- September 26, 2022
- Sex Crimes
How does Michigan law define mentally incapacitated in sexual assault cases?
Like other states, Michigan’s laws prohibiting criminal sexual conduct are far-reaching and have far-reaching penalties.
The laws are far-reaching because they can apply to a lot of different situations. For example, a person may not engage in sexual behavior with someone who is what the law calls “mentally incapacitated” if they either know or have some reason to know about the person’s status.
Even without aggravating circumstances, engaging in penetration with a mentally incapacitated person is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, as well as other penalties. Any defined “sexual contact” with another a mentally incapacitated person can land a person in jail for two years.
It can be hard to recognize a “mentally incapacitated” person
Michigan law’s definition of a “mentally incapacitated” person may include someone who has been given a drug or alcohol without their consent and, basically, likes the ability to consent as a result. The term may cover other circumstances as well.
The bottom line is if the person, through no choice of their own, is unable to consent to sexual touching, then someone else can be accused of sexually assaulting that person even if they used words suggesting they agreed to sexual touching.
It is important for people to that the law does not require someone to have to have actually drugged or done something else to another person in order to be accused of criminal sexual conduct.
To file a charge, police and prosecutors just have to prove the accused had a reason to know a person was mentally incapacitated.
Likewise, to some extent, Michigan residents have an obligation to educate themselves about whether a person has a mental illness, a mental disability or some other condition that makes it impossible in the moment for that person to consent to sexual touching.
Michigan’s broad definition of “mentally incapacitated” shows how anyone can face a felony criminal sexual conduct charge.
If someone in Troy or the other northern Detroit suburbs is facing an accusation of criminal sexual conduct, after attending a party for example, they should make sure they understand all of their legal options.