Minnesota Sex Crimes Overview
If you or a family member is arrested for a sexual conduct offense is an extremely disturbing scenario for any loved one to go through. There are many questions that may pop into someone's head after learning that a loved one has been arrested and convicted of a sexual conduct offense in the state of Minnesota: What are the possibilities of charges that may be put forth, such as sentencing and fines? What does bail look like for someone being charged with criminal sexual conduct? What are the other factors that play a role in sentencing and placing charges? It is important to note in the state of Minnesota the law does not have a specific outline to follow for sexual conduct or rape, but rather a series of five different degrees that covers a multitude of different actions and behaviors.
In Minnesota, according to statute 609.342, first-degree criminal sexual conduct refers to the actions of a person who is arrested for a sexual conduct offense. A first-degree criminal sexual assault is a crime that includes not only sexual penetration, but includes one of the following factors as well:
- Sexual contact with a minor under 13 years of age;
- Sexual contact with a minor between the ages of 13-16 by someone who is at least four years older and in a position of authority;
- Victim feels unsafe due to fear of bodily harm, use of coercion and force, and/or presence of a weapon or use of threats;
- Victim is mentally unstable and/or physically helpless.
A first-degree criminal sexual conduct charge is most commonly seen in cases involving child molestation, child sexual abuse, and forced rape. The penalties for someone who is convicted with a first-degree criminal sexual conduct in the state of Minnesota include both a fine up to $40,000 and a maximum prison sentence of 30 years. The minimum prison sentence for a first-degree criminal sexual conduct conviction is 12 years, yet release is dependent on submitting to follow a sex offender treatment and monitoring.
Similar to first-degree criminal sexual conduct, according to statute 609.343, a second-degree criminal sexual conduct in Minnesota follows the same guidelines as above, but sexual penetration is not a part of the equation, solely sexual contact. The penalties for someone who is convicted with a second-degree criminal sexual conduct charge include both a fine up to $35,000 and a maximum prison sentence of 25 years. Also similar to a first-degree charge, a person who is charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct is subject to release depending on submitting to follow sex offender treatment and monitoring after serving a prison sentence of at least 7.5 years. It is important to note that it is common for defendants to be charged with both first-degree and second-degree charges.
According to statute 609.344, third-degree criminal sexual conduct in Minnesota includes statutory rape, where sexual penetration occurs with a complainant who is a minor, but the defendant is also a minor or an adult close in age. Not only does a third-degree charge apply to statutory rape, but it also applies to sexual penetration by a person in certain authoritative positions, such as correctional facility staff, peace officers, clergy members, or psychotherapists. A third-degree criminal sexual conduct charge is commonly seen in cases that involve the use of alcohol, with a victim not providing adequate consent for sexual activity. The penalty for a third-degree criminal sexual conduct charge includes both a fine of up to $30,000 and a maximum prison sentence of 15 years. Similar to the first and second-degree charges, someone is convicted of third-degree criminal sexual conduct is subject to release depending on submission to follow sex offender treatment and monitoring upwards of 10 years.
With many similarities to the third-degree criminal sexual conduct, fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct in Minnesota follows much of the same outline as a third-degree charge according to statute 609.345. The main difference is that a third-degree charge includes sexual penetration and a fourth-degree charge does not include sexual penetration, solely sexual contact. This statute punishes sexual contact under any given circumstance of a third-degree offense. The penalty for a person charged with a fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct charge is not only a fine of up to $20,000, but also a prison sentence up to 10 years. A conviction of either third-degree or fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct in the state of Minnesota typically requires a complainant to register as a sex offender and follow all protocols for upwards of 10 years.
The fifth-degree of criminal sexual conduct in Minnesota refers to any type of non-consensual sexual interaction with anyone, according to statute 609.3451. It also includes masturbation or showing genitalia to any person under the age of 16, non-consensual touching of private body parts performed with malicious sexual intent, and/or the removal of clothing that covers private body parts. For first time offenders of the fifth-degree, there is a punishment of up to 365 days in prison and a fine up to $3,000. Repeat offenders of the fifth-degree can be charged with a felony that is punishable by a prison sentence of up to 7 years and a fine up to $14,000.
You may be wondering, how does the bail system work for Minnesota sex crime cases? The bail hearing is arguably the most important in any given criminal case, as the judge will determine the number of bail necessary and impose other conditions of release. In order to be released from custody, the arrestee must be able to post bail in cash or through a bail bondsman. If the arrestee cannot afford to pay the bail, they must wait in jail while their case is pending. Sitting and waiting in jail is devastating to an arrestee's family and well-being as a whole, as the stress of being in jail for an extended period of time can lead to losing government benefits and potentially losing their job. It is necessary to have an experienced attorney at all stages of an arrestee's case, especially the bail hearing, as bail can cause many issues for not only the arrestee, but also their family and loved ones.
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Convictions of criminal sexual conduct in Minnesota often come with severe consequences. If you or someone you know is arrested for a sexual crime, it is crucial to contact an attorney who is experienced in handing sexual misconduct cases. Not only do the criminal penalties assessed to a convict have a devastating impact on their financial situation, but these penalties can have awful collateral impacts on a convict's family, social network, and workplace. If you or a loved one is involved in a case of criminal sexual conduct in Minnesota, it is in the best interest to immediately contact an attorney at BK Law Group to help avoid a severe punishment.