Facing charges for criminal sexual conduct can upend your life. The prospect of having to register as a sex offender, not to mention the substantial prison time and large fines, often feel unmanageable without legal guidance from a skilled professional.
Fortunately, you do not have to take on these charges alone. A Duluth sex crimes lawyer could build a strong defense on your behalf and help plead your case before the court. Contacting a devoted criminal defense attorney could also afford you a deeper understanding of the charges you are facing and the repercussions they could have on your future.
How Criminal Sexual Conduct is Defined in Duluth
State law has established statutory degrees for what the state defines as “criminal sexual conduct.” Criminal sexual conduct includes, but is not limited to:
- Child molestation
- Child sexual abuse
- Statutory rape
- Lewd conduct
- Non-consensual sexual touching
The penalties associated with any act of criminal sexual misconduct depend on the degree of the charge. A seasoned local lawyer understands what constitutes a sex crime and could help build the best possible defense for those facing criminal charges.
Penalties for Criminal Sexual Conduct
State law divides criminal sexual conduct into five degrees. Many factors, including the involved party’s age and mental state or the presence of penetration, influence the degree of a sex crime. Depending on the circumstances, a sex crimes lawyer in Duluth could argue on behalf of a defendant for a lower degree of offense than the original charge.
The first category of criminal sexual conduct is fifth-degree sexual conduct, which generally involves acts such as non-consensual sexual touching or lewd conduct. Individuals convicted of fifth-degree sexual conduct can face a maximum of one year in prison and/or a $3,000 fine, though penalties increase for repeat offenders.
Fourth-degree sexual misconduct includes circumstances where one person holds power over another. Proof of penetration is not required for a fourth-degree charge. Defendants could be subject to up to 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine.
Statutory rape is generally prosecuted as third-degree criminal sexual conduct. Statutory rape can occur between two minors or between a legal adult and a minor who are close in age.
This charge can also apply in situations similar to second-degree assault but with proof that penetration occurred. Penalties for third-degree sexual assault can include a maximum of 15 years in prison and up to $30,000 in fines.
Second-degree criminal sexual conduct involves sexual contact without penetration. This charge also requires an additional circumstance, such as physical helplessness or the presence of a weapon. A conviction for this degree can result in up to 25 years in prison and up to a $30,000 fine.
The highest level of criminal sexual conduct charge is first-degree sexual conduct. This degree requires proof of penetration and the existence of another aggravating factor, such as involving a child that is under the age of 13. If charged with first-degree sexual conduct, a defendant could face up to 30 years in prison and/or a fine of $40,000.
Get in Touch with an Experienced Duluth Sex Crimes Attorney
Sex crime charges can have long-lasting consequences. It can be incredibly difficult to obtain employment and housing if a sex crime conviction follows you into your future.
When facing charges like these, it is critical to understand that you have legal options for protecting your rights and your future. A knowledgeable Duluth sex crimes lawyer could build a strong defense on your behalf and fight for you in court. Contact our team today to discuss how we can support you.