Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct Charges - Can I Really Avoid Jail?

Criminal Sexual Conduct in Michigan ("CSC" for short) is a charge that belongs in its own category, separate from all other criminal charges. As a Metro Detroit Criminal Defense Attorney concentrating on Criminal Sexual Conduct, every day I speak to multiple people facing prosecution for CSC.

Will I Face Jail Time? 

What I've come to learn is that most people accused of CSC want to know the answer to their number one concern: "Will I go to Jail or Prison for CSC? How can I avoid Jail or Prison for CSC?" Before they can even begin to think straight and confront all of the decisions that lie ahead, they'll want assurance that everything is going to be okay, and this is a fact that that'll need to be reaffirmed throughout the entire legal process.

Everyone charged with Criminal Sexual Conduct wants to feel that there is a way to very quickly navigate through the legal process and make a series of decisions that will, at a minimum, ensure that they won't be locked-up, and once that's addressed, then they'll begin to deal with all of the other concerns such as "Should I take a Polygraph if I'm accused of CSC?," "Should I hold or waive my Preliminary Exam in my CSC case?," and others. But is this a realistic approach? Here's the problem with it...

As with anything in life, desperation and fear make you highly vulnerable to predators. Who are we talking about? We're talking about the majority of those very Criminal Defense Lawyers you may be speaking with in hopes of getting that critical assurance and peace of mind in your CSC case. It's no secret, they all know exactly what you want to hear to make you feel good for the moment, and some of them are very effective at telling you whatever you want to hear just to get your money.

Every day at Prain Law, PLLC, about 50% of our calls from those accused or their loved ones seeking legal representation sound something like this:

"My son is being charged with Criminal Sexual Conduct. We hired the Criminal Defense Lawyer who handled my brother-in-law's DUI a few years ago, so we thought he'd do right by us. He told us he was familiar with the Prosecutor and the Judge, and that he'd 'talk to them.' He advised my son to waive the Preliminary Exam and he said we'd probably get a plea deal for Probation and no Jail at all because my son has never been in trouble before and the girl accusing him has issues. But after the second Court appearance, he started chasing his tune. The Prosecutor treated him like a dog, and he came off really wimpy - all the tough talk in the office disappeared. Now, he's talking about 3 to 15 years in Prison. Please help us, we're terrified!"

We get these calls every day, and these sad stories make me very upset. Most often, we can rectify the situation, but sometimes the poor decisions and completely backwards approach of these incompetent attorneys have caused irreparable damage, missed opportunities, and deadlines blown. The fact of the matter is, criminal sexual conduct charges are in a league of their own, and Criminal Defense Attorneys who are a "Jack of all trades" just trying to get their paws on your family's pocketbook often just don't have enough specific knowledge to handle the unique issues, such as Rape Kits and DNA evidence, child forensic interviews such as CARE House of Macomb County and Oakland County, and Kids Talk of Wayne County, Expert Witnesses, Rape Shield laws, and much more.

It's no offense to these lawyers, because if we had to handle a complex DUI case, we'd be clueless. Same goes for them when it comes to Criminal Sexual Conduct. But I also know a bad lawyer when I see one (or hear about one). And even if the lawyer's intentions are good, their genuine attempt to just say or do whatever will make you feel good at the outset can lead to big, irreversible mistakes and ultimately lead to down he path the very outcome you are seeking to avoid. It just kills me when I see someone charged with something a Capital crime like Criminal Sexual Conduct 1st Degree, a LIFE offense which even has a mandatory 25 year minimum sometimes, unwittingly putting their lives in the hands of an incompetent lawyer. It's like a ticking time bomb.

How We Defend Those Accused Of Criminal Sexual Conduct

At Prain Law, PLLC, we concentrate specifically on defending those accused of CSC charges and other sex crimes. We make it our goal to never "sugar-coat" anything or say things just for the sake of "getting the case" because when we do decide to represent someone: 1) we respect the fact that we have the life and future of another human being in our hands, which is a tremendous responsibility; and 2) our name and reputation is on the line with each and every case we handle. While number 1 is obviously of a magnitude far greater than number 2, we believe that there is absolutely no amount of money or other value that is worth putting either of those things in jeopardy.

So do yourself a favor and leave behind the trail of these broken promises and adopt the winning mindset from the very start. Better yet, don't ever let anyone steer you onto that path to begin with. To help you do these things, here is some brutal honesty from a top Michigan defense attorney:

  • At least initially, forget about trying to get a plea deal when you're charged with CSC. Focus everything on going to trial, even if you ultimately end up not having to. Why? Because these cases are prosecuted aggressively; this isn't the world of DUI charges and simple Assault and Battery misdemeanors. CSC charges are serious felony charges, and you're entering a battlefield and the State of Michigan has picked a fight with you. Entering this battlefield begging and praying for a plea deal would be like the USA responding to Pearl Harbor with a peace treaty. It's weak, and at war, the weak get taken advantage of.

  • Even if a lawyer tells you that they "know the Prosecutor," etc., if you're charged with First Degree CSC, Second Degree CSC, or Third Degree CSC, you are very unlikely to be offered any plea deal that doesn't include Jail time, Prison time, or Sex Offender Registration (SORA). Fourth Degree CSC might give you a slightly better shot because CSC 4 is the least serious.

  • Even if the Assistant Prosecuting Attorney assigned to your case likes your attorney and wants to do the right thing, plea offers in Criminal Sexual Conduct cases are usually determined at the supervisory level, and most Police agencies and Prosecutor's Offices are more worried about political implications of their decision and whether the alleged victim is satisfied with the resolution than they are with your future or getting to the truth.

  • If you do happen to eventually get a plea offer that sounds like something those bad lawyers like to promise when they're trying to get their hands on your money, it usually will only come as a result of demonstrating your genuine willingness to go to trial. Of course, not every case can be won, but even if you've got a great defense, it means absolutely nothing if the Prosecutor doesn't believe you'll go to trial anyway.

  • For the reasons above, rather than going into the game expecting that your lawyer is going to "talk to the right people" and get you some plea offer to Probation and no Jail, etc., and then being extremely disappointed when reality hits, you're far better off gearing up mentally to go all the way to trial from the very start, and if your genuine willingness to go to trial should happen to influence the power people to offer you something you're willing to accept, then that's a positive thing.

  • Don't listen to any lawyer who claims they know they can go do something or talk to people behind the scenes and get you some magnificent plea offer right out of the gates. It doesn't matter if you've got both F. Lee Bailey and Gerry Spence working for you - that just doesn't happen. And if the plea deal of your dreams does materialize, it'll likely be on the very day of trial when there's no question your CSC defense attorney has put hundreds of hours into your defense and the Prosecutor can see it. If a lawyer ever promises you an outcome like this, ask them if they'd be willing to put it in writing, and then count how many seconds go by before they start to back-peddle...

  • Finally, don't ever listen to any lawyer who tells you that Criminal Sexual Conduct cases are too hard to win at trial because of the way the world is now, because of the "me too movement," or that jurors automatically think you're guilty so you're "screwed" if you go to trial. If that's their experience, then that's a reflection upon THEM, not the criminal justice system. Michigan defense attorney Brian J. Prain regularly achieves jury verdicts of NOT GUILTY OF CRIMINAL SEXUAL CONDUCT for his clients. While the American system of justice has many flaws, it's still the greatest system in the world. Our experience is that when a defense attorney works hard, is honest, effective, and gets the truth out, jurors are eager to do the right thing. Having a trial isn't something designed to frighten you - remember, the right to trial by jury is your given Constitutional shield against an attack on your freedom by your government. Embrace it.

Lawyers can say whatever they wish about our Courts, but it's a beautiful and amazing thing when the government, with all of it's power and resources, bears down and sets it's sights on one, solitary citizen with the aim to destroy his life and take his freedom (perhaps forever), and they've got the power to do it, except that they just need that one little, final step: to get 12 ordinary people to buy what they're selling.

But that accused person stands up and says "No, you will not, I'll go to trial." And those 12 people hear the entire story, place everything on the scales, and they say "No, not on our watch - NOT GUILTY." And then this person who was up against the all-powerful government and Prosecutor who was so sure he'd be taken out the back door in handcuffs and chains and off to Prison forever walks right out the front door with me into the sunlight and fresh air. Experiencing that just once could fill up anyone's heart for a lifetime, and I've been fortunate enough to experience it many times. So don't let some coward make you believe that you're "screwed."

We could go on forever, but here's the point: don't let a shyster take you to the cleaners for a box of empty promises - rely on a real CSC Attorney who has knowledge you can take to the bank. If you're facing Criminal Sexual Conduct charges, even if it isn't me, just make sure you get a great CSC Defense Attorney who wants to do the right thing and knows what they're doing.

If you'd like to reach us, call Prain Law, PLLC at (248) 731-4534 or contact us via email. We'll put you on the right path.


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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.