Being charged with criminal sexual conduct in Minnesota can be incredibly scary. No one wants a sex crime accusation hanging over their head, and the consequences are quite serious.
However, it is vital to remember that a charge is not a conviction. Your best chance at beating criminal sexual conduct charges in our state is to ensure you have a lawyer with experience in criminal matters like this by your side.
Here’s what you need to know about criminal sexual conduct charges in Minnesota and how you can get yours reduced, dropped, or dismissed.
Minnesota Criminal Sexual Conduct
In the eyes of the government, acts of criminal sexual conduct are not all the same. That’s why our state breaks them into five degrees. These are:
Criminal Sexual Conduct First Degree
This is the most serious offense of criminal sexual conduct under the Minnesota law. It applies to two kinds of cases:
- Those where the victim is between the ages of 13 and 16
- Those where a dangerous weapon was used to obtain sex
If found guilty, a person can be sentenced to 30 year of imprisonment and be responsible for fines of as much as $40,000.
Criminal Sexual Conduct Second Degree
The only difference between first and second-degree criminal sexual conduct is that no sexual penetration occurs. If convicted, a person can face up to 25 years behind bars and have to pay fines of as much as $35,000.
Criminal Sexual Conduct Third Degree
This degree is reserved for cases where the victim is under the age of 13 but within 36 months of the accused. However, it can also be used in cases where sexual penetration of a mentally or physically incapacitated person occurs.
If convicted, a person could go to prison for up to 15 years and be forced to pay fines of as much as $30,000.
Criminal Sexual Conduct Fourth Degree
This is often used when similar circumstances occur as in third-degree crimes but do not include sexual penetration. If convicted, a person can face up to 10 years of incarceration and be responsible for fines of as much as $12,000.
Criminal Sexual Conduct Fifth Degree
This is the least severe degree of criminal sexual conduct. It is charged in cases where a person has nonconsensual sexual contact or when someone commits a lewd act in the presence of a minor. It can result in seven years behind bars and fines of as much as $14,000.
Who Can Drop These Charges in MN?
In our state, the power to drop charges against a person rest in the hands of the prosecutor. It’s uncommon for a prosecutor to take this step, but it does happen. Typically, it occurs when a witness recants their testimony or refuses to testify, or when there is overwhelming evidence of innocence.
It’s up to you and your attorney to present the best defense possible. If there were procedural errors or you find a piece of evidence that proves your innocence, your attorney can present these findings to the prosecution and ask for the case to be dismissed.
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 has been 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.