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Criminal Sexual Conduct

Minnesota Criminal Sexual Conduct Attorney

Sex crimes happen more frequently than people probably realize.  Being accused of this type of offense is difficult enough, let alone the prospect of being convicted. The stigma of such an accusation is quite powerful and, whether guilty or not, the embarrassment can be overwhelming.  Defending these offenses can be difficult; often the allegations are “he said/she said” in nature, where credibility becomes the sole issue at trial.  Having an experienced defense lawyer is essential if you are charged with a sex offense.

Fighting Sexual Offense Charges

Most of us think a criminal sexual conduct charge happens as a result of a man attacking an unsuspecting woman and has non-consensual intercourse.  Although this certainly is a form of criminal sexual conduct, it is not the most common.

A more common occurrence is when young adults are drinking and have sexual intercourse. One of the parties may not remember consenting to the act. If a person was intoxicated to the point they were unable to consent, a criminal sexual conduct is a viable charge.

Moreover, Minnesota has what are called “status offenses” which deals with the age of the parties involved in sexual conduct. In Minnesota, the age of consent is 16.  If a 15  year-old has a consensual sex with a 18 year-old, it is a crime simply due to age.  This is a status offense.

There are different types of sexual-based offenses that include:

Comprehensive Sex Crimes Defense

Carson J. Heefner has over 20 years experience defending individuals accused of a wide variety of criminal sexual conduct offenses.  Carson knows the law, and isn’t intimidated by prosecutors or judges. He will investigate your case and prepare a solid and strategic defense against the charges. He is experienced in the negotiation of favorable plea agreements, but can also aggressively defend you at trial. Furthermore, he has many resources at his disposal. From counselors and evaluators, to investigators and other professionals, he can immediately begin work on your defense by identifying defenses and mitigating factors that can be used to negotiate dismissals or other favorable outcomes.

Call Carson today at 612-202-8971 to schedule a free consultation.

Criminal Sexual Conduct Factors

There are many factors that influence the exact charge, which impacts the outcome of the case. Those factors include, but are not limited to:

  • The age of the victim
  • The age difference between the victim and the defendant
  • Whether there was force
  • The presence of coercion or threats
  • Whether the defendant was in a position of authority over the victim
  • Whether the victim was incapacitated by a mood-altering substance.

Minnesota Criminal Sexual Conduct Laws

Minnesota has five levels, or degrees, of criminal sexual conduct laws on the books:

First Degree

This is a felony, with a maximum punishment of 30 days in jail and  $40,000 fine.  The most common First Degree charge is when the victim is under the age of 13 (this can be charged if there is sexual contact OR penetration).  However, it also applies if the victim is between the ages of 13 and 16, and certain other factors are present, such as the age difference between the parties, and the relationship between the parties.  It also applies when a weapon was used, or injury resulted from the conduct.  These scenarios require penetration, not just sexual contact.
See: Minn.Stat.§609.342

Second Degree

This is a felony, with a maximum punishment of 25 years in prison and a $35,000 fine.  It is essentially the same as First Degree, the main difference being that the allegations must involve sexual contact rather than penetration.

See: Minn.Stat.§609.343

Third Degree

This is a felony, with a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison or a $30,000 fine.  This offense requires penetration, and primarily addresses the age difference between the parties.  For example, it applies if the victim is under the age of 13 and the other party is no more than 36 months older, or the victim is between 13 and 16, and the other party is more than 24 months older. It also applies if force or coercion was involved, or the victim was incapacitated.

See: Minn.Stat.§609.344

Fourth Degree

This is a felony, with a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.  It is essentially the same as Third Degree, the main difference being that the allegations must involve sexual contact rather than penetration.

See: Minn.Stat.§609.345

Fifth Degree

This is a Gross Misdemeanor, with a maximum penalty of 1 year in jail and a $3,000 fine.  If there has been a prior convition, it is a felony. A person can be charged with fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct if they have engaged in non-consensual sexual contact, exhibition/masturbation in front of a minor, or other such offense.

See: Minn.Stat.§609.3451

Collateral Consequences

The collateral consequences that can result from a criminal sexual conduct conviction are very serious and life-changing. They can be detrimental to many aspects of a person’s life. The following are examples of collateral consequences:

  • Must undergo a sexual offender evaluation
  • Must complete sex offender treatment
  • Must register as a sex offender with community notification
  • Lengthy prison sentences
  • Lengthy probation periods
  • Large fines
  • Loss of job
  • Loss of housing

Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Carson J. Heefner Today

Carson J. Heefner has over 20 years experience representing those charged with criminal sexual conduct.  If you or someone you know has been charged with a sex offense, contact Carson at 612-202-8971.