Every year, some men and women in Minnesota find themselves facing charges for criminal sexual conduct. This is any unlawful sexual activity — such as rape or sexual assault. The penalties if convicted on such offenses can be significant.
Charges will fall under one of five categories
There are of sexual assault recognized by the state. Fifth degree is the least severe and refers to nonconsensual sexual contact or exposure — no penetration. Fourth degree is a step up but still does not involve penetration. This level of charge may be filed if the victim is a minor or if the accused is a person in a position of trust — such as clergy, counselor, therapist, driver or is a family member.
Third-degree sexual assault is similar to fourth degree; however, penetration is required. Second-degree charges may be filed in cases where sexual contact occurs, with or without penetration, if the victim was a minor, if the accused coerced the victim or if the accused has some type of relationship to the victim — among other things. Finally, first-degree criminal sexual conduct charges may be filed if an individual is accused of sexually penetrating a victim — adult or minor — without their consent, if armed with a weapon, if the victim had reason to fear for his or her life, if one is an accomplice to an assault or if the accused has some sort of significant relationship with the victim.
The penalties for criminal sexual conduct include up to 30 years imprisonment, fines up to $35,000, probation and court-ordered rehabilitation. On top of that, one’s name will be placed on the sex offender registry. In some cases, it may be possible to stay minimum sentences, but that is up to the court.