Because they must cover a wide variety of conduct, Minnesota’s Criminal Sexual Conduct laws are extremely complex. A few of these incidents start rather innocently and end rather badly. Most of them start very badly and end even worse. If proven in court, all these incidents deserve stiff punishment, but some are obviously worse than others.
Largely depending on the facts, St. Paul felony lawyers may have several defensive options. In a few cases, consent may be a defense. In almost all CSC cases, lack of proof may be an even better defense. That’s especially true if the prosecutor does not have solid physical evidence, like a DNA sample and a rape kit, or if such evidence is tainted.
Section 609.342 is basically the aggravated rape statute in Minnesota. If the alleged victim is under 13, sexual contact is sufficient. Here are some specifics:
First-degree CSC punishments are quite stiff. The maximum prison sentence is thirty years; the minimum is twelve years. Additionally, defendants must serve an additional ten years of conditional release (parole) after discharge. St. Paul felony lawyers may be able to reduce the minimum, but such reductions are difficult. Essentially, the judge, alleged victim, prosecutor, alleged victim’s family, and sex offender evaluator must all agree.
Section 609.343 is the aggravated sexual assault statute in Minnesota. The same aggravating circumstances described above apply in second-degree CSC prosecutions. However, there is no penetration requirement. Sexual contact is sufficient. That contact may occur while the alleged victim is fully clothed.
Significantly, coercion must accompany the sexual conduct. If the defendant cajoled, bribed, or paid for the sexual contact, the defendant may be guilty of another offense, but second-degree CSC charges will probably not hold up in court.
Since 609.343 is a slightly less serious offense than first-degree CSC, the punishment is a bit less severe. The maximum and minimum sentences drop to twenty-five years and seven years, respectively. The conditional release term is the same, as are the grounds for reducing the minimum sentence.
Section 609.344 is the non-aggravated rape statute. If the defendant penetrated the alleged victim and none of the above aggravating circumstances apply, Ramsey County prosecutors will charge the defendant with third-degree CSC. The penetration is illegal if the:
Once again, force or coercion is the most common third-degree CSC trigger. Most of the others are relationship-based.
There is no mandatory minimum prison sentence. Maximum incarceration for third-degree CSC is between five and fifteen years, depending on the facts. Convicted defendants must also serve a period of conditional release, but the length varies.
Section 609.345 is the non-aggravated sexual assault statute. Any non-consensual sexual contact is usually fourth-degree CSC. The maximum prison sentence is ten years, and there is no minimum. Once again, conditional release provisions usually apply, and a St. Paul felony lawyer may be able to reduce part of this sentence.
Section 609.346 is the final felony CSC law. This provision is basically aggravated indecent exposure. Defendants commit this offense if they attempt to remove the alleged victim’s clothes with the intent to sexually gratify themselves or expose themselves to minors under 16. Sometimes, fifth-degree CSC is a gross misdemeanor. The felony version could mean up to seven years in prison.
Regardless of the facts, CSC is one of the most severe offenses in Minnesota. For a free consultation with an experienced St. Paul felony lawyer, contact Capitol City Law Group, LLC. Go online now, call us at (651) 998-7634, or stop by 287 6th St E, Suite 20, St Paul, MN 55101.