According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), one in five women and one in 71 men will be the victim of sexual assault during their lives. Furthermore, one in six boys and one in four girls will endure a sexual assault before turning 18.

If you or a loved one was the victim of any unwanted sexual act, it is important to understand the intersection between criminal punishment for sexual abuse in Michigan and civil lawsuits. Essentially, while a criminal charge might help to give the victim a feeling of justice, a civil claim might help them to recover compensation for their losses. By working with a seasoned sexual abuse lawyer, you could better understand your legal options and rights to pursuing recovery.

Understanding Criminal and Civil Law

It is important for individuals who suffer at the hands of sexual predators to understand the difference between criminal and civil charges. While these are separate charges, the outcome of a criminal case could impact the outcome of a civil claim.

Civil Charges

Sexual abuse survivors—or in some cases, their family members—also have the option of pursuing civil charges. In an injury case, negligence is usually the determining factor as to whether the defendant is liable for the injuries suffered by the plaintiff.

For example, if a teacher committed a sexual offense with a student, they have breached their duty to act in a reasonably prudent manner. Because of their breach, the student suffers harm and damages both physically and emotionally.

Instead of prison time or fines, the end result of a civil case could be that the judge or the jury in the case orders the defendant to pay financial damages to the plaintiff. These damages might be based on:

  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of companionship

Criminal Charges

Criminal charges are brought against a sexual offender by the state. If the offender pleads or is found guilty, the state assigns criminal punishment for sexual abuse under Michigan’s Penal Code. Punishment could include:

  • Community service
  • Probation
  • Monetary fines and restitution
  • Prison time

Penalties for Sex Crimes

Under state laws, sexual offenders will face varying degrees of criminal punishment based on the type and degree of sexual abuse, as well as the criminal history of the alleged perpetrator in Michigan. For example, some felony sexual crimes can result in a life sentence in state prison, while others carry no more than two years in prison and a fine.

A unique charge to this state can be found in Michigan Penal Code §750.520g. As per this statute, assault to commit conduct involving penetration is a first-degree felony, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years. Furthermore, a second-degree charge for this same offense carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.

Call a Lawyer to Discuss Civil Recovery and Criminal Punishment for Sexual Misconduct in Michigan

If you or a loved one endured sexual assault, molestation, or other forms of sexually-based abuse, it is important to understand your legal options during this difficult time. While criminal punishment for sexual abuse in Michigan might help to provide a sense of justice for a victim, these charges will not help to alleviate any financial strain they have endured.

As a result, pursuing a civil lawsuit with the help of a skillful lawyer could prove to be helpful. If successful, you might be able to receive compensation that helps to cover medical expenses and allows you to focus on your recovery. For legal aid during this difficult time, call a legal professional at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. today.

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