Facing any criminal charge is a difficult situation to find yourself in. A criminal conviction can follow you around for the rest of your life and complicate simple things like getting a loan or a job. However, some crimes can have more of an impact than others. A conviction for statutory rape or any other sexual criminal offense can impact your life far more than a theft or shoplifting conviction. If you face a statutory rape accusation, you are probably wondering, What is statutory rape? or, How long is a statutory rape sentence? Read on to find the answers to these and other questions about Minnesota’s statutory rape laws from our Minnesota criminal defense attorney. What Is the Difference Between Rape and Statutory Rape? The general colloquial definition of rape is engaging in sexual acts without the consent of one or more of the parties involved. Statutory rape is different in that both parties to the sexual act in question may technically consent to it. Still, because of the relevant laws (or statutes), it is illegal and a criminal offense. Statutory rape is a crime because one of the parties involved is not yet at the age of consent. “Age of consent” refers to the age that one must be in order to legally consent to sexual acts. Below that age, consent is not possible. Just like it is illegal for minors to possess firearms, it is illegal for persons under the age of consent to engage in sexual activity. The age of consent differs between states but is generally age 15 or older. In Minnesota, the age of consent is 16 years old. What Is Statutory Rape in Minnesota? Minnesota prosecutes stautory rape at one of four degrees of sexual conduct. The most severely penalized level is first degree sexual misconduct while the least severe is fourth degree sexual misconduct. Here, we will look into the legal definitions of each of the four levels. In the legal definitions there are two important terms that we must understand. The first term is “sexual penetration.” Minnesota law states that sexual penetration includes oral sex, anal sex, and vaginal sex. Whenever a part of one person’s body penetrates a part of another person’s body, sexual penetration occurs. We also need to know how Minnesota defines someone “in a position of authority over the minor.” Someone holds a position of authority over a minor when they are a parent or otherwise responsible for a minor’s supervision, wellbeing, or health. People in positions of authority over minors include teachers, babysitters, and parents. Fourth Degree Fourth degree statutory rape occurs when criminial sexual conduct occurs between a defendant and another person and one or more other criteria is met: The minor is under 13 years old and the defendant is no more than 36 months older than the minor; The minor is older than 13 years old, but under 16, and the defendant is more than 48 months older than the minor or is in a position of authority over the minor; or The minor is more than 16 years old, but less than 18 years old, and the defendant is in a position of authority over the minor and more than 48 months older than the minor. If someone’s actions meet any of the latter three conditions in addition to sexual conduct between two individuals, the state can charge the defendant with fourth degree statutory rape. Third Degree Third degree statutory rape occurs when someone engages in sexual penetration with a minor and one or more of the following criteria is met: The minor is less than 13 years old, and the defendant is no more than 36 months older than them; The minor is more than 13 years old, but under 16, and the defendant is more than 24 months older than them; or The minor is more than 16 years old, but under 18, and the defendant is in a position of authority over the minor at the time of the incident and more than 48 months older than them. The key determining factor between third and fourth degree statutory rape in Minnessota is whether or not penetration occurs. Second Degree Second degree statutory rape occurs in Minnesota when a person engages in sexual conduct that stops short of penetration with certain classes of minors. The relevant classes of minors are as follows: A minor less than 13 years old when the perpetrator is 36 months or more older than the minor; or A minor more than 13 years old yet less than 16 years old when the perpetrator is greater than 48 months older than the minor and in a position of authority over them. By now, you should notice that the severity tends to depend on two factors: the age gap between the defendant and the victim and whether the sexual act included penetration. First Degree First degree statutory rape is the most severe category of statutory rape. First degree statutory rape occurs when sexual penetration occurs between: A minor more than 13 years old and less than 16 years old when the perpetrator is more than 48 months older than the victim and in a position of authority over them; or A minor who is less than 13 years old and a perpetrator who is more than 36 months older than the victim. Anybody whose actions meet the threshold of first or any other degree of statutory rape meets the legal requirements for a criminal statutory rape conviction in Minnesota. Statutory Rape Penalties The potential penalties for a statutory rape conviction in Minnesota are severe. A fourth degree statutory rape conviction can lead to up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $20,000, or both. On the other end of the spectrum, first-degree statutory rape convictions can bring up to 30 years imprisonment, $40,000 in fines, or both. There are other potential penalties for statutory rape, including sex offender registration, restrictions on where one can live,...Read More
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Anybody who faces criminal charges should know about conditional release, but what does conditional release mean? What is a conditional release from prison? In the context of criminal law, conditional release can refer to two situations. First, criminal release can refer to a situation where someone faces a criminal accusation and is arrested but, upon arraignment, is released from incarceration during the pre-trial period. Second, conditional release refers to an extended period of supervision that people charged with certain crimes are subject to after they serve their jail or prison time. In both situations, the release of someone from incarceration hinges on certain conditions. The conditions differ to some degree. However, in both situations, the conditions for release are typically similar. The general condition for someone to maintain their conditional release is to stay out of trouble. If you are out on conditional release, further criminal charges will almost certainly violate your release conditions and lead to further incarceration. Pretrial Conditional Release The Minnesota conditional release law most relevant for pretrial conditional release is in the Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure. According to Rule 6.02, a judge should release anyone appearing before a criminal court at an arraignment from their incarceration, without bail, pending their criminal trial. The rule goes on to state that this release should happen unless the release will endanger public safety or there is a reasonable expectation that the defendant will not appear at their trial. When Pretrial Conditional Release Is Possible If a judge determines that the pretrial release of a defendant will endanger public safety or that there is a risk that they will not appear in court, the Minnesota conditional release statute provides instructions on what to do to mitigate those risks. The instructions say that a judge can require some combination of four things to mitigate the risk of flight or the danger to public safety: First, the judge can impose travel, residence, or association restrictions; Second, the judge can place the defendant under the supervision of another person or organization if they agree to such supervision; Third, the judge can securitize the defendant’s appearance in court with a bail bond or other security; or Finally, the judge can impose other necessary conditions to ensure that the defendant appears in court. Judges have discretion as to which of these mitigating factors to employ in a given case. Prosecutors can argue for more stringent mitigating factors or argue against pretrial conditional release entirely. Thus, the help of a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney is essential in the fight for pretrial conditional release. Conditions for Pretrial Release The conditions one has to follow to maintain their pretrial conditional release are relatively simple. On top of the two basic conditions of not committing crimes and appearing at a scheduled court date, the conditions are whatever the judge imposes. A combination of anything on the aforementioned list is possible, which includes “any other necessary conditions.” Other conditions may include things like staying within the state or not associating with certain people. The state can revoke a defendant’s pretrial conditional release if they fail to abide by conditions of their release. Conditional Release From Prison Conditional release from prison differs entirely from pretrial conditional release. Instead of a privilege, conditional release from prison is a burden. It is an extra term of imposed supervision the court imposes in addition to one’s prison sentence. During the conditional release period, the Minnesota Department of Corrections continues to supervise those convicted of a specific crime. Conditions for Conditional Release From Prison There are quite a few different Minnesota conditional release statutes relevant to conditional release from prison. Each of the statutes corresponds with a specific crime or crimes. The conditions for a defendant’s conditional release from incarceration differ depending on the crime that the defendant is convicted of and reflect that crime’s specific societal harms and risks. Some of the criminal charges subject to conditional release from prison include: First degree (felony) driving while impaired; Predatory offense registration violation committed by certain sexual offenders; Assault in the fourth degree against secure treatment facility personnel; First through fourth degree criminal sexual conduct and criminal sexual predatory conduct; and Possession of pornographic work involving minors. Each of these crimes comes with various potential conditions for release. For example, a condition for someone convicted of possession of pornographic work involving minors will likely include no contact with minors or only supervised visits with their children. Alternatively, someone convicted of first-degree-felony driving while impaired may have their license suspended for a few years or be required to use an ignition interlock device. The conditions for one’s conditional release from prison will always reflect the specific crime that they are convicted of. If You Need Help with Conditional Release Whether you need pre-trial assistance or post-conviction legal advice on conditional release in Minnesota, your best course of action is enlisting the help of an experienced Minnesota criminal defense attorney. Our team at Arechigo & Stokka has over twenty years of experience fighting for the rights of Minnesotans caught in the net of the criminal justice system. You have a right to a fair trial. Let us help ensure that the state respects that right. Contact Arechigo & Stokka today!Read More
Workman’s Comp Drug Testing Policy Injuries in the workplace happen all the time. When they do, employees normally receive workers’ compensation to cover the cost of their injuries and treatment. In Minnesota, employers can require that employees injured on the job take a drug test. However, Minnesota designed its workers’ compensation laws to protect injured workers. Even if you fail a drug test, you may still be eligible for workers’ compensation for your on-the-job injuries. If you have failed a drug test following a workplace injury, you should contact a Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyer right away. At Arechigo & Stokka, our experienced team will fight for you and make sure you get all the workers’ compensation benefits to which you are entitled. Drug Testing Laws for Workers’ Comp in Minnesota Under Minnesota law, employers have the right to require drug testing for employees who suffer an on-the-job injury. However, the statute also requires that the employer have a written drug testing policy. The employer can request a drug test only in accordance with that written policy. If the employee tests positive, he or she also has the right to explain the positive test and the right to request a re-test within a specified time. Do I Have to Take a Drug Test to Receive Workers’ Comp? Minnesota’s workman’s comp state law does not require that employees take a drug test before receiving workers’ compensation. However, the employer still has the right to require a drug test before paying any workers’ comp benefits. If your employer requires a workers’ comp drug test, you may need to take it before you receive your benefits. Failing a Drug Test Does Not Mean You Can’t Get Workers’ Comp Even if you fail a workers’ comp drug test, you may still be eligible for benefits. Under Minnesota’s law, if the drugs or alcohol are the proximate cause of the workplace injury, the employer may refuse to pay workers’ compensation benefits. But the burden of proving causation is on the employer. The employer must provide evidence that: The employee was intoxicated, and The intoxication caused the injury or injuries. Proving causation can be difficult, especially if other dangers existed that contributed to the injuries. For example, a worker slips and falls while carrying a heavy object and breaks his arm. He tests positive for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. However, evidence shows that another worker carelessly spilled a liquid on the ground and did not clean up the spill or put out a sign warning of a slippery floor. The judge may find that the other worker’s carelessness, and not the drugs, were the proximate cause of the injury. Bottom line: even if you test positive for drugs or alcohol, you may still be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. When Should I Contact an Attorney? If you tested positive for drugs or alcohol following a workplace injury, you should contact a qualified Minnesota workers’ compensation attorney right away. An attorney can increase your chances of recovering your workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ comp cases can be complicated and time-consuming. An attorney understands how to defend your interests and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Your attorney understands which facts and circumstances are important for proving your case. Your attorney can help you by: Gathering witness statements and police reports; Performing investigations of the workplace and the scene of the accident; Gathering medical records such as hospital reports and drug tests; Negotiating with your employer on your behalf; and Representing you if your case proceeds to trial. Your attorney will work with you to build a strong case and fight for the best possible outcome. Contact a Qualified Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today If you suffered a workplace injury, contact the law offices of Arechigo & Stokka today. Our knowledgeable attorneys have extensive experience defending our clients in workers’ compensation cases. We provide hands-on legal services, and our dedicated staff will answer your questions and provide you support every step of the way. We care about our clients and place their interests first. To schedule a free consultation, contact our office at 651-419-5366 or fill out an online form today.Read More