Anyone accused of a sex crime will face a great deal of uncertainty and will likely have a lot of questions.
The laws in this area vary from state to state, and there is a lot of misleading information on the topic. Because of this, we have tried to provide answers to some of the common questions that arise.
However, because a conviction carries serious consequences, a person accused or charged with a sex crime should talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Assault Vs Battery Under Minnesota Law
In general, assault and battery are two separate crimes. Typically, assault involves a threat of any violence that causes fear of physical harm.
On the other hand, battery is the physical act itself. For example, a threat to punch someone is assault, while the punch is the battery.
Minnesota criminal law does not divide the two into separate crimes. In Minnesota, you can face a relatively similar criminal charge for physically attacking someone as you would if you threatened to assault someone.
On the other hand, threatening violence with the intent to terrorize a person is a separate crime. There are subtle differences in the law between a threat and a physical act that can drastically change the type of criminal charge you may face.
Sexual Battery Vs Sexual Assault
Some states also use assault and battery to define sex crimes.
When this is the case, sexual assault typically involves less severe behavior, such as non-consensual sexual touching. Sexual battery, on the other hand, generally refers to more serious criminal behavior, up to or including rape.
Minnesota Sexual Assault Laws
In Minnesota, crimes of sexual assault, sexual battery, and rape are all classified as criminal sexual conduct.
Criminal sexual conduct can be in the first, second, third, fourth, or fifth degree. First-degree criminal sexual conduct consists of the most serious criminal behavior, such as rape and child sexual abuse.
Consent is a critical determining factor in assessing whether a sexual conduct crime has been committed.
It is also a common defense against such accusations. Because of this, consent (or lack of) is often a hotly debated and confusing element in a sex crime case.
In Minnesota, consent is agreeing, in words or actions, to any sexual act. A prior relationship—sexual, romantic, or otherwise—by itself does not consent to any sexual act.
However, the existence of a prior romantic relationship may help form the foundation for the explanation of consent as a defense to an accusation of sexual assault.
Additionally, consent cannot be freely given if an individual is incapacitated or impaired in some way.
For example, someone cannot always freely give consent if they have a developmental disability or mental illness. A person also cannot freely give consent when they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, whether or not they chose to use them.
Contact a Criminal Attorney in St. Paul Today
An accusation or conviction of a criminal sex offense is a serious matter. These crimes are aggressively prosecuted in Minnesota and should not be taken lightly.
Charges can range from a misdemeanor to a felony, and a conviction can carry a sentence of up to thirty years imprisonment.
If you or a loved one has been accused of committing a criminal sex offense, you need a detail-oriented, accessible, and thorough attorney with experience in the area.
We are dedicated to being there for you every step of the way and pride ourselves on the access we give our clients. Contact us today to speak with our experienced attorneys.