Many different acts are considered sex crimes in Minnesota, but you wouldn’t know that from our laws.
While most states have a variety of uniquely named criminal sexual statutes on the books – sexual assault, sexual battery, and so on – our state uses the umbrella term “criminal sexual conduct” for most illegal sexual acts. There are exceptions, such as prostitution, but most violations fall under one of the five degrees of criminal sexual conduct defined by state lawmakers.
Depending on the degree of criminal sexual conduct that you have been charged with, a conviction can be incredibly serious, with the possibility of years of incarceration, significant fines, and the requirement to register as a sex offender. Additionally, there are the non-criminal consequences to your reputation, relationships, employment opportunities, and even residence requirements.
Because of this, it’s crucial to hire an experienced Minnesota defense attorney as early as possible in the process. They will be able to help you find the right defense for your specific situation and give you the best chance at receiving a positive outcome.
What kinds of defenses have proven successful in sex crime cases?
If you have a valid alibi that you were not in the same location as the alleged crime, you may have an effective defense. To back up your alibi, you will need a trail of supporting evidence. This may include receipts, ticket stubs, expense records, and reports from witnesses.
Even without a defensible alibi, it is still possible to argue that the prosecution is trying the wrong person. To support this type of argument, you would ideally want evidence such as a DNA test from the alleged crime scene that seems to show someone else was present rather than you.
Even if you admit that sexual contact occurred, you may be able to get charges dropped by arguing that the victim gave consent. One of the necessary elements for a sex crime conviction is that the victim experienced the act against their will. If consent was granted, the charges cannot stand.
However, the burden of proof is especially difficult when using a consent defense. Unless you have solid evidence pointing to the fact that consent was granted, your defense will be based on testimony, which may not be enough to help your case. A knowledgeable criminal attorney will be able to look at the facts of your case and tell you whether or not this defense is likely to work in your situation.
Additionally, this defense is not acceptable on its own if the alleged victim was a minor at the time of the offense. Which leads us to…
Assumed Victim Was of Consenting Age
If the alleged victim is a minor but you truly believed him or her to be of the age of consent, you may be able to use this defense. You would need to show that you made a reasonable query as to the victim’s age and that your behavior was not reckless in nature in order for this strategy to have a chance to work.
Victim’s Account Is False
In some cases, false allegations are made by the victim. Sometimes minors make false statements to show contempt for a parent or to go along with the other parent’s wishes, especially in bitter custody battles. If you are innocent of the charges, a skillful lawyer can help you fight back.
Mental Incapacity or Insanity
Typically, this is a defense of last resort. However, if the evidence is stacked against you and you have a history of mental illness, cognitive disfunction, or unstable behavior, it may be possible to show that you were mentally incapacitated at the time of the crime by employing expert testimony. If you are able to do this, it is possible that your charges might be reduced and the associated consequences lessened.
Bottom line? Sex crime charges are serious. Don’t delay in meeting with an attorney experienced in defending cases like yours. The sooner you reach out, the sooner we can work to protect your reputation and build a solid defense. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.
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).