In May, we wrote about Jeffrey Gage, a man who was charged with sexually assaulting three girls in Saginaw County between 1998 and early 2014. Gage was initially charged with six counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct under the age of 13, and two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.
In a plea deal with prosecutors, Gage agreed to plead no contest to a count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct by force or coercion and two counts of second-degree CSC against someone younger than 13 in exchange for prosecutors dropping the initial charges. This essentially means that Gage will spend time in prison, which the families of the victims agreed to. Had the case gone to trial, the alleged victims would have had to testify, something family members wanted to avoid. Gage could also have spent the remainder of his life in prison had he gone to trial and been found guilty, as first-degree criminal sexual conduct carries a maximum prison term of life.
The third-degree criminal sexual conduct charge involves penetration, and carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. Gage is scheduled for sentencing by Saginaw County Circuit Judge James T. Borchard on December 18.
Anyone who is accused of a sex crime faces serious consequences if convicted. In some cases, such as when the evidence is overwhelming, it may be advantageous for the defendant to plead no contest or guilty to a lesser charge. This usually results in significantly reduced criminal penalties, as in the case above.
Should you go to trial, or should you accept a plea deal from prosecutors? As all Michigan sex crime lawyers know, there are several legal options for clients who have been charged with sexual assault. Ultimately, an attorney’s goal is to achieve the best possible result in each client’s case. While defense lawyers hope to have charges dismissed or obtain an acquittal at trial, there are times when a plea deal is the right option.
If you have been arrested or charged with any sex offense, consult with a skilled and aggressive Michigan sex crime attorney immediately so that work can begin to defend your legal rights and freedom.