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In today’s societal climate, more and more sexual assault allegations arise every day. Many allegations result in serious criminal charges, which can lead to convictions with harsh penalties and long-term consequences. Even being accused of sexual assault can affect your reputation and many other aspects of your life. You need a highly experienced criminal defense law firm behind you that can begin mitigating the effects of an accusation right away.
There are different degrees of sexual assault charges in Minnesota, depending on the specifics of the allegations. These charges range from fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct, which can involve any nonconsensual sexual touching, to first-degree that involves any nonconsensual sexual penetration or sexual contact with a person under age 13 when certain aggravating factors are present. The elements of each degree are different, so you should have an attorney who fully understands the complexities of sexual assault laws in our state.
It is important to avoid a conviction for sexual assault whenever possible because the penalties can be so severe. Some of the maximum penalties are as follows:
These penalties can be increased based on prior convictions and other aggravating factors, such as using a deadly weapon or the identity of the victim.
In addition to the above penalties such as probation, imprisonment, and fines, most offenders convicted of sexual crimes must register with the Minnesota Predatory Offender Registry. This involves reporting personal information to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA). Your information would be available online for anyone to access, including potential employers, landlords, or people in personal relationships. Often, this can impact your life long after you complete any prison sentence.
Because the stakes are so high in any sexual assault case, you need the highest quality of defense representation. Defending against sexual assault cases can be particularly complex, often due to the nature of evidence involved.
In some situations, someone who claims to be the victim of sexual assault involving penetration may go to the police or the hospital soon after the alleged incident. Medical professionals may conduct an examination and take samples to potentially identify the attacker. If DNA matches yours, it can be extremely persuasive evidence against you for a jury. However, DNA evidence is not infallible, and you need a defense law firm with the resources to challenge this evidence.
First, the forensic lab may make errors when testing tissue or fluid samples, which can make the results of a DNA test unreliable. Also, just because evidence indicates that you were involved in a sexual encounter does not mean that it was nonconsensual.
When it comes to the matter of consent, it can be a he-said, she-said matter. The prosecutor will likely only have circumstantial evidence that a victim did not consent, and you want a defense lawyer who knows how to challenge this type of evidence. To make matters more challenging, the rules of evidence prevent defendants from presenting certain evidence of a victim’s sexual history or involving similar matters in many cases. Our attorneys know how to engage in effective motion practice and trial work to prevent a wrongful conviction whenever we can.
In some cases, the best option is to reach a favorable plea deal with the prosecutor. The right plea bargain may allow you to avoid time in jail or even a conviction on your record. We work to get charges and sentences reduced as much as possible. In many situations, we may be able to get charges completely dropped before a case even gets to trial.
The skilled criminal defense attorneys at Capitol City Law Group know that a sexual assault conviction can affect your life for years or even decades to come. We also know that defending against these charges requires a thorough understanding for Minnesota criminal law and the rules of evidence. We examine law enforcement actions and interview witnesses to build the most effective defense possible in each sex-related case.
The sooner you call, the sooner we can begin our investigation into the allegations against you and the circumstances of your arrest. After an arrest, always call our office before ever talking to police. Do not wait to request a free case evaluation by calling 651-212-4073 or contacting us online.