Any criminal conviction can result in lifelong consequences.
Sex crime allegations can inflict some of the most severe consequences, in addition to the stigma of the crime.
However, in certain situations, rape charges can arise even if both parties consented to the conduct.
What Is a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations exists to prevent a prosecutor from unfairly charging a defendant several years after an alleged crime occurred.
When setting the length of the statute of limitations for a particular crime, the legislature attempts to balance the need for victims to have access to the justice system versus a criminal defendant’s right to defend themselves from the allegations after the statutory period has passed.
The passage of time could interfere with an accused’s right to a fair trial by hampering the ability to prepare a thorough legal defense.
Typically, more serious crimes receive a longer statute of limitations.
Is There a Statute of Limitations on Rape?
In Minnesota, the rape statute of limitations changed in 2021.
Previously, the statute of limitations for rape ran for nine years from the date of the offense or within three years of reporting the crime to law enforcement if no DNA evidence existed.
Now, Minnesota eliminates the rape statute of limitations, except in limited circumstances.
Statute of Limitations on Statutory Rape
Statutory rape occurs when both parties appear to give consent to engage in the sexual act, but one party has not yet reached the age of consent and so is incapable of giving consent.
The age of consent refers to the age at which one can legally consent to sexual acts. In Minnesota, the age of consent is 16 years old.
Minnesota separates criminal conduct into four degrees. Depending on the circumstances, statutory rape can fall into any of the four categories.
For example, first-degree statutory rape occurs when sexual penetration occurs between the accused and:
- A minor between 13 and 16 years old when the accused is more than 48 months older than the minor and holds a position of authority over them; or
- A minor under 13 years old and an accused who is more than 36 months older than the minor.
Conviction under this statute carries the potential of up to thirty years in prison and a fine of up to $40,000.
Under Minnesota’s new statute of limitations, a victim could pursue charges against a defendant for first-degree statutory rape indefinitely.
The rape statute of limitations that applies to your case is the statute of limitations that was in effect when the alleged crime occurred.
Still Have Questions About the Rape Statute of Limitations in Minnesota? Contact Our Office Today
At Arechigo & Stokka, we pride ourselves on providing direct, personal representation.
We are determined to understand your individual circumstances and the desired outcome in your case.
John Arechigo has dedicated his entire practice to representing individuals facing criminal charges. We are confident that we have the experience and knowledge to fight for you.
If you have questions about a personal situation, contact our office today.