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MINNESOTA CRIMINAL SEXUAL CONDUCT LAWS COVER AN EXTREMELY BROAD AMOUNT OF BEHAVIOR.

Minnesota criminal sexual conduct offenses are charged in degrees of seriousness, ranging from extremely serious felony first-degree offenses to gross misdemeanor fifth-degree offenses.

The level of offense depends on the nature of the circumstances, the allegations, the amount of available evidence supporting the allegations, and the prior history – if any – of the charged individual.

FIRST DEGREE CRIMINAL SEXUAL CONDUCT

Minnesota Criminal Sexual Conduct in the First Degree is the most severe sex crime in Minnesota.  

A first degree Minnesota sex crime can be charged under any of the following circumstances:

  • Sex or sexual contact with a person under 13 years old if the actor was more than 36 months older
  • Sex with a person 13 to 16 years old if the actor was more than 48 months older
  • Sex with a person under 16 years old if the actor had a significant relationship with the individual
  • The use or threat of great bodily harm to accomplish sexual penetration
  • The complainant suffered a personal injury during un-consenting sex

This offense is most commonly charged in situations involving child molestation, child sexual abuse, and forcible rape.

A mistake of age is not a defense to a charge of Criminal Sexual Conduct in the First Degree. 

Criminal Sexual Conduct 1st-degree MN – Penalty:

This offense carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, and possibly longer if other aggravating factors exist.

SECOND DEGREE CRIMINAL SEXUAL CONDUCT

Minnesota Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Second Degree covers all of the circumstances of a first-degree offense but does not require sexual penetration.  

This sex crime punishes sexual contact under any of the circumstances of the first-degree offense.  

A mistake of age is not a defense.  

Criminal Sexual Conduct 2nd-degree MN – Penalty:

A second-degree sex crime conviction carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.

THIRD DEGREE CRIMINAL SEXUAL CONDUCT

Minnesota Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Third Degree punishes sexual penetration under any of the following circumstances:

  • The complainant is under 13 years old and the actor is no more than 36 months older
  • The complainant is at least 13 years old but less than 16 years old and the actor is no more than 24 months older
  • The complainant is at least 16 years old but less than 18 and the actor is more than 48 months older and in a position of authority
  • The complainant is at least 16 years old but less than 18 and the actor has a significant relationship with the individual
  • The complainant is a patient of a psychotherapist and there is an active psychotherapist-patient relationship
  • The actor is a member of the clergy and the complainant was seeking the actor’s advice or counseling
  • The actor knows or has reason to know that the complainant is mentally impaired, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless

Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct is most commonly charged in situations where people have been drinking and a person – usually female – claims that someone had sex with her when she was either passed out or unable to withhold her consent.

It’s always tough to know what really happened in these circumstances.  

It’s not uncommon for both parties to be intoxicated during a sexual encounter and not really remember the details of the incident.

It can be frightening to find yourself charged with a sex crime for what seemed like a consensual sexual encounter.

A mistake of age is a defense, but only to a charge under the second bullet point and only if the actor is no more than 120 months older than the complainant.  

In this situation, the burden is on the actor to prove that the actor reasonably believed the complainant to be at least 16 years old.  

A mistake of age is not a defense under any of the other circumstances.  

Criminal Sexual Conduct 3rd-degree MN – Penalty:

This offense carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

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FOURTH DEGREE CRIMINAL SEXUAL CONDUCT

Minnesota Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Fourth Degree covers all of the circumstances of a third-degree offense but does not require sexual penetration.  This sex crime punishes sexual contact under any of the circumstances of the third-degree offense.  

The same limited defense applies.  

Criminal Sexual Conduct 4th-degree MN – Penalty:

This offense carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

FIFTH DEGREE CRIMINAL SEXUAL CONDUCT

Minnesota Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Fifth Degree punishes non-consensual sexual contact and masturbation or lewd exhibition of genitals in the presence of a minor.

A first-time offense is a gross misdemeanor offense.

A felony charge will be filed if the person has a previous fifth-degree conviction.

Minnesota criminal sexual conduct crimes are some of the most serious crimes in the state.

Not only does a defendant face lengthy prison sentences, but registration requirements are triggered by a sex crime conviction as well.

Theses cases involve complicated evidentiary rules.  

The use of witness testimony, prior out-of-court statements of a complainant or defendant, and the prior sexual history of a complainant or defendant can be very difficult to navigate.  

The more serious sex crimes also almost always involve complex scientific evidence, such as DNA.

HIRE ONE OF THE BEST DEFENSE LAWYERS IN ST. PAUL MINNESOTA

A conviction of a sex crime can have a life-altering impact.  

You need a St. Paul, Minnesota criminal defense lawyer who knows how to prepare an aggressive defense.  

Contact us today for a free consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions Section:

What is First Degree Sexual Conduct?

This offense is most commonly charged in situations involving child molestation, child sexual abuse, and forcible rape. A first degree Minnesota sex crime can be charged with sexual contact with a person under 13 years old if the actor was more than 36 months older.

What is Second Degree Sexual Conduct?

Minnesota Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Second Degree covers all of the circumstances of a first-degree offense but does not require sexual penetration.

What is Third Degree Sexual Conduct?

Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct is most commonly charged in situations where people have been drinking and a person – usually female – claims that someone had sex with her when she was either passed out or unable to withhold her consent.

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John T. Arechigo, Esq.

Attorney John Arechigo has a passion for criminal defense.  He devotes nearly 100% of his practice to defending individuals charged with a crime. John offers what very few other Twin Cities criminal defense lawyers can offer. His combination of experience, success, connections, resources, accessibility, and complete handling of a client’s file sets him apart from his colleagues.

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