How Is Criminal Sexual Conduct Defined in Minnesota?
Laws are complicated. What isn’t hard to understand, however, is how stressful and damaging it is to be charged with a sex crime in Minnesota—no matter the specific charge. A mere accusation of sexual misconduct can place a stigma on a person long before they face official charges.
It is hard to want to fight to protect your rights when it feels your community is against you, not to mention when you can barely understand what you are accused of doing. This article serves as a basic guide to what certain sex crime charges mean in the state of Minnesota.
What Makes One Criminal Sexual Conduct Charge More Severe Than the Next?
Minnesota classifies five different levels of CSC charges; first-degree cases are the most severe, while fifth-degree cases generally come with a lesser punishment should they end in conviction. CSC charges in the first, second, third, and fourth degrees are felony-level. Fifth-degree CSC charges are misdemeanors.
Prosecutors classify each case depending on the unique circumstances behind the alleged incident. Below is an overview of the issues commonly taken into account, though this brief rundown should not serve as adequate information to best understand state laws or your case.
4 Key Factors of Criminal Sexual Conduct Charges
Minnesota statutes lay out four key factors for charging someone with criminal sexual conduct. They are penetration, age, violence, and life position.
This is pretty straightforward. If a supposed victim was penetrated during the incident, the legal system handles the case more seriously. Someone can still be charged with second-degree CSC without penetration being involved. That means other details make the alleged incident more severe, such as age, use of force, weapons, etc.
The age of an alleged victim plays a significant role in sex crime cases. What also matters is the age difference between the defendant and his or her supposed victim/s.
If a victim is 13 years old or younger and the defendant is at least three years older, the charge will be CSC in the first degree. But if the supposed victim is 13 years or younger with a defendant who is less than three years older, the classification is lessened to a third-degree case.
If a weapon was present during an alleged incident, the level will be escalated. Charges of CSC are more severe if a supposed victim suffered bodily harm or was in reasonable fear of being hurt.
4. Life Position
If a defendant is at least four years older and a source of authority for an alleged victim between the ages of 13 to 16, the criminal charge is more serious. This could be a teacher, camp counselor, youth group leader, etc.
When Life Gets Complicated Due to a Sex Crime Allegation, Get Legal Help
There are so many factors involved in criminal sexual conduct cases, and laws change over time. Don’t assume anything about your case—and do not wait to talk to an experienced criminal defense team you trust.
The attorneys of White & Associates are quick to help protect you against the potential damage of sex crime allegations. Call us at 763-241-0477 or contact us online to discuss the trouble you are facing.