Criminal Sexual Conduct in Oakland County, Michigan

Criminal Sexual Conduct charges in Oakland County Michigan must be taken seriously - while all Counties Prosecute Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC) cases aggressively, the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office has a reputation for being particularly aggressive in their approach to Criminal Sexual Conduct cases.

Metro Detroit, Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney Brian J. Prain and his firm Prain Law, PLLC, specifically concentrates on defending those accused of Criminal Sexual Conduct in Michigan, and as mentioned Oakland County, Michigan is one of the Counties where CSC charges are prosecuted most incessantly. Like in any County, a CSC charge begins in one of the many District Courts throughout Oakland County, such as the 52-1 District Court in Novi, the 48th District Court in Bloomfield Hills, the 47th District Court in Farmington Hills, the 44th District Court in Royal Oak, and others. Eventually, assuming the case is "bound over" after the Preliminary Examination, the case will end up in-front of one of the Judges at the Oakland County Circuit Court, where it will likely either go to trial or resolve with a plea.

Under Michigan law, "Criminal Sexual Conduct" is the name given to most of the crimes that comprise broad category of Sex Crimes, including what used to be called "Rape" under common law in the old days. CSC in Michigan has four basic degrees of CSC:

Every Criminal Sexual Conduct charge begins as an investigation by Police. If you're reading this article because you've learned you've been accused of CSC (most likely by receiving a call from a Detective), consider yourself lucky because there are things you can do only at this stage (or not do, like speaking to Police, and arranging for a Walk-In Arraignment to avoid arrest and a high Bond amount) in order to prevent your CSC case from getting worse. Most readers, however, have already been arrested on a Warrant and arraigned by a District Court Judge or Magistrate, either live in-person or via video from Police lockup.

RELATED: How much will my Bond be for CSC?

Note that for First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct, you may actually be denied Bond, meaning that unless a custody hearing is successfully held under Michigan Court Rule 6.106 or a bail amount and conditions are otherwise established, you'd have to wait the duration of your CSC case in the Oakland County Jail. Assuming that is not the case, after you are arraigned, post Bond, and are released, the next Court date will be the Probable Cause Conference (PCC for short) in the District Court, which occurs by law within 7 to 14 days of your Arraignment, unless you waive that time period and the PCC is set further out in the future.

In an Oakland County Criminal Sexual Conduct case, the PCC is just a simple "check-up" for the case. The main thing that happens at the PCC is that this is usually when the assigned Oakland County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney hands over hard copies of the initial "Discovery packet" to your CSC Defense Attorney. In Oakland County, this Discovery packet has a pink cover sheet which is a "Proof of Service," followed by a copy of the main Police Report and a few attachments, such as any handwritten Witness Statements. However, while many Attorneys believe this is all of the "evidence" in the case, this is just the tip of the iceberg...

In the case of a First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct, for example, involving a child Complainant, they will have undergone a forensic interview at the Oakland County Child Advocacy Center, known as CARE House. Your Defense Attorney will have to know enough to seek a copy of the video of all CARE House interviews under a special Protective Order (surprisingly, many Attorneys do not even know to ask for this crucial piece of evidence, which could form the basis of an expert witness opinion that could save your life). Likewise, while the initial Discovery packet may contain a 2-3 page Michigan State Police DNA Lab Report in cases where a SANE Examination / Rape Kit was performed (click here to see the SANE Form, MSP FSD-097), but most Attorneys are clueless to the fact that the Lab Report means little without the hundreds of pages of "underlying data" (complex charts, graphs, and electropherograms), essential for a DNA expert. These are examples of the types of reasons why some people facing CSC avoid Jail, while other innocent people walk the plank while their Attorney unwittingly holds their hand the whole way.

After the PCC comes the Preliminary Examination, which is an extremely important hearing. The Preliminary Exam in a Criminal Sexual Conduct case is an extremely important hearing. In-fact, the Preliminary Exam is like a "mini-trial" where the Prosecution must call their main witness or witnesses to the stand to show that there is "probable cause" for the case to move forward (a much lower standard of proof than the proof "beyond a reasonable doubt" required at a jury trial), and your Defense Attorney will need to spend serious time planning to cross-examine them. The Defense may even Subpoena and call witnesses of their own, most often Police Officers and Prosecution-friendly witnesses at this early stage. Many Attorneys (out of pure laziness or inexperience, choose to simply have you waive the Preliminary Exam). This is taking the "easy road" for them, but it is most often a waste of the one opportunity to make an impact in your case in a trial-like setting prior to actually having to go to trial. However, the two main scenarios that do sometimes justify waiving the Preliminary Exam instead of holding it are: a) where the CSC charges may be increased to more serious charges or additional "Counts" of CSC added; and/or b) where there is a substantial risk that your Bond could be increased. Take note that there are several District Court Judges in Oakland County who actually do sometimes increase the Defendant's Bond.

RELATED: Will Criminal Sexual Conduct charges be dismissed if the Alleged Victim doesn't show-up in Court?

RELATED: Can my charges be increased to First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct?

After the conclusion of the Preliminary Exam, if your CSC charges are not dismissed or reduced to Misdemeanor offenses only, your case will be "bound-over" to the Oakland County Circuit Court in Pontiac, where it will be assigned to one of the Circuit Court Judges. It is important to know your Judge! Once in Circuit Court, there will be a hearing called the Arraignment on the Information (AOI for short), where you will be served with a copy of the "Information" listing the remaining charges and usually a copy of any Habitual Offender Notice (a notice of intent to enhance your possible sentence based on prior felony convictions). In-front of the Judge, your Attorney will "waive" a formal reading of the Information and "stand [you] mute." The Court will enter a plea of Not Guilty for you.

The remainder of a Criminal Sexual Conduct case in Oakland County Circuit Court after AOI but before trial consists of a series of hearings loosely defined as Pretrial Conferences, which are opportunities for the Defense and Prosecution to enter into a plea deal which avoids trial and ideally gives you certainty about what would be on your criminal record (i.e. pleading to a less-serious charge), what your sentence would be (i.e. "will I go to Jail or Prison for CSC?", "will I get Probation?"), and what the collateral consequences would be, such as Sex Offender Registration (SORA). These are all good things, but you should know two things in particular at this stage about Criminal Sexual Conduct in Oakland County Michigan: 1) rather than make a plea offer to you like they may in Wayne County, the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office may ask you to suggest a pea offer to them, which they will take to their supervisors for approval; and 2) any plea offer having a realistic chance of being approved by the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office is likely to be unappealing to an innocent person, as it will likely involve a term of years in Prison. The fact of the matter is that many Criminal Sexual Conduct cases in Oakland County have to go to trial to get justice. To secure a plea deal that is actually desirable takes considerable effort and knowledge by your CSC Defense Attorney.

Also during this time in Circuit Court, it is critical for your Attorney in a Criminal Sexual Conduct case to have the specialized knowledge to draft, file, and conduct hearings on some important and unique Motions, which may include: a Motion to Admit evidence of your accuser's past sexual conduct under the Michigan Rape Shield Law (these have very specific deadlines many Attorneys aren't aware of, as well as prior false allegations of Sexual Assault by the accuser; Motions to admit or exclude certain evidence at trial (called a "Motion in Limine"); Motions to Compel Discovery; and Motions or Objections to exclude evidence of alleged "Other Acts" of Sexual Assault under MCL 768.27a or MRE 404(b) in cases where another accuser arises, possibly as a consequence of the "Me Too Movement." Some of these Motions require Evidentiary Hearings where witnesses testify, almost like another "mini-trial" based around the issue raised in the Motion.

During this time in Oakland Circuit Court, if a plea deal is reached, it may include a Sentence Agreement between the Defense and Prosecution for a specific sentence or sentence range, or it may involve a Cobbs Agreement / Cobbs Evaluation, where the Judge participates and offers up a proposed sentence, with or without a plea agreement with the Prosecution for a reduced charge. If a plea deal is reached, it is made official first on paper in a plea form called "People's Exhibit No. 1" and then on "on the record" by you standing in-front of the Judge with your CSC Defense Attorney, pleading "no contest" or "guilty," in which case you'll need to provide a factual basis for the plea, meaning you have to state in open Court what you (allegedly) did that makes you guilty. You and your Attorney will then fill out the Oakland County Probation Referral Form, and then the two of you you will bring it directly to the Circuit Court Probation Department and schedule a pre-sentence interview with a Probation agent, at which time any Sex Offender Registration will be completed.

If no plea deal is reached, your CSC case will eventually go to trial, where hopefully (with the right advocacy from your Attorney), you'll be found NOT GUILTY of Criminal Sexual Conduct, your Bond will be returned, and you can begin the process of moving on with your life. If you are found guilty, or if you took a plea deal, then there will be a CSC Sentencing hearing in the future where the Judge will formalize any plea and/or Sentence Agreement, or else your Attorney will advocate for the best possible Criminal Sexual Conduct Sentence.

RELATED: CLICK HERE FOR ANOTHER ARTICLE ON THE MICHIGAN CRIMINAL SEXUAL CONDUCT COURT PROCESS, GENERALLY (ALL COUNTIES).

Here are just a few of the many Oakland County Courts where Prain Law, PLLC handles Criminal Sexual Conduct charges:

If you or someone you know is facing charges of Criminal Sexual Conduct in Oakland County Michigan, contact Prain Law, PLLC immediately at (248) 731-4543 or via email with our Contact Form. You can hire a "Jack of all trades," or someone like CSC Defense Attorney Brian J. Prain of Prain Law, PLLC, where our focus is specifically concentrated on defending those accused of Criminal Sexual Conduct in Michigan. Attorney Brian J. Prain has been recognized as one of the best Attorneys in Michigan in far too many ways to list, but including: D Business Top Lawyers for 2019 and 2020; one of the 19 Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in Detroit by Expertise.com; one of the Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorneys in Michigan by the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys; one of the Top 100 Criminal Defense Attorneys in Michigan by The National Trial Lawyers, featured in Super Lawyers Magazine, and more.

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