A Breakdown of Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct
Our guest post today is from Michigan attorney James W. Burdick. Mr. Burdick specializes in complex criminal litigation, and in defending health care professionals in criminal, licensing, discipline and other administrative matters. He is widely regarded as a preeminent expert in trials, forfeiture litigation and post-conviction proceedings. You can visit his website at www.extraordinarylaw.com
Criminal sexual conduct laws in the State of Michigan are unnecessarily complex and violate every concept of legislative integrity. The statute is divided into several sections, including; criminal sexual conduct in the first degree, second degree and third degree, which are felonies. Criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree (mere “touching”) is a misdemeanor. The consequences for being accused of a Michigan criminal sexual conduct charge are literally life-altering and life consuming. Anyone charged with criminal sexual conduct in Michigan must therefore make certain that he or she has a lawyer who is a true expert in this field, not someone who “dabbles” in this type of case.
In addition, the Michigan legislature has sadly made certain that criminal sexual conduct charges, once made, are there for all to see, and forever. Even in cases where an individual charged has the same or similar name as the accused, the case is dismissal, or there is an acquittal, unlike for any other kind of criminal charge in Michigan, sex crime charges can never be wiped off public access. This is because, unlike virtually any other criminal charge in the State of Michigan, the law has no provision to allow the return of arrest records to the former defendant. For any other charge in Michigan, however, an erroneous prosecution or one which results in an acquittal (whether erroneous or not) allows the individual the absolute right to obtain return of all arrest and even fingerprint records, leaving only a “non-public” record in the archives of the Michigan State Police. In a CSC prosecution, however, there is no return or suppression of arrest and fingerprint records. They are public record for the whole world to see forever.
The legislature has also made certain that anyone convicted of a CSC crime will remain on the Michigan’s Sex Offender Registration Act (“SORA”) list forever (except in the case of a misdemeanor – then “only” for 25 years.
Thus, one of the most critical reasons a suspect needs a true expert criminal sexual conduct defense attorney, such as Shannon Marie Smith among only a very few others who limit their practice to these types of matters, is her vigorous involvement at the investigatory stage. In Michigan, the investigation process varies widely from police department to department, and from prosecutor’s office to prosecutor’s office – some good and some horrible. The expertise of a criminal sexual conduct practitioner is essential long before there is an actual prosecution, in order to investigate objectively and be able to demonstrate to the authorities that there is no legitimate basis to bring a charge. ..Continued..