Since Colonial times, American law has reserved some of its most severe penalties for those convicted of crimes involving sexual activity. Today, many types of consensual sexual conduct between adults that at one time in Michigan’s history would have resulted in a public whipping, time in the stocks or worse for one or both participants is no longer criminal. When one of the persons involved in sexual conduct is unable or unwilling to consent, however, Michigan law continues to deal harshly with the perpetrator.
Among these crimes are:
- Possessing or creating child pornography
- Criminal sexual conduct (non-consensual sexual contact with another person, which can occur with or without sexual penetration)
- Indecent exposure
- Statutory rape (sexual intercourse with a minor, even if not accomplished through force or coercion)
In addition to the likelihood of a jail sentence and stiff fines, if you’re convicted of one of these crimes, you will likely be required to register on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry List (SORA), commonly known as Michigan’s “Megan’s Law”. In short, you’ll be labeled a “sex offender”, with the lifelong stigma that carries. Moreover, you’re facing practical consequences that can also affect you for the rest of your life, including diminished employment opportunities, damaged personal relationships and even limits on the places you can choose to live.
Don’t Plead Guilty – Know Your Rights
If you’ve been charged with a sex-related offense – especially if it’s your first offense – the news may not all be bleak, however. Michigan law recognizes that some offenders can respond to treatment of the underlying problems that caused them to offend. If you’re one of these individuals, you may be able to qualify for a so-called “diversion” program designed to rehabilitate first time offenders. By successfully completing the program and any mandatory mental health counseling or treatment, you may be able to avoid the otherwise life-altering effects of a conviction or guilty plea.
Because these charges and the effects of a conviction are so serious, it’s essential to speak with an experienced sex crimes defense attorney as soon as possible after your arrest. The attorneys at Lucido & Manzella, P.C. have many years of successfully defending a wide variety of sex crime charges brought against residents of Macomb County and the surrounding area. We will help you weigh all your options, discuss possible defenses and review the likely consequences of a conviction or guilty plea.