One of the questions we get asked a lot by clients, especially our younger clients, is why they’re being charged with rape when they’ve never forced anyone to have sex in their entire lives. “I never forced her!” they tell us, “She was into it, I swear! Just ask her, she’ll tell you! Besides, why would I force her to do it if we’re dating and she wants to!?” It’s a good question especially if you think that sex was consensual. However, because Michigan has certain laws, the reality is that just because two people had sex they both consented to, doesn’t make it legal in the eyes of Michigan’s criminal laws.
Why would it be rape if we both wanted to?
Under Michigan law, the age of consent if 16 years. This means that anyone aged 15 and younger is not legally able to consent to having sex. And no, we don’t mean they aren’t able to give verbal consent, and then go ahead and follow through with the act. We mean that the law says they’re not emotionally old enough to consent or to know what’s best for them. For that reason, even if they agree to have sex with someone, they aren’t legally ready to make that decision, and so it doesn’t count.
Teenage sexual relationships are often illegal in Michigan!
It isn’t uncommon for a 14- or 15-year-old girl to have a relationship with a 16-, 17- or even 18-year-old boy. They care about each other, have fun together, and because they’re both teens, they enjoy the same things and understand all the same cultural references. Often, those relationships lead to sexual encounters that both of them agreed to. However, despite the fact that they’re dating and in love and both consented to any sexual contact they may have had, Michigan law says it’s rape (statutory rape) because one person in that relationship is below the age of consent.
There are situations where the age of consent goes up to 18!
There are specific situations where the age of consent actually goes up from 16- to 18-years-of-age. However, this applies when one of the people in the sexual relationship is in a position of authority over the other person. So this law wouldn’t affect two teens, aged 16- and 17-years. But it would affect a teacher, guidance counselor, or principal having a sexual relationship with a 16- or 17-year-old student, for example.
What’s the difference between ‘statutory rape’ and ‘rape’?
Here in Michigan we don’t use the term ‘rape’ or ‘statutory rape’ in our laws. All illegal sexual contact, whether there’s penetration or not, is referred to as criminal sexual contact, or CSC for short. Different levels of sexual contact, and specific sexual situations are divided into categories called degrees. Generally, when two teens have sex and only one of them is legally able to consent, this would be charged as Third Degree CSC, which means up to 15 years in prison and a lifetime as registered sex offender!
Don’t make the mistake of not taking this seriously!
If you or a loved one is accused of statutory rape, criminal sexual conduct, child molestation, or enticing a minor, even if the sex was consensual, you shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking this isn’t a big deal! Spending more than a decade in prison is a very big deal. Being a sex offender for life will have a terrible impact on your entire future! The Kronzek Firm can help you immediately by calling us 24/7 at 866 766 5245 (866 7No Jail) to get help from our aggressive, experienced sex crime defense team. Decades of experience fighting sex crime charges in the lower peninsula of Michigan is one reason that our firm is often called the best of the best, when it comes to criminal defense.