Criminal Sexual Conduct in Macomb County, Michigan

Criminal Sexual Conduct charges in Macomb County Michigan are unique. The Macomb County Prosecutor's Office takes an approach to CSC cases that can't fairly be called the most aggressive stand, yet the handling of Criminal Sexual Conduct in Macomb County is far from lenient. Although we don't know the actual statistics, there appears to be a comparatively large volume of prosecutions for Criminal Sexual Conduct in Macomb County.

Prain Law, PLLC is a Michigan Criminal Defense firm that specifically concentrates on defending those accused of Criminal Sexual Conduct in Michigan. While we defend the accused in CSC cases all across Michigan, the majority of our cases are in the Metro Detroit area, with a high percentage of them right here in Macomb County. Every CSC charge in Macomb County begins in one of the many District Courts within the County, such as the 41-A District Court in Shelby Township, the 41-B District Court in Clinton Township, the 42-2 District Court in New Baltimore, and others. When a CSC case is "bound-over" after Preliminary Examination in District Court, the remainder of the proceedings occur at the Macomb County Circuit Court in Mount Clemens.

Under Michigan law, Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC) is the modern name given to the broad category of Sex Crimes that used to be referred to simply as "Rape" and "Sexual Assault." Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct charges are divided into different "degrees" that include, but are not limited to, those crimes formerly known at common law as Rape and Sexual Assault. The most basic distinction depends on whether the charge involves "Sexual Penetration" versus "Sexual Contact."

CSC charges based on Sexual Penetration include:

CSC charges based on Sexual Contact include:

A Criminal Sexual Conduct case begins with a Police investigation by one of the many City or Township Police Departments in Macomb County, or, in some jurisdictions, by the Macomb County Sheriff's Department. In the case of a child accuser, Police may be contacted by the parent, grandparent, other family member, or someone like a counselor, therapist, teacher, or doctor as part of their mandatory reporting obligation.

Police do not (well,should not) directly interview a child accuser. Rather, they are scheduled for a child forensic interview at the Macomb County Child Advocacy Center, CARE House, where they'll be interviewed by a practitioner trained in the Michigan DHS Forensic Interview Protocol. Inexplicably and unfortunately, Macomb County CARE House does not audio or video record the interviews, country to the Protocol and other Counties. Most often, the accused learns of the investigation by receiving contact from a Detective asking them to come in for an "interview" (really, an interrogation) end perhaps, eventually a Polygraph.

RELATED: If you're accused of CSC, don't speak to Police! Even when you deny a false allegation, your words CAN hurt you.

RELATED: Tips to AVOID JAIL if you're being accused of CSC in Macomb County.

If you are being investigated for Criminal Sexual Conduct, we recommend that you retain an experienced Criminal Sexual Conduct Defense Attorney before any charges are filed. When the investigation is ongoing or when complete at the latest, the Police will present it the case to the Macomb County Prosecutor's Office, who will review the matter and determine what CSC charges, if any, will be brought by signing a Warrant for those charges. Once they do, the Officer in Charge goes before a Magistrate or Judge of the District Court and "swears out" the Warrant (tells the Magistrate what the case is about under oath). If the Magistrate finds "probable case" (a low standard), the'll "authorize" the Warrant, and thereafter, arrangements are made for your arrest and booking.

Having a CSC Defense Attorney hired already during the investigation, will not only prevent you from making critical mistakes that put people in Prison, it can also prevent you form ever being arrested and embarrassed at home, at work, or anywhere else by scheduling a "Walk-in Arraignment." If you wait to hire your Defense Attorney, you may eventually be arrested by surprise and brought before a Judge or Magistrate for Arraignment without an Attorney, which could result in you having to post a higher Bond amount to get out of Jail - money you'd much rather spend on your defense. n the case of First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct, you could be denied Bond altogether - which means you wait in the Macomb County Jail during your entire CSC case. A good CSC Defense Attorney can help prevent these things, and we have specifically found that many of the Detectives in Macomb County are very receptive and cooperative to having our office schedule a Walk-in Arraignment and not resisting a low Bond amount.

After Arraignment and posting Bond, the next Court hearing will be a Probable Cause Conference or "PCC" in the District Court, which is to happen by law within 7/-14 days of Arraignment. The Probable Cause Conference is a new form of hearing that went into effect in 2014, and is typically an uneventful Court appearance - just think of it as a early "checkup" on the status of the case, most often used for the Defense and Prosecution to discuss whatever discovery (evidence) still needs to be provided, such as Police Reports, DNA Lab Reports from Michigan State Police, and the CARE House transcripts. The Macomb County Courts tend to take a "laid back" and practical approach to the Probable Cause Conference.

Next is the Criminal Sexual Conduct Preliminary Exam in District Court, an extremely important hearing, which is essentially like a "mini trial" early on in the case. By law, the Preliminary Exam must occur within 5-7 days of the Probable Cause Conference, for a total of 21 days maximum after the Arraignment. This can sometimes be too much of a rush in a serious case, because the Preliminary Exam is crucial to the rest of the case, so we often prepare our clients to "waive the 21 day rule" to extend this period, and the Macomb County District Courts are typically understanding of this concern. This simple "waiver" of the time period should not be confused with the overall decision whether to hold or waive the Preliminary Exam in a Criminal Sexual Conduct case. Many Attorneys just advise their unwitting clients to give up, or "waive" their Preliminary Exam. But when they do this, they've thrown away a major weapon in their arsenal.

RELATED: Click here to learn more about a Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct Preliminary Exam.

At Prain Law, we strongly advocate holding the Preliminary Exam, and even Subpoenaing and calling witnesses that the Prosecution doesn't call. While there are some limited, legitimate reasons for waiving the Preliminary Exam, simply having a lazy Attorney who doesn't want to put in the hard work to properly prepare isn't one of them. Sometimes, the Macomb County Prosecutor has been known to make threats that if the Defendant doesn't waive their Preliminary Exam, they will ask the Judge at the end of the Exam to add additional charges (or "Counts") of CSC, or increase the severity of the charges, such as increasing a Criminal Sexual Conduct 3rd Degree charge to Criminal Sexual Conduct 1st Degree. But that depends on how the testimony comes out at the Exam and whether the Judge agrees or not. To the contrary, as your CSC Defense Lawyer, would be asking to have either all or some of the CSC charges dismissed or reduced to lesser charges, such as dismissing charges or reducing a CSC 2nd Degree to a CSC 4th Degree, or Assault With Intent to Commit Sexual Penetration or Accosting a Minor. However, because this Exam is only preliminary, rather than an actual trial, the Macomb County Prosecutor's burden of proof is rather low; "probable cause" as opposed to proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

At the conclusion of the Preliminary Exam, assuming there are still felony CSC charges remaining, the case is "bound-over" to the Macomb County Circuit Court, and the remainder of the hearings (and trial, if there is one) will be before one of the Macomb County Circuit Court Judges. The first hearing in Circuit Court will be the Arraignment on the Information (or "AOI"), the purpose of which is to re-arraign you on whatever CSC charges survive the Preliminary Exam. Then, there will be a series of Pretrial Conferences, or "checkups" on the status of the case. When it comes to the AOI and Pretrial Conferences at Macomb Circuit Court, most of the Judges have a policy of allowing the parties to "waive the record," which means the Attorneys discuss the case "off the record" in a conference room, and the contents of the discussion are memorialized on a form called the "Pretrial Order" without you ever having to appear in-front of the Judge in the Courtroom. This is good in the sense that it keeps you out of the public eye and reduces your stress, but if your Attorney fails to keep you informed of what occurs in the conference room, it could leave you feeling like your case is stalling without progress. This is different than CSC in Wayne County and CSC in Oakland County. However...

While your case is at Macomb Circuit Court at the Pretrial stage, a good Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct Attorney will be filing any necessary Motions in Limine, which are written requests for certain evidence to be either admitted or excluded at trial, if there is one. Motions in CSC cases often address matters like DNA or other scientific evidence, Rape Shield Motions and Objections under MCL 768.27a when a second accuser arises (common with the "Me Too Movement"), prior false allegations of Sexual Assault by the accuser, expert witnesses, and much more. Even if you reach a plea deal and don't end up having a trial, the outcome of Motions can either increase or decrease the bargaining power of the Defense or Prosecution.

RELATED: Click here for another, more general article about the Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct Court process (all Counties).

Eventually, after your case is in the Pretrial / Motion stage at Macomb County Circuit, the case will be set for a Final Settlement Conference (FSC), which you can think of in the following way: the FSC is like the Judge telling the Prosecutor to make their final and best plea offer, and telling you to decide whether you want to accept that offer or reject it and go to trial. Throughout the time the case is at Macomb Circuit, you may receive several, successive plea offers (i.e. they may get better over time, but every time you reject a plea offer, you risk that future offers could get successively worse). Plea bargaining takes solid advocacy and a tempered approach. The purpose of taking any plea deal is to give you certainty about: a) what will be on your criminal record, if anything; b) what your Sentence will be (either in the form of a Sentence Agreement with the Prosecution or a Cobbs Evaluation from the Judge); and c) what the other consequences will be, such as any Sex Offender Registration. Most of the Macomb County Circuit Judges are wiling to give Cobbs Evaluations in the interest of cases being resolved without trial.

If you accept a plea offer without a Cobbs Evaluation ("Cobbs Agreement") or Sentence Agreement in advance, you'll likely be sentenced within your Sentencing Guidelines. If you have an Agreement, then unless something goes wrong, you'll get that sentence. If you do NOT take any plea deal, your case will eventually go to trial before a Jury at Macomb County Circuit Court. Macomb County Juries have a unique character and composition all of their own, and they're usually really great people who want to do the right thing. Assuming you've got a skilled and experienced top Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct Defense Lawyer on your side and the truth of your innocence comes to light, you'll be found NOT GUILTY of Criminal Sexual Conduct, and you can begin to build your life again with a new appreciation for even the smallest things. At Prain Law, PLLC, it is our philosophy that if you're facing CSC charges in Macomb County, you should begin deeply thinking about and visualizing that relieving day right now.

But make no mistake - to help you turn that vision into a reality, you'll need the best Criminal Sexual Conduct Defense Attorney you can find, and NOT a "Jack of all trades" Criminal Defense Attorney. Any Attorney can talk a big game and take your money on false promises. But CSC cases simply have too many particulars that the "average" Criminal Lawyer to internalize. At Prain Law, PLLC, this is what we focus on. Attorney Brian J. Prain of Prain Law, PLLC has been named one of the Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorneys in Michigan by the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys (NACDA), one of the Top 100 Criminal Defense Trial Lawyers by The National Trial Lawyers, one of D Business Magazine's Top Lawyers for 2019 and 2020, one of the 19 Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in Detroit by Expertise.com, has been featured in Super Lawyers, HOUR Detroit Magazine, Crain's Detroit Business, and much, much more.

Here are some of the Courts where we handle Criminal Sexual Conduct in Macomb County, Michigan:

If you or someone you know is facing Criminal Sexual Conduct in Macomb County, Michigan, contact Prain Law, PLLC immediately at (248) 731-4543 or by e-mail via our Contact Form.

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