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How Minnesota Prosecutors Get Sexual Assault Convictions
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How Minnesota Prosecutors Get Sexual Assault Convictions

 

In our country, sexual assault and rape are taken seriously. Not only can a conviction put you behind bars, but it can also affect everything else in your personal and professional life.

 

Here in Minnesota, we refer to sexual assault and rape as criminal sexual conduct, with five different degree classifications. If you’ve been charged with any degree of criminal sexual conduct, it’s important to understand your charges and penalties so you can then understand what prosecutors need to prove in order to get a conviction.

 

Criminal Sexual Conduct in Minnesota

 

The five different degrees of criminal sexual conduct vary depending on whether there was sexual penetration or not and whether the conduct was more or less aggravated. Let’s detail the different charges now.

 

Criminal Sexual Conduct in the First and Second Degree

 

Criminal sexual conduct in the first degree is the most severe sexual conduct offense. A person commits this crime if he engages in sexual penetration with another person OR sexual contact with someone under 13 AND any of the following circumstances exist:

 

  • The victim is less than 13 years old and the actor is more than three years older than the victim;
  • The victim’s age is 13-16 and the actor is more than four years older and uses a position of authority;
  • The victim has a reasonable fear of imminent great bodily harm to self or others;
  • The actor has a dangerous weapon or uses something the victim thinks is a dangerous weapon and uses or threatens to use the weapon;
  • The actor injures the victim and either: uses force or coercion to accomplish sexual penetration or knows the victim is mentally impaired or physically helpless;
  • The actor has an accomplice and the accomplice either: uses force or coercion or is armed with a dangerous weapon;
  • The victim is under 16 years old, the actor has a significant relationship with the victim, and either: the actor/accomplice used force or coercion to accomplish penetration, or the victim was injured injury, or the sexual abuse involved multiple acts over an extended time period.

 

Criminal sexual conduct in the first degree is a felony offense punishable by up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $40,000.

 

Minneapolis Sexual Assault Lawyer

 

A person commits criminal sexual conduct in the second degree – punishable by up to 25 years in prison and fines up to $25,000 – if he engages in sexual conduct – not sexual penetration – and any of the circumstances for first degree criminal sexual conduct exist.

 

Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Third and Fourth Degree

 

A person commits criminal sexual assault in the third degree if he engages in sexual penetration with another person and any of the following circumstances exists:

 

  • The victim is under 13 years of age and the actor is no more than 36 months older than the victim;
  • The victim’s is between 13 and 16 and the actor is more than 24 months older than the victim;
  • The actor uses force or coercion to accomplish the penetration;
  • The actor knows or thinks the victim is mentally impaired or physically helpless;
  • The victim is between 16 and 18 and the actor is more than 48 months older than the victim and in a position of authority;
  • The actor has a significant relationship to the victim, who is between 16 and 18 years of age and used force or coercion, injured the victim, or multiple sexual abuse acts were committed over an extended period of time;
  • The actor is a psychotherapist and the victim is a patient; or
  • The actor has another occupation explicitly stated in the statutes.

 

Criminal sexual conduct in the third degree is a felony offense punishable by up to 15 years in prison and fines up to $30,000.

 

A person commits criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree – punishable by up to 10 years in prison and fines up to $20,000 – if he engages in sexual conduct – not sexual penetration – and any of the circumstances for third degree criminal sexual conduct exist.

 

Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Fifth Degree

 

Criminal sexual conduct in the fifth degree is the least severe sexual conduct offense. A person commits this crime if the actor engages in nonconsensual contact with any victim or the actor engages in masturbation or lewd exhibition of the genitals in the presence of a minor under age 16, knowing the minor is present.

 

Criminal sexual conduct in the fifth degree is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and fines up to $3,000.

 

Proving Criminal Sexual Conduct

 

Proving Criminal Sexual Conduct

 

In order for a prosecutor to get a criminal sexual conduct conviction, he or she needs to prove all of the elements of the statute beyond a reasonable doubt. If one element of the crime can’t be proven, then the defendant should be acquitted.

 

That’s why, if you’ve been charged with criminal sexual conduct, you should contact an experienced Minnesota criminal sexual conduct defense attorney. A skilled attorney understands how to poke holes in the prosecution’s case to increase your chances of getting your charges reduced, dropped, or dismissed.

 

 

About the Author:

 

Christopher Keyser is a Minneapolis-based criminal and DWI defense attorney 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 recognized as a Minnesota Super Lawyers Rising Star (2014–2015), a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013–2015), and a Top 40 Under 40 Attorney (2013–2015).

 


If You Need a Top Minnesota Criminal Lawyer Call 312-338-5007

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