Criminal sexual conduct is defined as any intentional sexual contact with another person without their consent. It includes both first degree and second degree offenses. In most states, a first degree offense is punishable by life imprisonment or death. A second degree offense can result in up to 10 years in prison. However, prosecutors have wide discretion in deciding whether or not to file charges or pursue harsher punishments based on the circumstances of each case.
What is sexual intercourse with a child?
Sexual intercourse occurs when a person has vaginal intercourse with another person who is under 18 years old. Depending on the state, this may be considered statutory rape (sexual intercourse with an individual who is under age 16). Sex between an adult and a child who was under 12 years old constitutes statutory rape (even if the child consents to sex). The age of consent for all other sexual activities varies by state, but it’s typically 18 years old for heterosexual relations and 16 years old for same-sex relations (though there are exceptions).
Sexual Assault & Consent
Sexual assault is a serious crime that can lead to devastating consequences. A conviction for sexual assault can have a life-changing impact on you, your reputation and your future.
Consent is the key element in all sexual activity. Consent means that each person involved has given clear permission to engage in a specific form of sexual activity at that time. Sexual activity without affirmative consent is rape. Consent cannot be given if a reasonable person would have known that the other person did not want to engage in the sexual activity because of age, size, weight, dress or other physical characteristics; because they were mentally or physically helpless; or because they were engaged in a current felony offense (such as domestic violence).
Consent should be ongoing throughout the sexual encounter; it cannot be assumed from one moment to another. If there is any doubt about whether consent was given, it must be assumed that no consent was given; therefore, any sexual activity must stop immediately.
Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC)
CSC is a broad term that includes a variety of crimes, including sexual assault and rape. It is important to understand the differences between CSC and other sex crimes here in order to get a better understanding of what your case may involve.
CSC differs from other sex crimes in several ways:
The victim does not have to be incapacitated for CSC to occur (although this may be the case with other crimes). The victim can be mentally or physically impaired, but it is not required that they be unable to give consent.
A person under 18 years old can commit CSC if they are at least 13 years old at the time of the offense. For example, if an individual is younger than 18 years old when they are sexually assaulted by another individual, they could be charged with CSC as long as they were older than 13 years old at the time of the offense.
CSC charges often carry higher penalties than other sex crimes because they carry additional punishment requirements (such as registration as a sex offender).