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1st Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct is among the most serious sexual offense charges in Minnesota.

Conviction can result in severe legal penalties and long-lasting personal consequences, including incarceration, registration as a sex offender, and damage to your reputation and future prospects.

If you or a loved one is facing a 1st degree criminal sexual conduct charge, it is crucial you consult with a Minnesota criminal defense attorney to understand the gravity of the situation and the potential consequences.

What Is First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct?

First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct in Minnesota is a serious felony offense defined under Minnesota Statute 609.342.

This crime involves non-consensual sexual acts with another person and is categorized into several distinct elements, each carrying severe penalties. 


The accused must engage in sexual penetration with the victim. This includes vaginal, anal, or oral penetration using any body part or object without the victim’s consent. 

Force or Coercion

The offender must use force or coercion to accomplish the penetration, demonstrating that the victim did not willingly participate.

Age of the Victim

Under Minnesota law, minors under the age of 13 are not legally capable of providing consent to sexual activity.

Thus, if the victim is under 13 years old, the age of consent is not a factor, and any sexual penetration, regardless of consent or relationship, qualifies as 1st Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct. 


The accused may also be charged if the victim is a family member, a person in a position of authority, or a minor under the care of the offender.

Charges of 1st Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct are taken extremely seriously in Minnesota due to the severe nature of the offense and the potential for significant harm to victims.

If you are facing charges of this nature, it is important to work with an experienced Minnesota sex crimes lawyer to ensure your rights are protected. 

What Are the Consequences of Criminal Sexual Conduct?

Facing criminal sexual conduct charges or convictions in Minnesota can result in significant and life-altering consequences.

The severity of these consequences depends on various factors, including the specific charges, the circumstances of the case, and your prior criminal history.

Additionally, judges have significant discretion when determining the appropriate sentence, which is where the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer can help. 

Criminal Penalties

A conviction for 1st Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct can lead to a prison sentence of up to 30 years or even life imprisonment, depending on the circumstances.

Furthermore, offenders may face substantial fines ranging from thousands to tens of thousands of dollars.

Sex Offender Registration

A conviction for certain sexual offenses, including criminal sexual conduct, typically results in mandatory registration as a sex offender in the Minnesota Predatory Offender Registry.

Some offenders may be required to register as sex offenders for life, while others may have the opportunity for eventual removal from the registry after a specified period.

Supervised Release and Probation

After serving a prison sentence, many offenders are subject to supervised release, during which they must adhere to strict conditions and restrictions.

Some offenders may receive probation sentences instead of or in addition to prison time, which includes regular check-ins with a probation officer and compliance with specific conditions.

Criminal Record

A criminal sexual conduct conviction results in a permanent criminal record, which can have far-reaching consequences on employment, housing, and social opportunities.

Loss of Rights and Stigmatization

If you are convicted of criminal sexual conduct in Minnesota, you may lose certain civil rights, including the right to possess firearms. Sex offenders often face significant social stigma and may struggle with reintegration into their communities.

Civil Consequences

Victims may sometimes pursue civil lawsuits against their perpetrators, seeking damages for physical, emotional, and financial harm.

Sex Offender Treatment

Offenders may be required to undergo sex offender treatment programs, including therapy and counseling, as a condition of their release or probation.

Restrictions on Residency and Employment

Sex offenders may face limitations on where they can live and work, often including prohibitions on residing near schools, parks, or other places frequented by children.

Enhanced Penalties

In Minnesota, prior convictions or certain aggravating factors can result in enhanced penalties, such as longer prison sentences or stricter probation conditions.

Immigration Consequences

Non-U.S. citizens may face deportation or other immigration consequences upon conviction for criminal sexual conduct.

It’s important to note that the consequences can vary widely based on the specific circumstances of each case.

A strong legal defense can significantly impact the outcome, potentially leading to reduced charges, plea negotiations, or even acquittal.

Defenses to 1st Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct Charge

Defending a 1st Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct charge in Minnesota is a complex and critical matter.

A skilled defense attorney will explore strategies to protect the accused’s rights and potentially reduce or dismiss the charges. However, some potential defenses include arguing the following:

  • Consent,
  • Mistaken identity,
  • Lack of evidence,
  • Alibi,
  • False accusations, 
  • Violation of rights, and
  • Improper procedure.

Successfully defending against a 1st Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct charge in Minnesota requires a thorough understanding of the law, careful examination of the evidence, and strategic legal arguments. 

Have You Been Charged with a Minnesota Sex Crime?

If you were recently arrested and charged with a sex crime in Minnesota, it is imperative that you reach out to a lawyer as soon as possible.

The dedicated Minnesota criminal defense attorneys at Arechigo & Stokka are here for you. We have decades of experience handling hundreds of cases involving serious felony crimes, including sex offenses.

We recognize that there is no room for error when you’re facing charges of this magnitude, which is why we take a comprehensive approach to every case we handle, ensuring we explore every possible defense.

To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, give Arechigo & Stokka a call.

You can also connect with us through our online contact form and one of our violent crimes defense lawyers will be in touch with you shortly. 

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Author Photo John T. Arechigo, Esq.

Attorney John Arechigo has a passion for criminal defense in St. Paul, MN. John received his J.D., from Hamline University School of Law and also carries a Bachelor of Arts from, The University of Minnesota. John was named Attorney of the Year for 2019 by Minnesota Lawyer. Additionally, John was also named as a 2019 Rising Star and was selected to Minnesota Super Lawyers in 2021. He devotes nearly 100% of his practice to defending individuals charged with a crime.

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