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Under Michigan law, the terms for rape, sexual assault, and sexual battery are all wrapped up in the same term: Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC). In other words, sexual battery doesn’t have its own charges or rules in Michigan. Instead, different sex crimes are divided into four degrees of CSC.

The degrees of CSC are divided into the following: 

  • First degree (felony): penalty includes life in prison and lifetime sex offender registration
  • Second degree (felony): up to 15 years in prison and sex offender registration
  • Third degree (felony): Up to 15 years in prison and/or sex offender registration. 
  • Fourth degree (misdemeanor): Up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $500.

Accidental sexual contact would almost assuredly result in fourth degree charges or second degree charges, as third and first degree charges require sexual penetration (which certainly does not happen accidentally). Fourth degree charges involve cases of sexual contact that involve force, coercion, or a victim who is unable to consent due to age, mental challenges, or being under the influence. 

Could someone be charged with fourth degree CSC after an accidental touch? Absolutely. Will it result in a conviction? It depends. 

Now, “sexual contact” is the key act in every degree mentioned above, and Michigan law defines sexual contact like this: “intentional touching of the victim’s or actor’s intimate parts or clothing covering those intimate parts for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification.” In other words, touching a person’s intimate areas, even by accident, could result in a third degree CSC charge, but there needs to be proof of intent. 

Does a Sexual Battery Charge Mean the End of my Career or Reputation?

A sexual battery charge is not the same as a conviction. In the end, a person can only be punished by the court based on the evidence presented. If you accidentally touched someone in an intimate area and they press charges, you may have to defend yourself in court. However, the prosecutor will need to prove intent, and if you only touched or grazed someone accidentally, it will be difficult to make the charge stick.

Regardless of how strong or weak the case may be against you, having a skilled attorney will only help your case. Not having an attorney at all could hurt you forever. The penalties of a fourth degree CSC conviction could cost you years of your life, and the penalties only get worse from there. 

To speak with a Farmington Hills sex crime defense lawyer, call me, Daniel D. Hajji, Attorney at Law. I offer free consultations at (248) 599-0054, and I’m available 24 hours a day. Learn your legal options today!

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