Michigan Criminal Law: Sex Crimes; Gross Indecency

Sexual behavior is curtailed and regulated through a variety of ways. Certain alleged sex crimes do not even require proofs regarding consent. One notable charge is “Gross Indecency.” MCL 750.338, .338a, .338b.

While possible penalties for a conviction of this charge start at up to “five years” in prison, the possible penalty may increase, if a person has prior felony convictions, or it may increase up to life in prison if the offender was a “sexually delinquent” person. MCL 750.338, .338a, .338b.

Further, there may be “SORA” ramifications if convicted and if an alleged victim was under the age of 18. MCL 28.722, .725, .725a. The sanctions vary depending on the age and alleged act. MCL 28.722, .725, .725a.

As the Model Jury Instruction explains, in order to prove this charge beyond a reasonable doubt, the prosecutor must show the following:
(1) The defendant is charged with the crime of committing an act of gross indecency. To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
(2) First, that the defendant engaged in a sexual act that involved one or more of the following
(For the specific list, which is not exhaustive, please review the jury instruction):
(3) Second, that the sexual act was committed in a public place. A place is public when a member of the public, who is in a place the public is generally invited or allowed to be, could have been exposed to or viewed the act.2

Crim. JI. 20.31.
Even if the act itself was consensual between two adults, this charge may be applicable if the accused committed the act “in a public place.” Crim. JI. 20.31.

Obviously, there are a wide variety of potential scenarios whereby prosecutors may pursue this charge. The key issues are the alleged act and location.

Further, this charge may even be offered as a reduced charge in the context of plea-bargaining, related to more serious sexual charges.

This is a serious felony charge; albeit, not as severely punished for a conviction as most “criminal sexual conduct” charges.
Our experienced trial attorneys fight hard for our Michigan clients. We represent clients statewide. For a free initial consultation, feel free to contact us at (517) 507-5077.

For more information on Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct charges, click here.

For information on polygraph tests, click here.

For information on Michigan’s Sex Offender Registration Act, or “SORA,” click here. 
Anyone charged, of course, is presumed innocent. The prosecutor would need to prove the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt if the matter proceeded to trial. Simply because a person is charged does not mean that ultimately, they will be convicted.
If you need specific legal advice for your particular circumstances, I encourage you to privately consult with a lawyer. Circumstances may vary significantly. If you need specific legal advice, please privately consult with a lawyer.
If you are charged with an offense and cannot afford to pay for your own defense, the court may appoint you an attorney payable at the public’s expense. You have a right to counsel.