Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct Sentence in Michigan

Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct in Michigan under MCL 750.520d is punishable by up to 15 years in Prison and LIFETIME public registration as a sex offender on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry (the maximum sentence is increased for a person charged as an Habitual Offender).

But that does not mean that if a person is convicted of Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct (called "CSC 3" for short) , the Judge simply picks any number they feel like between 0 and 15 years. For felony crimes, Michigan has Sentencing Guidelines that restrict the sentence based on criminal history and the facts of the case. Applying the Sentencing Guidelines to Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct in Michigan is extremely complicated, and your Criminal Sexual Conduct attorney and the Prosecutor will likely disagree about the proper scoring of the Guidelines. But here is a brief overview of how the Michigan Sentencing Guidelines apply to CSC 3...

Every felony is assigned a "type" based on its nature and a "class" based on it's seriousness (A - H). Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct is a "Class B" crime "against a person," the second most serious crime class, excluding Murder. The first step is to score the seven Prior Record Variables, or "PRVs," which include things like prior adult and juvenile felonies and misdemeanors, pending charges, and current sentences being served (i.e. if the accused is on Probation at the time they were accused of Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct). The PRVs are all added together for a "PRV total" which is converted into a "PRV level from A (least serious) through F (most serious). Many clients we represent at Prain Law, PLLC have a no criminal history, and therefore a PRV level of "A."

Next, there are 20 Offense Variables , or "OVs," which rack up points for different aspects of the alleged crime (from the standpoint of assuming the crime actually occurred). For example, OV 1 gives points for "aggravated use of a weapon," which is not typically present in Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct (or it would be charged as First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct or Second Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct) . The OVs that are most important for Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct are: OV 3 "physical injury to victim"; OV 4 "psychological injury to victim"; OV 10 "exploitation of vulnerable victim"; and OV 11 "criminal sexual penetration." Just like the PRVs, the OVs are added up for an "OV total" and an "OV level."

Finally, the PRV level and the OV level are placed on the "Sentencing Grid" for Class B Offenses. Like a supply and demand graph, the PRV and OV totals are put on different sides of the Grid and they meet in one square called a "cell." The cell gives the minimum amount of months in Jail or Prison, and a maximum. For example, "0 to 18 months," or "36 to 60 months."  If the Judge picks a number in that range of 12 months or less, you would serve exactly that many months in Jail (minus good time). If the Judge picks a number greater than 12, you go to Prison for at least that number of months. When that many months are served is the first Parole Hearing, where release can either be granted or denied. Denial after denial can continue for up to the 15 year maximum for Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct.

So if you go to Prison, it is the Parole Board, not the Judge who decides how long you stay in Prison. But the harsh reality is this: the very nature of a Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct in Michigan means that if you are convicted, the Sentencing Guidelines are going to add up to Prison time.

If you are looking for an aggressive, hardworking Criminal Defense Attorney to defend you against Sexual Assault charges in Michigan, call Brian J. Prain of Prain Law, PLLC anytime at (248) 731-4543 for a free consultation. Brian has been nationally ranked as a Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorney Under 40 by the NACDA, Top 40 Trial Lawyers Under 40 by The National Trial Lawyers, and has been featured in HOUR Detroit and Super Lawyers Magazines. The consultation is free, the information is priceless.


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Prain Law, PLLC is focused only on the types charges featured on our website. This helps us deliver the decisive, effective advocacy for which our clients know us. We only serve individuals currently under investigation or who have a current case pending in court. Our firm does not represent injury victims, defendants who have already taken a plea or have been sentenced, or those seeking to expunge a criminal record. We do not respond to anyone who is not involved in a pending investigation or who has a court case for a type of charge we do not handle, but we wish you the very best of luck.