Sex Crimes: Understanding Minnesota Laws and Penalties

Understanding Minnesota law when it involves sex crimes is important if you are ever charged. It is also important to understand the possible consequences you face. Regardless of the charges, everyone deserves equal representation under the law. It doesn’t matter if the charges include aggravated sexual assault, internet sex crimes, sexual assault, or sexual misconduct. The charges need dealt with by professionals with understanding and respect.

The first thing to know is Minnesota names any of these crime including rape and sexual assault as, criminal sexual conduct. The code has five degrees based on the unlawful sexual activity and age of the victim and accused.  Each degree covers different circumstances with the a different set of possible penalties.

First Degree

The defendant faces the first degree when penetration of a victim occurs against their will. This includes a body part or an object doing the act of penetration. Any sexual conduct with a person under the age of 13 gets included as a First Degree Offense. Some circumstances included in the first degree are that the victim is under the age of 13 and the accused is over 3 years older, a victim in fear of imminent harm, or the accused is an adult living in the same house, parent or guardian while the victim is under the age of 16. If found guilty this sentence carries a minimum of 12 years and a maximum of 30 years. A $40,000 fine gets included if there is a guilty verdict.

Second Degree

Second degree is similar to the first degree. It involves touching instead of penetration. However, the mentioned circumstances still apply. Even without penetration, it is criminal sexual conduct. The penalty includes a minimum of 7 and a half years with a maximum of 25 years. There is a $35,000 fine included if found guilty.

Third Degree

Third degree is similar to the first degree because it covers penetration. However it involves a different set of circumstances. For instance, if the victim is 13 to 15 years of age and the defendant is two years older, but no more than ten years older, this falls under the third degree. If the defendant knows the victim was mentally or physically incapacitated, this falls under the third degree as well. If the defendant is a psychologist or psychiatrist of the victim during the crime, this falls under third degree. This also covers clergy as defendants when act took place during a spiritual advice meeting. The penalty at most involves 15 years in prison. A guilty verdict includes a $30,000 fine.

Fourth Degree

The fourth degree covers any sexual contact that doesn’t include penetration. The situations or circumstances covered in the third degree apply to the fourth degree. This also includes volunteers or workers at a correction or juvenile facility where the victim was in custody and receiving treatment. The penalties for a fourth degree conviction are up to 10 years in prison. The fine of $20,000 gets included if a defendant is found guilty.

Fifth Degree

This involves engaging in non-consensual sexual contact. This doesn’t include touching a clothed butt. It includes an attempt to remove clothing covering the intimate parts of the victim. The act needs a sexual or aggressive intention to fall under the fifth degree. Masturbation or exposing oneself to a child under the age of 16 falls under the fifth degree as well. This usually gets classified as a gross misdemeanor. The penalties include up to one year imprisonment and a $3,000 fine. If prior convictions exist, these penalties can increase.

Other Considerations

It is important to remember that all levels involve registry on the Minnesota sex offender list if convicted. This affects the remainder of a person’s life no matter the time spent imprisoned. Not knowing the age of a victim is not a defense in most cases either. Consent from a victim is not a defense if the defendant is a clergy, medical professional and victim a patient, or worked in corrections. If the victim is too young, consent is not a defense either.

Facing a criminal sexual conduct charge is a difficult experience. The various penalties under the different degrees are frightening. Regardless of the charges, you deserve legal representation. Martin Law Offices has experience in these types of cases. Let us help you in your legal struggle. Contact us today for further information about mounting a defense. We will set up a case evaluation at no charge to you.