Minnesota sexual assault and sex crimes lawyer and attorney

Sexual assault and sex crimes primer

What are the Penalties for Criminal Sexual Conduct in Minnesota?

There are few crimes more serious than criminal sexual conduct. In many ways, to be charged with criminal sexual conduct can be more serious than to be charged with homicide.

If convicted of criminal sexual conduct, many of these charges, if convicted, can lead to very long prison terms. Many convictions of criminal sexual conduct can lead to prison sentences of 144 months or longer.

In Minnesota, there are, most basically, five (5) different degrees of criminal sexual conduct.

The lowest level of 5th degree criminal sexual conduct. This is a gross misdemeanor. This would essentially involve a person “exposing” themselves to a minor under the age of 16, knowing or having reason to know the minor is present.

All other levels of criminal sexual conduct are felonies. They are usually distinguished by whether or not sexual “penetration” has occurred, or, just sexual “contact.” Sexual penetration involves sexual intercourse, or oral or anal sex, or essentially the touching of the genitals. Sexual contact usually involves touching of a person’s intimate parts, which include the primary genital area, groin, inner thigh, buttocks, or breast of a human being.

Other significant facts in relation to criminal sexual conduct are the age of the victim, and, whether the defendant was in a position of authority or something similar to that.

The most serious charge of criminal sexual conduct in the State of Minnesota is 1st degree criminal sexual conduct. The maximum sentence is 30 years in prison and/or a $40,000.00 fine or both. Significant potential factors in the crime of criminal sexual conduct in the 1st degree can be where the crime involved sexual penetration and the victim was under 13 years of age, or the actor inflicted fear of imminent great bodily harm, or the actor used a dangerous weapon, or force or coercion was used, etc.

The second most serious charge of criminal sexual conduct in the State of Minnesota is 2nd degree criminal sexual conduct. The maximum penalty is up to 25 years in prison and/or a $35,000.00 fine. Usually, the fine is not much of a concern. Second degree criminal sexual conduct involves “sexual contact,” as opposed to sexual penetration. These cases can also involve minors under the age of 13 or 16. Please note that a person under the age of 18 years ago is a child, and the law deems that children cannot consent to sex. An example of 2nd degree criminal sexual conduct is where the victim is under 13 years of age and the defendant is more than 36 months older than the victim. Another example is where the victim is between 13 and 16 years old, and the defendant is more than 48 months older than the victim, and, in a position of authority (or some other similar relationship) over the victim and that the case involved sexual contact. Many cases involve specific ages of the victim and defendant. Other factors can involve causing reasonable fear of imminent great bodily harm, being armed with dangerous weapon, causing personal injury, the use of force or coercion, or the victim is mentally impaired, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless.

The next most serious level of criminal sexual conduct is 3rd degree criminal sexual conduct. Third degree criminal sexual conduct involves sexual penetration. Important factors making a different in this crime is age of the victim, for example under 13 or under 16, the use of force or coerction, whether the victim was mentally impaired, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless, whether a significant relationship between the defendant and victim existed, whether or not personal injury was inflicted, whether or not multiple acts were involved, and whether the defendant was a psychotherapist, a member of the clergy, prison guard, or masseuse.

The least serious felony is 4th degree criminal sexual conduct. Fourth degree criminal sexual conduct involves sexual contact, not sexual penetration. Again, important factors which make a difference is whether or not the victim was under age 13, or between age 16 and 18, whether or not force or coercion was used, whether the victim was mentally impaired, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless, whether a significant relationship was involved, whether the victim suffered personal injury, and whether there were multiple acts or not.

Also, whether the defendant was a psychotherapist, clergy, state employee, bus driver, or masseuse can be significant. The maximum penalty for 4th degree criminal sexual conduct is up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000.00 fine or both. A person convicted may also be subject to a conditional release term. A conviction of a felony can also result in negative immigration consequences for non-citizens.

For questions and clarification, please contact Minneapolis criminal defense attorney Lynne Torgerson – you can call her at (612) 339-5073.




DISCLAIMER: Throughout this website, there are statements on various laws. Please note that this is not legal advice, and no reliance
should be taken thereon, and an attorney client relationship is not established hereby. Further, please note that these legal statements
may not currently be up to date, because the laws can change daily, and this website does not. Thus, you will always need to actually retain a lawyer
to establish an attorney client relationship, to rely upon any advice, and to obtain up-to-date legal research. Thank you.



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