Penalty for First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct in Michigan

Michigan First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct charges (CSC 1) are more serious than a Murder charge - that's the simple truth. Why? Because under the Michigan First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct law MCL 750.520b, First Degree CSC is punishable by "LIFE or any term of years" plus much more (see below).

Michigan Sex Crimes, called Criminal Sexual Conduct (or CSC for short), have four main "Degrees" - First Degree CSC, Second Degree CSC, Third Degree CSC, and Fourth Degree CSC. First Degree CSC is the most serious, while Fourth Degree CSC is the least serious.
RELATED: click here for our Criminal Sexual Conduct Main Page.

If you are convicted of 1st Degree CSC in Michigan, here is the official breakdown of the penalties you'll face in your sentence:
  • Imprisonment for LIFE or for any term of years (But does "LIFE" really mean LIFE? Click here for more detail on Life Sentences for First Degree CSC.)

  • Additionally, a mandatory minimum of 25 years if you were 17 years of age or older and the alleged victim was less than 13

  • LIFE without the possibility of parole if you were 18 years of age or older, the alleged victim was less than 13, and you have a prior conviction for Criminal Sexual Conduct upon someone under 13 (including Assault With Intent to Commit CSC Involving Sexual Penetration and Assault With Intent to Commit CSC in the Second Degree)

  • Mandatory LIFETIME electronic tether (for any CSC 1 conviction, regardless of any of the above)

  • The court at sentencing for CSC 1 may order any term of imprisonment to be served consecutively to any term for any other offense occurring as part of the same transaction (whereas concurrent sentencing is the normal default)

  • LIFETIME public Sex Offender Registration on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry (SORA)

Being a Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct Attorney, I find that even after people read the Michigan First Degree CSC law and the penalties it includes, they often still wonder "Will I go to Jail or Prison for First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct?", or "I know I could get life in Prison, but what's really going to happen to me? Can I plead it down or maybe just end up with Probation?" These are very natural questions, and the answers could occupy a large book, but we're going to try to answer them at a basic level here.

RELATED: click here to learn about the Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct Court Process.

Here's the honest truth n a nutshell: if actually go all the way to trial and are found guilty of First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct, you are going to end up in Prison, and you could end up there for the rest of your life. In some of our other articles and pages, such as our recent post on the penalty for Second Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct, we're written detailed descriptions to try and do everything we can short of a personal consultation to help you really dial-in what you'd actually be looking at in terms of sentencing if you were convicted. This has included lengthy discussions on the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines. And the Guidelines apply to CSC 1 just like any other crime, but they only determine the presumptive (suggested) range of months for the lower-end of your sentence. In other words, your Guidelines only give the Judge a mere suggestion about when your first Parole eligibility date is (the Early Out Date, or "EOD").

RELATED: Ive been accused of First Degree CSC. Should I take a Polygraph?

But because First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct is so serious, the minimum established by the Guidelines is of little value. So even though other, lesser CSC charges might justify a lengthy discussion of the sentence in a particular case, for CSC 1, you're better off to focus on simply beating the case. Your sentence if you are convicted will likely be just like what the First Degree CSC law MCL 750.520b states.

RELATED: Click here for a Quick Facts Summary for Criminal Sexual Conduct 1st Degree in Michigan (a real "cheat sheet" of important facts).

RELATED: What if a second accuser surfaces in my First Degree CSC case? Find out about CSC First Degree ant the "Me Too Movement."

So in order to assist you, here is a sort of "order of operations"- a set of goals you should aim to achieve with your Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct Attorney if you are charged with Criminal Sexual Conduct in the First Degree, listed from most successful to least successful:

  • Get your CSC charges dismissed. In all honesty, this is unlikely, and any lawyer who tells you otherwise is blowing smoke to get your money - plain and simple. However, if your CSC Defense Lawyer excludes this as a possibility in his or her mind, however slight, you'll never know what good may have come without proper effort in this direction.

  • Fight your case all the way and be found NOT GULTY of First Degree CSC. This way, there won't be any sentence at all. You simply collect your Bond money back (if you didn't use a Bail Bondsman), collect your things, and walk right out the door. The best way out is NOT GUILTY of First Degree CSC.

  • Plead down to a lesser charge that carries less-serious penalties, so that you're not exposed to these same, severe CSC 1 penalties at Sentencing.

  • Plead to a lesser charge or the original CSC 1 charge with either a Cobbs Evaluation directly from the Judge or with an agreement with the Prosecutor for a particular sentence or sentence "cap." These things open up a lot of possibilities, and if you've already spent time in Jail unable to post Bond, it is even possible, although rare, to plead down to a lesser charge and receive Probation with credit for time already served. This requires you to give something on your part, but in exchange, you'll eliminate uncertainty in your sentence.

RELATED: Will my Criminal Sexual Conduct charges be dismissed if my accuser doesn't show up in Court?

Hopefully, this article has given you insight and a little hope that, with the best Michigan CSC Attorney, you can get your life back and it is possible for everything to work out in your favor. Make no mistake - CSC 1 is a devastating accusation to have leveled against you. Call Prain Law, PLLC anytime at (248) 731-4543 for a free, no obligation, confidential consultation.

Metro Detroit Criminal Defense Attorney Attorney Brian J. Prain concentrates his entire life on helping those accused of CSC and Assault crimes. Brian was recently named in Top Lawyers for 2019 by DBusiness Magazine, one of the Top 21 Criminal Defense Lawyers by, and featured in Super Lawyers Magazine and HOUR Detroit, and one of the Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorneys in Michigan by the NACDA.

Need answers but unable to call? Fill out our e-mail Contact Form for a confidential, informative response now. Make the right choices and allow the doors of freedom to open for you or your loved one by choosing Prain Law, PLLC.

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