Sexual assault is a serious crime with severe consequences.
In Minnesota, the law classifies sexual offenses into different degrees based on the severity of the act and the circumstances surrounding it.
One such offense is “second-degree criminal sexual conduct,” a felony-level offense with specific legal definitions and penalties.
This post will delve into what second-degree criminal sexual conduct is, how it is defined in Minnesota law, and the potential consequences for those charged with this offense.
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What Is Second-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct?
Second-degree criminal sexual conduct is a crime that involves engaging in non-consensual sexual contact or sexual penetration with another person under certain circumstances, as defined by Minnesota law. It is a felony offense.
According to Minnesota law, several situations can result in charges of criminal sexual conduct in the 2nd degree, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Dangerous weapons: if there’s evidence the accused used a dangerous weapon to accomplish the sexual act, it could be charged as second-degree criminal sexual conduct.
- Use of force or coercion: If the accused used force or coercion to accomplish the sexual contact or penetration and there’s an allegation of personal injury, it could be charged as second-degree criminal sexual conduct.
- Incapacitation: If the complainant is physically helpless, mentally incapacitated, or unconscious during sexual contact or penetration and there’s an allegation of personal injury, it may be considered second-degree criminal sexual conduct.
- Age of victim: If the complainant is under 14 and the accused is more than 36 months older than the victim, it may be considered second-degree criminal sexual conduct.
- Positions of authority: if the complainant is at least 14 but less than 16 years of age and the accused is more than 36 months older than the complainant and in a current or recent position of authority over the complainant, it may be considered second-degree criminal sexual conduct.
- Relationship between complainant and accused: if the complainant was under 16 years of age, the accused has a significant relationship to the complainant and there’s an allegation of force, coercion, or personal injury during the sexual act.
- Disability: If the complainant has a physical or mental disability that impairs their ability to consent, and the accused knows or has reason to know of the disability, it may be considered second-degree criminal sexual conduct.
No matter the circumstances of the charge, criminal sexual conduct in the 2nd degree is a serious crime. It is imperative to seek legal advice from a knowledgeable attorney.
Consequences of Second-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct
The penalties for criminal sexual conduct in the second degree in Minnesota are severe and can have lifelong consequences.
If convicted, the accused may face up to 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $35,000.
Additionally, the accused may be required to register as a sex offender, which can result in lifelong public notification of their status.
The penalties can be enhanced depending on the circumstances.
For example, if the accused has a prior conviction for criminal sexual conduct or another sex-related offense, the penalties may be increased.
It’s also important to note that a conviction for second-degree criminal sexual conduct can have collateral consequences, such as loss of certain civil rights, restrictions on employment and housing opportunities, and damage to personal and professional reputation.
Defenses and Legal Considerations
If you are facing charges of second-degree criminal sexual conduct in Minnesota, it is crucial to seek legal representation immediately.
A skilled criminal defense attorney can help you understand your rights and options and may be able to mount a defense on your behalf.
There are several potential defenses to second-degree criminal sexual conduct. Common defenses may include the following:
- Consent: consent can be viable defenses in alleged incidents involving adults
- Lack of force or coercion: If there was no use of force or coercion to accomplish the sexual contact or penetration, this might be a defense.
- Mistake of age: If the accused reasonably believed that the victim was of legal age, this could be a defense.
Each case is unique, and a defense that may apply to one individual may not apply to you. It is best to discuss the specific circumstances of your case with a criminal defense attorney.
Get in Contact with a Criminal Defense Attorney Today
At the Criminal Defense Attorney & Workers Compensation Law Offices of Arechigo & Stokka, we understand the severity of the consequences of criminal sexual conduct in the 2nd degree and how it can impact your life.
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.