Detroit Sex Crimes Attorney - Definition of "Sexual Contact"

Second Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct in Michigan (also called Second Degree CSC, CSC 2, and other terms for short) is a criminal charge that can land you in Prison for up to 15 years and even put you on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry (SORA) for up to LIFE as a Tier 1 offender. Michigan Fourth Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct charges are very similar in nature, but less serious in terms of the penalties, Sex Offender Registration, and other factors. Like Second Degree CSC, Fourth Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct is often referred to for short by "Fourth Degree CSC," "CSC 4," and the like.

Last week, Prain Law, PLLC published an article on the definition of Sexual Penetration in Michigan CSC laws. Here, in this companion article, Detroit Sex Crimes Attorney Brian J. Prain discusses the definition of Sexual Contact contained within the Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct laws. Understanding the definition of Sexual Contact in Michigan is essential to understanding both Criminal Sexual Conduct 2nd Degree and Criminal Sexual Conduct 4th Degree, because both of these crimes use these terms.

Michigan CSC charges are broken down into basic "Degrees" (click each link below to visit our Main Page for each Degree):

RELATED: Read about Detroit Criminal Sexual Conduct Attorney Brian J. Prain's amazing record of recent verdicts of NOT GUILTY of Criminal Sexual Conduct (2019).

Understand that the Degrees of CSC in Michigan only represent some of the broader category of Michigan Sex Crimes. Other Michigan Sex Crimes include Assault With Intent to Commit Sexual Penetration, Gross Indecency, Accosting a Minor for Immoral Purposes, and others. Click here to visit our Michigan Sex Crimes Main Page.

The difference in the Degrees of Criminal Sexual Conduct under Michigan law depend on what facts make up the alleged unlawful sex act. Some allegations of unlawful sexual conduct include claims of what Michigan law defines as "Sexual Penetration" versus only alleged "Sexual Contact."

When "Sexual Penetration" is alleged under circumstances making it unlawful, the charge would be CSC 1st Degree or CSC 3rd Degree. To the contrary, when unlawful "Sexual Contact" (without any penetration) is alleged, the charge would be CSC 2nd Degree or CSC 4th Degree.

The first definition of "Sexual Contact" under Michigan law is phrased in terms of what it "includes," and is contained right in the Michigan CSC laws, MCL 750.520a(q):

"Sexual contact" includes the intentional touching of the victim's or actor's intimate parts or the intentional touching of the clothing covering the immediate area of the victim's or actor's intimate parts, if that intentional touching can reasonably be construed as being for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification, done for a sexual purpose, or in a sexual manner for:
  • (i) Revenge.
  • (ii) To inflict humiliation.
  • (iii) Out of anger."

But there is more. The definition of "Sexual Contact" in Michigan exactly as it would be read to a Jury in a real Criminal Sexual Conduct trial is contained in the Michigan Criminal Jury Instructions. This is the more specific and important definition of Sexual Contact to know. The Michigan Criminal Jury Instructions for CSC 2 and CSC 4 define "Sexual Conduct" in this way:

"First, that the defendant intentionally touched the Complainant's (or made the Complainant touch, or permitted the Complainant to touch, if underage) his or her genital area / groin / inner thigh / buttock / (or) breast, or the clothing covering that area.
Second, that this was done for sexual purposes or could reasonably be construed as having been done for sexual purposes."

As you can see, the Prosecution must prove that the alleged sexual contact was done for sexual purposes, or in a way that reasonable people (i.e. Jurors) could look at and believe beyond a reasonable doubt was done for sexual purposes - accidental touching or touching of these areas for some other purpose (i.e. rendering legitimate medical treatment, or helping someone who has fallen etc.) will not support a conviction for CSC Second Degree or CSC Fourth Degree based on alleged "sexual contact" under Michigan law.

RELATED: Being investigated for Criminal Sexual Conduct in Michigan? Click here to learn how to AVOID JAIL.

RELATED: Click here to learn about the definition of Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct in Michigan.  

Are you or someone you know being accused of CSC or other Sex Crimes in Michigan? If you are, the simple truth is that every move is critical, and choosing the wrong Defense Lawyer is a mistake that could cost you everything. Don't waste time with the endless Lawyers who'd say anything to get your money, but lack the skills and proven track record to really get you out of this mess.

A large percentage of the calls we get a Prain Law, PLLC are from those facing CSC charges who are terrified because they've come to realize that the Attorney they hired simply doesn't pack the goods to go all the way.

Don't be that guy. Instead, contact Detroit Criminal Sexual Conduct Attorney Brian J. Prain first. Prain Law, PLLC has a policy never to pressure anyone or make them feel uncomfortable. There is no obligation unless and until you decide. You'll see right away that Brian is NOT the typical Defense Lawyer. Brian has beat the odds countless times to deliver verdicts of NOT GUILTY of CSC and given his clients their lives back. Here's just a very small sampling of the professional recognition Brian has received for his work:

For CSC Defense, contact Prain Law, PLLC at (248) 731-4543 or by email using our Contact Form.


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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.