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In North Dakota, criminal offenses, including sex-related crimes, are divided into seven classes or degrees ranging from Class A misdemeanors to Class AA felonies.

A misdemeanor conviction carries a possible jail sentence of less than one year, while the most severe felony could land you behind bars for life.

If you are facing a sex crime charge in the Fargo, ND area, your potential penalty will depend on the offense charged and which class it falls into.

Sex offense allegations should always be taken seriously. They can impact the rest of your life.

In this article, the Fargo sex crimes lawyer at Arechigo & Stokka will go over the details of the different degrees of sex offenses in North Dakota.

If you have questions, or would like to speak with a sex crimes lawyer, please contact us today.

Degrees of Sex Offenses

Below is a snapshot of the different classes of felonies, misdemeanors, and examples of sex offenses in each category.


  • Class AA felony convictions are punishable by up to life in prison without the possibility of parole. You could face a class AA felony for the continuous sexual abuse of a child.
  • Class A felonies carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and up to a $20,000 fine. Some examples of a class A felony in North Dakota are sex trafficking and gross sexual imposition.
  • Class B felonies carry up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. Class B felonies include sexual imposition and sexual extortion.
  • Class C felonies carry a possible prison sentence of up to five years and a $10,000 fine. Class C felonies include sexual assault if the adult is at least 22 years old and the sexual abuse of wards.


Class A misdemeanor convictions carry a maximum penalty of 360 days in jail and up to a $3,000 fine. Class A misdemeanors can include adultery and indecent exposure.

Class B misdemeanors carry a penalty of up to 30 days in jail and a $1,500 fine. A minor engaging in fornication can be charged with a class B misdemeanor.

North Dakota Consent Laws

In North Dakota, the age of consent is 18. Anyone younger than 18 cannot legally consent to sexual conduct.

Furthermore, In North Dakota, mistaking the age of a minor can be a defense to statutory rape under certain circumstances.

Consent is also a commonly used defense against sex crimes because it is illegal to engage in sexual intercourse with another without that person’s consent.

If you can somehow show the alleged victim consented to the intercourse or other sexual relations, you could have a strong defense.

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What Are the Categories of Sex Offenses?

There are several categories of sex offenses in North Dakota, including the following:

  • Gross sexual imposition,
  • Sexual imposition,
  • Sexual assault,
  • Indecent exposure, and 
  • Sexual extortion. 

This list is not exhaustive; you may be charged with a crime you do not see here. No matter the charge, contact our criminal defense team. 

What Are the Sex Offender Laws in North Dakota?

Federal law requires states to notify the public about sex offenders.

North Dakota follows the federal guidelines, and in addition to other statutory penalties, individuals convicted of certain sex offenses may have to register with the state.  

In addition to the criminal investigation, North Dakota will conduct a separate investigation to assess a convicted offender’s risk level.

According to this assessment, offenders may be required to register on the sex offender list for 15 years, 25 years, or the rest of their life. And the requirement follows them even if they move.

The ND sex offender registry is available to the public. 

Get in Contact with a Fargo Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

If you have been charged or convicted of a sex offense in North Dakota and need help, we are here for you.

The Fargo criminal defense lawyers at Arechigo & Stokka can help you defend yourself to the fullest extent of the law. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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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