer resources to fight for your life with, and you don’t get to pick who your public defender will be.  If you’re lucky enough to have a great public defender, the fact is that they still face many obstacles that privately retained attorneys do not.  Whether your Attorney is appointed or hired, completely innocent people get convicted of CSC in Michigan every day.  Our Prisons are filled with them.  Whatever you do, DO NOT make the mistake of thinking “I’m innocent anyway, it doesn’t matter who my Attorney is.  The Prosecution will realize and drop the charges…”, etc.  News and television are flooded with horror stories of innocent people stuck in Prison for Sex Crimes they did not commit.  Think about this and ask yourself a painfully honest question: “Am I really so lucky that that couldn’t possibly happen to me?”  Hire the best CSC Defense Lawyer you can afford.                 

How much does it cost to hire a top Michigan CSC Defense Attorney?  What is your typical retainer fee for a CSC case?  

When you’re facing the near-certainty of Prison time if your Criminal Sexual Conduct charge doesn’t go right, we know you’re going to hire the best defense you can possibly afford.  At the same time, we recognize that not everybody has $100 grand sitting around.  Like most Attorneys, we don’t publish our fees on the internet (although we do offer a free consultation for those facing CSC charges in Michigan).  When you pay an Attorney’s fee, you are buying their time.  Assuming the Attorney is honest and wants to win your case, you can look at their fee as one indication of how much time and effort they intend to put into your defense.  While you shouldn’t need to pay $100,000 or more for a great defense, you should seriously question the experience and intentions of any Attorney whose fee seems unusually low.  Do they dedicate their practice to Criminal Defense?  Are they intimately familiar with the unique issues in CSC cases, or will your freedom be a cheap learning experience for them?  We are competitively priced with other firms that actually understand the type of work involved in a CSC case.  It is uncommon to find an Attorney who is aware of what it really takes, for example, to defend a case with DNA evidence.  When it comes to hiring someone to protect everything that matters you when the State of Michigan is coming after it, look for maximum value.  In the legal world, you always get exactly what you pay for.                

At PrainLaw, PLLC, we specifically concentrate on defending those accused of crimes involving assault, including sexual assault and CSC crimes.  Criminal Defense Attorney Brian J. Prain, has been highlighted as one of the Top 20 Criminal Defense Lawyers in Detroit for 2016.  Brian was also named Top 10 Criminal Defense Lawyer Under 40 by both the NACDA and AIOCLA, Top 10 Trial Lawyer Under 40 by The National Trial Lawyers, Top 100 by The National Trial Lawyers, Premier 100 by the American Academy of Trial Attorneys, and one of the Nation’s Top 1% by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel.  Brian can be found in Super Lawyers Magazine and Hour Detroit Magazine.  PrainLaw, PLLC has consistently been named by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys as a “Ten Best Law Firm” for client satisfaction.