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Criminal Sexual Conduct

Overview of Minnesota Criminal Sexual Conduct Laws

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Most sex crime charges in Minnesota are based on Minnesota’s Criminal Sexual Conduct statutes, Sections 609.342 through 609.3451.  And these are Criminal Sexual Conduct — First Degree through Fifth Degree.  The first degree crime has the most severe penalty.

All are felony crimes, except some fifth degree crimes.

Predatory Offender Registration

For Criminal Sexual Conduct crimes, a conviction of any crime out of the same circumstance, triggers Minnesota’s Predatory Offender Registration statute requirement. Minnesota Statutes Section 243.166.

But there is one exception which depends upon the Complaint.  So, if the most serious charge in the Complaint is Criminal Sexual Conduct fifth degree; it does not trigger registration.

The Scarlet Letter
The Scarlet Letter

People accused do not want the registration requirement.

If convicted of a crime that triggers registration, the requirement extends at least ten years.

Failure to register is a crime with prison if convicted; as well as an extension of the registration requirement, up to life.

The only way to avoid registration is to avoid the conviction in the first place.  So learn more about it on our page: Minnesota Predatory Offender Registration, or call Minneapolis Sex Crimes Attorney Thomas Gallagher.

Gallagher Criminal Defense manages the defense of these cases to avoid the registration requirement.

Factors Affecting Severity Level and Penalty

Minnesota’s Criminal Sexual Conduct (Crim Sex or CSC) statutes use many factors to rank severity of penalties.  And in the end, we must look to the statutes for specifics.  But we can make some general observations.

Crim Sex 1st & 3rd Degree crimes allege penetration.

And Crim Sex 2nd & 4th Degree crimes allege sexual contact.

But Crim Sex 5th Degree can involve either sexual contact or indecent exposure to a minor under age 16.  And there are multiple definitions of “sexual contact” that require special attention, depending upon the charge.

Other Statutory Factors to Determine Severity Level & Sentence 

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  • ages of the people involved
  • reasonable fear of imminent great bodily harm
  • personal injury
  • force or coercion
  • mentally impaired, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless
  • “significant relationship” (i.e., incest plus)
  • “position of authority”
  • special occupations (see below)

Defenses to Minnesota Criminal Sexual Conduct charges

In addition to defenses that apply to all criminal cases, some defenses are specific to Criminal Sexual Conduct claims.

DNA evidence in Minnesota Criminal Sexual Conduct cases
DNA evidence in Minnesota Criminal Sexual Conduct cases

For example, if charges claim penetration or sexual contact, those claims may be false. And if so, we can defend the case by pointing out the lack of evidence proving the claims.

For charges of force or coercion, the defense can point out the lack of proof of those claims.

Where relative ages are an element of the crime under the charging statute, the statute attempts to remove knowledge of age as a defense. But sometimes it is a defense.

If the prosecution must prove relationship status, the lack of the alleged relationship is a defense.  And when the state asserts a position of authority, sometimes the facts do not support the claim.

Occupational Crimes

Making a lawful act a crime based upon a person’s occupation alone is controversial.  But people in these occupations are more vulnerable to false allegations.

And the Minnesota Criminal Sexual Conduct Statutes’ criminalizing people by occupation, limit the crimes to special circumstances.

Occupations include:

  • psychotherapist
  • clergy
  • agent of a correctional, or secure treatment facility
  • actor provides special transportation service
  • massage or other bodywork for hire
Thomas Gallagher, Defense Lawyer in Minneapolis
Thomas Gallagher, Defense Lawyer in Minneapolis

So we can defend these charges by challenging the claims of these special circumstances .

Question?  You can call Minneapolis Criminal Sexual Conduct Lawyer Thomas Gallagher at 612 333-1500