What can we expect when a juvenile is charged with a sex crime in Minnesota? Prosecutors use the same Criminal Sexual Conduct statutes to charge adults and juveniles. But juveniles are under 18 years old.
Juveniles charged with sex crimes
Traditional juvenile courts date back to social reforms of the late 19th Century. Then, other social justice movements also reformed abuses in child labor, slavery, women’s rights. But before that, prosecutors charged children with crimes the same as adults, with similar consequences if convicted.
A key reform of the “juvenile court” for children accused of crimes was a shift away from punishment, towards rehabilitation. And today, rehabilitation is still the primary goal of traditional juvenile court.
Anonymity (privacy) means the opportunity to rehabilitate and become a full, productive member of society. Juvenile court records on delinquency cases were non-public, private data, protected by law.
But that changed in recent decades. Exceptions to closed juvenile records have grown in Minnesota. So now, juvenile records are public for felonies for children 16 or older at the time of the alleged act.
This means that Minnesota juvenile delinquency records are now generally non-public for children under 16 years old. And this serves the public policy of giving younger juveniles a second chance to rehabilitate. So with anonymity, the reformed young person can live a normal life, without a public criminal record destroying their future.
Injustice: juvenile sex crime charges
Minnesota’s ill-conceived sex offender registration statute, requires any juvenile adjudicated for a sex crime, to register as a predatory offender. This means that their “adjudication” (roughly equal to a conviction for an adult) for a sex offense is more public. And that includes 11 year-olds on up through 17 year-olds.
But this law is even worse, since most sex crimes in Minnesota are not common law rape crimes. Instead, most involve consensual acts of a sexual nature where the crime is based upon an age difference. Juveniles are charged with crimes for consensual relationship solely due to an age difference.
And we sometimes refer to these as Romeo and Juliet age-based sex crime cases.
What is sexting?
The term “sexting” refers to sending sexual images, usually depicting the sender, via text messaging. And various phone apps, like Snapchat, can also be tools for sexting. But when a person under-18 takes pornographic selfies, a prosecutor could charge them with child pornography, a felony sex crime.
And prosecutors can charge other crimes related to sexting, as well. Young people are still learning about the law. But when a child faces a sexting charge; a juvenile sex crimes defense attorney can help.
Why Thomas Gallagher, Juvenile Sex Crimes Attorney
The way to prevent the Registration problem begins with preventing adjudication (conviction) of your juvenile.
Minnesota sex crimes lawyer Thomas Gallagher has defended juveniles against claims like this since 1988.
So he has been serving clients as a Minnesota juvenile defense lawyer for decades.
And his formula for success is simple. Help the client understand the legal threats and, yes, opportunities. The client sets a goal for outcome of the case. And then we lay out the path to get there.
Hard work, and perseverance pay off. But we can’t do it without the client. Attorney Thomas Gallagher listens and understands. He coaches and leads the way to the desired outcome.
And Attorney Thomas Gallagher is an expert guide. He’s been doing it for decades. So he can do it again for you. Attorney Thomas Gallagher has helped many juvenile clients charged with sex crimes avoid adjudication. And he welcomes calls to discuss representation in a phone consultation.