Getting charged with a sex crime can have serious consequences — even if the charges are false, your life and reputation may be ruined! This is why, before entering any romantic relationship, it’s important to be aware of the age of your partner.
The “age of consent” is generally defined as the minimum age at which an individual is considered legally old enough to consent to participation in sexual activity. The age of consent varies by state, and ranges from 16 to 18 years old in the United States.
How about in our state?
What Is the Age of Consent in Minnesota?
In Minnesota, the age of consent is 16 years old. This means that if a person has consensual sexual intercourse with an individual under age 16, he or she may be prosecuted for statutory rape. However, if the offender is an authority figure, the age of consent is raised to 18.
Additionally, if the younger individual is between 13 and 15 years of age, their partner must be less than two years older. If the younger party is under 13, their partner must be less than three years older.
What About “Romeo and Juliet” Laws?
Many states have close in age exemptions, also known as “Romeo and Juliet” laws. These exemptions are designed to protect individuals who have consenual sexual intersourse when both are significantly close in age to each other and one or both partners are below the age of consent.
It is important to note that Minnesota does not have a “Romeo and Juliet” law. This means that if two individuals under the age of 16 have consensual sex, they can both be charged with statuatory rape. This is quite uncommon, however.
What Are the Punishments for Violating the Age Of Consent in Minnesota?
There are three types of criminal charges that can be brought against an individual for violating age of consent-related sex laws in Minnesota:
- Communication of Sexually Explicit Materials to Children (felony)
- Criminal sexual predatory conduct
- Solicitation of Children to Engage in Sexual Conduct (felony)
Both felony charges carry a punishment of imprisonment for not more than three years, payment of a fine of not more than $5,000, or both. For the charge of criminal sexual predatory conduct, the statutory maximum sentence will depend on the underlying predatory crime. There may also be a fine of up to $20,000.
Because of the stigma associated with sex crimes, many people are reluctant to ask questions and get advice. That’s when it’s important to consult with an experienced, knowledgeable lawyer.
About the Author:
Christopher Keyser is an AV-Preeminent rated criminal and DWI defense attorney based in Minneapolis who is known for fighting aggressively for his clients and utilizing innovative tactics to get the most positive results. He has been featured in numerous media outlets due to the breadth and depth of his knowledge and named a Certified Specialist in Criminal Law by the Minnesota Bar Association. Mr. Keyser is Lead Counsel rated, and he has received recognition for his criminal law work from Avvo, Expertise, Super Lawyers, The National Trial Lawyers, and more.