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Michigan Gross Indecency Attorney

What Is Gross Indecency Between Male and Female Persons in Michigan?

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A criminal conviction for Gross Indecency in Michigan is nearly impossible to come back from. Yet under Michigan law, gross indecency simply means committing sexual acts in a public place. If you are convicted of Gross Indecency in Michigan, you can be sentenced up to 5 years or higher in State Prison depending on certain circumstances. It is an extremely harsh law, one people often don't realize they are breaking.

Gross Indecency in Michigan is a Sex Crime, in the same category as degrees of Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC 1, CSC 2, CSC 3, and CSC 4). In most cases, a conviction for Gross Indecency between Males, Gross Indecency between Females, or Gross Indecency between Male and Female Persons will mean having to register on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry. The period of registration is dependent on several factors, including the age of the complainant. Sex offender registration begins after any Jail or Prison term has been completed.

DON'T TALK TO POLICE! If you are accused of Gross Indecency, there is a high likelihood the Police will attempt to speak with you. Someone has called the Police and claimed they witnessed you involved in a public sex act. In order to complete a case against you, the Police want you to admit it. YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT - and you should exercise that right - don't call the Police Officer back! Instead, speak to a Michigan sex crimes attorney immediately. Even if you deny it you could still say something incriminating (even admitting to being at the scene), and the Police can twist your words and send you to Jail.

RELATED: Should I take a Polygraph in my Gross Indecency case?

What is the definition of Gross Indecency in Michigan?

As previously mentioned, in the State of Michigan, "Gross Indecency" is basically committing a sex act in a "public place." The exception to this law is masturbation in the presence of a minor, which constitutes "Gross Indecency" even if it occurs in a private place.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of which sexual acts equate to gross indecency, directly from the Michigan Model Criminal Jury Instructions:

  • Entry into another person’s vagina or anus by the defendant’s penis, finger, tongue, or some other object. Any entry, no matter how slight, is enough. It does not matter whether the sexual act was completed or whether semen was ejaculated.
  • Entry into another person’s mouth by the defendant’s penis. Any entry, no matter how slight, is enough. It does not matter whether the sexual act was completed or whether semen was ejaculated.
  • Touching of another person’s genital openings or genital organs with the defendant’s mouth or tongue.
  • Entry by any part of one person’s body or some other object into the genital or anal opening of another person’s body. Any entry, no matter how slight, is enough. It does not matter whether the sexual act was completed or whether semen was ejaculated.
  • Masturbation of oneself or another.
  • Masturbation in the presence of a minor (whether in a public place or private place).

What is the definition of "Public Place" in Michigan Gross Indecency cases?

Under Michigan's Gross Indecency law, a public place is defined as any place where "a member of the public, who is in a place the public is generally invited or allowed to be, could have been exposed to or viewed the act."

Notice that it doesn't matter if anyone actually saw the alleged act - the law only requires that someone could have seen it. A person can be charged with Gross Indecency for an act that occurs in an empty park. It also doesn't matter whether the people involved consented to the act.

RELATED: What if the other person consented to the act? Is consent a defense to Gross Indecency charges in Michigan?

There are 3 different types of Gross Indecency in Michigan:

Gross Indecency Between Males, MCL 750.338

"Any male person who, in public or in private, commits or is a party to the commission of or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any male person of any act of gross indecency with another male person shall be guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 5 years, or by a fine of not more than $2,500.00, or if such person was at the time of the said offense a sexually delinquent person, may be punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for an indeterminate term, the minimum of which shall be 1 day and the maximum of which shall be life."

Gross Indecency Between Females, MCL 750.338a

"Any female person who, in public or in private, commits or is a party to the commission of, or any person who procures or attempts to procure the commission by any female person of any act of gross indecency with another female person shall be guilty of a felony, punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 5 years, or by a fine of not more than $2,500.00, or if such person was at the time of the said offense a sexually delinquent person, may be punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for an indeterminate term, the minimum of which shall be 1 day and the maximum of which shall be life."

Gross Indecency Between Male and Female Persons, MCL 750.338b

"Any male person who, in public or in private, commits or is a party to the commission of any act of gross indecency with a female person shall be guilty of a felony, punishable as provided in this section. Any female person who, in public or in private, commits or is a party to the commission of any act of gross indecency with a male person shall be guilty of a felony punishable as provided in this section. Any person who procures or attempts to procure the commission of any act of gross indecency by and between any male person and any female person shall be guilty of a felony punishable as provided in this section. Any person convicted of a felony as provided in this section shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 5 years, or by a fine of not more than $2,500.00, or if such person was at the time of the said offense a sexually delinquent person, may be punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for an indeterminate term, the minimum of which shall be 1 day and the maximum of which shall be life."

What is the definition of "Sexually Delinquent Person" in Michigan's Gross Indecency law?

The definition of "Sexually delinquent person" is found in MCL 750.10a:

"The term 'sexually delinquent person' when used in this act shall mean any person whose sexual behavior is characterized by repetitive or compulsive acts which indicate a disregard of consequences or the recognized rights of others, or by the use of force upon another person in attempting sex relations of either a heterosexual or homosexual nature, or by the commission of sexual aggressions against children under the age of 16."

A Gross Indecency conviction may require registration as a Sex Offender, according to the Michigan Sex Offenders Registration Act

The issue of Sex Offender Registration on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry is always best left for an individual consultation because every case is different, and many things can affect sex offender registration. In general, Gross Indecency can be either a Tier 2 or Tier 3 offense, depending on the age of the alleged victim and defendant.

  • If the alleged victim is under 13 years old, a conviction for Gross Indecency (all 3 types) is a Tier 3 offense requiring LIFETIME public registration and quarterly verification.
  • If the alleged victim is between 13 and 18, a conviction for Gross Indecency (all 3 types) is a Tier 2 offense, meaning you will be on the public Registry for 25 years and will have to "report" or "verify" twice each year. You cannot Petition for early removal. There is a limited exemption if the alleged victim is at least 13 years old but less-than 16 years old, and the age difference was 4 years or less (assuming the act was consensual). There is another limited exemption if the alleged victim was between 16 and 17 years old, and the accused had no custodial authority.

Any person can access the Michigan State Police website and find out you are a registered sex offender. As a registered sex offender, you would be prohibited from residing, working, or loitering within 1000 feet from any school property, known as a "Student Safety Zone" (with exceptions for students living with parents);

In addition to "reporting" or "verifying" (at various intervals, depending on which Tier you fall under), you would have to notify the proper law enforcement agency immediately if you do any of the following:

  • Enroll at any College or University, or discontinue enrollment;
  • Change your place of employment or quit or are fired;
  • Change your residence or domicile;
  • Change your name;
  • Establish any E-mail or Instant Message address or any other type of account used in internet communications or postings;
  • Intend to temporarily reside at any place other than your residence for more than seven days; or
  • Purchase or begin to regularly drive any vehicle, or if you sell, transfer, or stop driving the vehicle.

Failures to register, report/verify, and comply with the Sex Offenders Registry Act are crimes themselves. You must aggressively defend against Gross Indecency charges.

Can I get the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act ("HYTA") for Gross Indecency in Michigan?

It depends. Gross Indecency is not per se ineligible for HYTA, but there are some things you should know. If you get HYTA, you will not have to register as a sex offender. First of all, a person cannot get HYTA for an offense punishable by a maximum sentence of LIFE in Prison. Note a conviction for Gross Indecency in Michigan by a "sexually delinquent person" (defined above) is punishable by life in prison. Second, if the facts of the case make it such that it is a "listed offense" that requires sex offender registration (see above), HYTA is not available unless you can show by clear and convincing evidence that you are not likely to re-offend.Finally, if the case involves any act that is characteristic of 1st Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct ("CSC"), 2nd Degree CSC, 3rd Degree CSC, or 4th Degree CSC. Even if you do get HYTA, you can still be sentenced to jail or prison.

The Michigan Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, MCL 762.11, allows an accused young person age 17 to 21 (24 beginning in August 2015) at the time of the offense to plead guilty to the offense, but never have a conviction. Instead, the case is dismissed if the sentence is successfully completed.

What is the Sentence for Gross Indecency in Michigan? Will I go to Jail or Prison for Gross Indecency in Michigan?

The Michigan Gross Indecency laws makes it a felony punishable by "not more than 5 years, or by a fine of not more than $2,500.00." As mentioned above, for a "sexually delinquent person," the minimum penalty is 1 day in Jail and the maximum penalty is Life in Prison.

The actual incarceration time for Gross Indecency will depend on how the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines apply to each particular case. With the right Michigan sex crimes attorney fighting hard for you, even if you are technically guilty, you can get Probation for Gross Indecency.

This is scary, but rather than dwelling on the length of Jail or Prison time you could get, it is far more important to focus on how you will fight your Gross Indecency charges with the best Michigan Sex Crimes Lawyer.

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At Prain Law, PLLC, we are committing to defending those accused of Assaultive crimes, including Gross Indecency Between Male and Female Persons. If you are seeking real answers,  call us today at (248) 731-4543.

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