Minnesota law sets out many offenses that fall under the category of “sex crimes.” Not only does the law allow for harsh penalties for convicted sex crime offenders, but this type of conviction also comes with a stigma that will follow you for the rest of your life. The following are some frequently asked questions about sex crimes in Minnesota. If you have been arrested, you should discuss your situation directly with a Woodbury sex crimes lawyer as soon as possible.
What is criminal sexual conduct?
Minnesota does not have specific laws referring to “rape” or “sexual assault.” Instead, the law sets out different degrees of criminal sexual conduct, which encompass a wide range of behaviors. Some acts that could lead to different criminal sexual conduct charges if there was no consent include:
- Fifth-degree = Sexual contact and certain types of lewd conduct
- Fourth-degree = Certain types of sexual contact
- Third-degree = Sexual penetration
- Second-degree = Sexual conduct without penetration, but with the use of force or the victim was very young or incapacitated
- First-degree = Sexual penetration by use of violent force or weapons, as well as certain conduct with a victim under the age of 13
While fifth-degree sexual conduct is a gross misdemeanor, all other criminal sexual conduct charges are felonies. The penalties for those felony charges can range from a stayed sentence (meaning probation instead of jail time) for a fourth-degree charge to 12 to 30 years in state prison for first-degree charges.
Will I have to register as a sex offender?
While not every sexual offense will result in sex offender registration, many convictions will come with this requirement. Some convictions that will require you to register include:
- Felony criminal sexual conduct (First through fourth-degree)
- Felony indecent exposure
- Child pornography possession or distribution
- False imprisonment of a minor
- Soliciting a minor
- Murder during a sexual offense
Sex offender registration can be extremely harmful to your personal and professional life. This registry of predatory offenders is available online for anyone to search, and registration can disqualify you from many different jobs. Even family members, friends, or romantic prospects can learn of your convictions easily online, which can impact those relationships.
When is a person unable to consent to sexual activity?
Consent is a major issue in most sex crime cases. Many defendants assert that the accuser consented to the conduct, which would not make the conduct a crime. However, it is important to remember that there are certain times that someone is considered legally unable to consent, including:
- The person is younger than the age of consent, which is 16 in Minnesota (or 18 if the defendant is in a position of authority)
- The person is physically helpless
- The person is mentally incapacitated by alcohol, drugs, or other means
- The person has a profound mental or intellectual disability
Learn How a Woodbury Sex Crimes Lawyer Can Assist You
At JS Defense, PA., we handle all types of sex crime cases and aggressively stand up for the rights of our clients. Call (651) 968-9652 or request a free consultation online to speak with a Woodbury sex crimes attorney.