Hello there and welcome back. We opened a discussion in the previous article about what it means to be charged with statutory rape here in Michigan, and how an experienced sex crime defense attorney would defend against that kind of charge. As you can imagine, it’s a very tricky charge to fight, and requires a lot of experience and finesse.
In this next section we’d like to take a look at the most common approaches used by top sex crime defense attorneys when defending against these kind of charges (which are mostly called Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct charges here in Michigan.) So what should your first step be if you’re accused of consensual sex with an underage minor?
What should you do if you’re accused of statutory rape in Michigan?
Your first decision should be which lawyer you’re going to hire. Don’t make any other choices, like “should I deny it?” or “should I plead guilty?” And you should never make the mistake that many people make when accused of statutory rape, which is to admit to the sexual conduct on the grounds that “we love each other, so it wasn’t rape!” So, shut up and lawyer up. Never make statements to the police or anyone else.
Your only choice right now should be “which attorney am I going to hire to defend me?” Because once you’ve got a good attorney, all the other decisions can be made in an informed way, with the help and guidance of good legal counsel. (Which is critically important!) Don’t even think that all attorneys are of equal quality. They just are not. And don’t go with a court appointed attorney just trying to save money. Scrimping on money when your life is on the line is a horrible strategy. Hire the very best sex crime attorney you can afford.
What will my attorney do to defend me against statutory rape charges?
There are a couple of options your defense attorney has to defend you. One might be the marriage defense, and the ‘Romeo and Juliet’ defense. The one defense your attorney will not use is the “I didn’t know she was underage!” defense. Ignorance isn’t considered an acceptable defense in a Michigan criminal court. Just because a minor lied and said they were old enough, or they looked old enough and you assumed, isn’t going to help you beat this charge!
Marriage: Currently, a person can get married in Michigan at age 14, as long as they have the consent of their parents. This law has come under fire recently for promoting child abuse, however the law hasn’t changed yet. So if the person you had consensual sex with with your legal spouse, despite the fact that they are a minor, this might be a defense to statutory rape charges. The marital defense is a remnant of the marital rape exemption. However, there’s more to it than meets the eye. An experienced CSC defense lawyer will help determine if this strategy is right for your case.
Romeo and Juliet: The ‘Romeo and Juliet’ defense helps protect teens who engage in consensual sexual activity with other teens, from criminal charges and years on the sex offender registry. Michigan’s statutory rape law doesn’t exempt teens from prosecution for sexual penetration of any kind, but they’re protected from prosecution for other sexual activity, like sexual petting. However, if a teen is convicted of statutory rape in Michigan (Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct), they won’t be required to register on the publicly searchable sex offender registry. Instead they would have to register on a private database only accessible to law enforcement.
Start with a top criminal defense attorney and go from there.
Fighting statutory rape charges here in Michigan is a very serious endeavor, and the outcome of your case can impact the rest of your life in significant ways. So before you do anything else, make sure that you’ve chosen the right attorney to defend you. Because this first choice you make will affect every other aspect of your case as it progresses toward resolution.
With that in mind, if you or one of your children ever gets accused of statutory rape, whether you live in Lansing, Midland, Clinton County, Adrian or Grand Rapids, The Kronzek Firm can help. Our tenacious trial attorneys have spent decades defending the people of Michigan against sex crimes, and we have particular experience with this type of charge. So call 866 766 5245 (866 7No Jail) and get help from tough lawyers who know exactly what to do next.