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Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct Statute of Limitations

Prain Law, PLLC is a criminal defense firm concentrating on representing those accused of criminal sexual conduct (CSC) charges in Michigan.

Here, our criminal sexual conduct lawyer, Brian J. Prain, answers a question we frequently get asked about the matter:

What is the statute of limitations for criminal sexual conduct in Michigan? In other words: How long after an alleged CSC act can someone be prosecuted? Can you be prosecuted for an allegation that is years, or even decades, old?

Statute of Limitations for Criminal Sexual Conduct

First, you need to know that Michigan sex crimes are divided into four degrees of criminal sexual conduct and include other sex crimes not listed in those categories. The Michigan statute of limitations for these sex crimes, or "sexual assault" charges, are contained in the Michigan Compiled Laws.

Our criminal sexual conduct attorney explains these statues of limitations and how long after the alleged offense an accused person can be prosecuted:

First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct (MCL 750.520b): The law states that "[a]n indictment for any of the following crimes may be found and filed at any time," meaning that there is no statute of limitations for First Degree CSC, and charges can be filed years or even decades after the alleged offense. This is important, because things that could be charged as a lower Degree of CSC can easily be increased to First Degree CSC just by alleging one additional fact.

Second Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct (MCL 750.520c) and Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct (MCL 750.520d): The statute of limitations for both degrees depends on the alleged victim's age at the time of the alleged offense.

  • If the alleged victim was under 18: "Within 15 years after the offense is committed or by the alleged victim's twenty-eighth birthday, whichever is later"
    • DNA Exception: "If evidence of the offense is obtained and that evidence contains DNA that is determined to be from an unidentified individual, an indictment against that individual for the offense may be found and filed at any time after the offense is committed. However, after the individual is identified, the indictment may be found and filed within 15 years after the individual is identified or by the alleged victim's twenty-eighth birthday, whichever is later"
  • If the alleged victim was 18 or older: "Within 10 years after the offense is committed or by the alleged victim's twenty-first birthday, whichever is later"
    • DNA Exception: If evidence of the offense is obtained and contains DNA that is determined to be from an unidentified individual, an indictment against that individual for the offense may be found and filed at any time after the offense is committed. However, after the individual is identified, the indictment may be found and filed within 10 years after the individual is identified or by the alleged victim's twenty-first birthday, whichever is later"
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Fourth Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct (MCL 750.520e); Assault With Intent to Commit Sexual Penetration (MCL 750.520g(1)); and Assault With Intent to Commit Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Second Degree (MCL 750.520g(2)): "Within 10 years after the offense is committed or by the alleged victim's twenty-first birthday, whichever is later"

  • DNA Exception: If evidence of the offense is obtained and that evidence contains DNA that is determined to be from an unidentified individual, an indictment against that individual for the offense may be found and filed at any time after the offense is committed. However, after the individual is identified, the indictment may be found and filed within 10 years after the individual is identified or by the alleged victim's twenty-first birthday, whichever is later"

Accosting, Soliciting, or Enticing a Child for Immoral Purposes (MCL 145a): "Within 6 years after the offense is committed"

Gross Indecency (All Types, Between Males & Females) (MCL 750.338, MCL 750.338a, MCL 750.338b): "Within 6 years after the offense is committed"

Indecent Exposure & Aggravated Indecent Exposure (MCL 335a): "Within 6 years after the offense is committed"

The word "identified" in the DNA Exception sections above means: "The individual's legal name is known and he or she has been determined to be the source of the DNA."

Statutes of limitations for rape, CSC, and other sex crimes charges vary from state to state. The statutes of limitations addressed in this article only apply in Michigan. Contact our sex crimes attorney to learn more about the statute of limitations for criminal sexual conduct in Michigan!

We cannot give legal advice on out-of-state issues, but if you have a question about a statute of limitations for sex crimes in other states, visit the RAINN webpage "State by State Guide on Statutes of Limitations." RAINN is a national anti-sexual violence organization, and we support their mission, because defending the innocent and falsely accused is not at all in conflict with being against sexual violence.

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Criminal CSC vs. Civil CSC

These Michigan statutes of limitations only apply to criminalsexual conduct, meaning cases in which the government is bringing criminal charges for CSC against someone in criminal court and the accused is facing the loss of their liberty, Sex Offender Registration, and other consequences.

This is completely different than a civil lawsuit alleging CSC, which is a legal action brought privately by an alleged victim and their attorney, where they are seeking money ("called damages"). In a civil lawsuit, Michigan is not involved as a party, and there are no criminal penalties. The statute of limitations for criminal sexual conduct alleging sexual assault in this case may be 2, 3, or 5 years depending on the details of the case and the relationship of the people involved (including married individuals and dating relationships). However, there may be both a criminal prosecution and a civil lawsuit arising out of the same alleged act(s).

We Can Help Fight Your Criminal Sexual Conduct Charges

Our criminal sexual conduct lawyer does NOT represent alleged victims or handle civil cases in any way; we only represent the accused in criminal proceedings that are currently in court. Please do not contact us on behalf of an alleged victim.

When you retain our experienced representation for your CSC case, you can count on our Detroit sex crimes attorney to work tirelessly to fight for your best interests. Our single focus on criminal sexual conduct cases could improve your chances of seeing a favorable outcome because we are not distracted by the interference of unrelated case matter. Our primary concern is your freedom.

IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS FACING CHARGES FOR CRIMINAL SEXUAL CONDUCT IN MICHIGAN, CALL (248) 731-4543 OR CONTACT OUR SEX CRIMES LAWYER ONLINE FOR YOUR FREE CONSULTATION.

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