What Is The Age of Consent in Michigan?
Getting into trouble does not only end with the presence of consent when you have sexual intercourse. You must be sure the individual you are having sex with has attained the statutory age of consent.
In the United States, the age of consent is known as the minimum age at which an individual is considered legally old enough to consent to participation in sexual activity.A common misconception about statutory rape is that there is a single age at which an individual can legally consent to sexual activity. The Age of Consent ranges state-by-state from 16 to 18 years old across the United States.
While states like New York, Tennessee and Iowa has 18 and states like Mississippi, Idaho and Texas have 17, In Michigan, the age of consent for sexual relations is 16 years old. This means that, in most cases, a 16 year old can consent to sexual activity.
However, if you get involved in a sexual contact with a person below 16 years of age, it is always illegal regardless of consent or knowledge of the minor’s age.
Regardless of the question as to whether, you as a 16 year old are mature enough to make primed decisions as regards sexual activity, it is, in technical terms legal for you, at this age to have sexual relations which you consent to.
Exceptions to the Age of Consent in Michigan
What Age of consent entails is that as a person, once you attain it, the age of 16 in Michigan, you can give your consent to sexual activities in majority of cases. However, you should know there are a number of exceptions to this. They include;
- Familial Relationship: Here, an exception arises when the sexual activities involves immediate familial relationships.
- Fiducial Relationship: This exception arises when the sexual activity involves another person who is in a position of trust or power over the person giving the consent.
- Consent under Influence:Here, an exception is created for the consent, if the person giving the consent is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- If there is any force or coercion: Coercion includes economic coercion where you obtain the consent of a person(either below or above 16 years of age) by paying them. This is not just mere solicitation but makes you liable for an offense of felony.
Violating an age of consent law is known as Statutory Rape. In Michigan, the age of consent is 16, and if you engage in sexual activity with a child who is below this age, you may be convicted of statutory rape. In Michigan, it is referred to as criminal sexual conduct.
Criminal sexual conduct in Michigan attracts stiff penalties which includes jail term, GPS monitoring, sex offender registration etc. However, where you are accused of penetration of a person below the age of 13, you may be punished with a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 25 years.
Michigan’s laws also prohibit teachers from engaging in sex with students aged 16 or 17 years old.
Age of Consent and Violation of Statutory Rape Law
You would be deemed to have violated the Michigan statutory rape law when you have a consensual sexual intercourse with an individual under age 16.This is because such an individual are regarded as minors who are legally incapable of consenting to sexual activity.
What qualifies as sexual contact is not only limited to sexual intercourse In Michigan. If found true after proving beyond reasonable doubt, simply touching over the clothing of intimate areas is enough to ground conviction.
The Relative Age Rule in Michigan
It might interest you to note that Michigan is in the minority of states that do not consider relative age. In most other states, if two individuals, below the age of consent have sex, it is legal (or at least,a less severe crime) so far as the partners are close to the same age.
Besides, Michigan operates anabsoluteage of consent law. This means, it is illegal for you to have sex with anyone who is below the age of consent, no matter how close your age is with theirs’.
To make it clear, if you, as a 15 years old individual, you have sex with another individual of 15 years, you both are committing a crime according to the Michigan laws.
Penalties you could face for violating the age of consent:
In Michigan, the law on statutory rape is one of the most severe in the whole of the United States. Recently, the law has evolved from the former “Romeo and Juliet” law to a strict age of consent with little tolerance even for those who have no intent of committing a crime.
Penalties for statutory rape depends on the age of the victim and the type of sexual conduct involved. They Include;
- Time in Jail or prison
- Sex offender registration
- A permanent criminal record.
Mistake of age
According to the Michigan law, mistake is not a valid defense. This is the rule in majority of the states. The fact that you mistakenly believed the child to be of age is not a defense to a charge of statutory rape or criminal sexual conduct.
With Authority in the Michigan case of People v. Cash, 351 NW2d 822 (Mich. 1984), the rule still stands even if the victim looks, acts or tells you that he or she is older.
What class of conduct does Age of Consent Laws Apply to?
It is important that you know that the Michigan age of consent laws only apply to explicitly heterosexual conducts. Although, generally, age of consent laws in the United States apply to homosexual likewise heterosexual conduct whether or not the statutes directly address the issue.
Get an experienced lawyer
Wrongful sexual activity allegations (especially involving a minor) can be one of the most grievous in criminal law. This means, you need a top-quality defense than ever.
If you truly fall in violation of the age of consent law, an experienced sexual conduct attorney will know the right steps to take to mitigate the consequences by getting you the required help while making thee court and the prosecution see your good and human qualities.