How Much Does a Criminal Sexual Conduct Lawyer Charge in Minnesota?
Criminal sexual conduct lawyer in Minnesota charge per hour. As a result, the cost of defense depends on the case. Complex cases with trial and appeals can go well into the five figures and beyond. On the other hand, a simple case with a few court appearances may cost a few thousand dollars.
Accusations of sex crimes can ruin your life, even when the state lacks evidence for a conviction. Though our constitution holds defendants innocent until proven guilty, many people assume those accused of sex crimes must be guilty.
Furthermore, even if the state fails to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, defendants can face devastating lawsuits with punitive damages. In civil court, the plaintiff must prove the claim by a preponderance of the evidence. A preponderance of the evidence means more likely than not. In essence, if a jury believes the accusations, they can find the defendant guilty even if they have a reasonable doubt about his guilt.
With years in prison and potential civil suits on the horizon, you need an effective criminal sexual conduct lawyer in Minnesota as soon as a sex crime allegation is leveled against you. Your attorney ensures you avoid saying anything that could be misconstrued as evidence against you or an admission.
Also, he builds a strong defense that establishes reasonable doubt. Though you may still need to defend yourself in civil court, you are always better off if the criminal case fails.
Many innocent people end up in maximum security prisons for false sex crime convictions. In the current political environment, prosecutors face pressure to charge sex crimes despite insufficient evidence. In some situations, law enforcement tries to bolster a weak case by falsely claiming the defendant confessed. For this reason, never speak to law enforcement or anyone else about the allegations until you consult a criminal sexual conduct lawyer in Minnesota.
What Is a Sex Crime in Minnesota?
In Minnesota, the term sex crime involves numerous crimes involving sexual violence or coercion. Because sex crimes are such a heinous violation of the victim’s human rights and exceptionally traumatizing, the state punishes them severely.
In addition, the state has an interest in preventing sex offenders from victimizing innocent people again. As a result, the state creates many resources for the public to identify convinced sex offenders so they can protect themselves and their families.
While long prison sentences, sex offender registries, and long-term supervision are necessary to protect the public from monstrous acts, they can also be wrongly applied to innocent parties. A wrongful sex offense conviction is one of the worst miscarriages of justice because of the heavy penalties and lifelong stigma.
Most Sex Crime Convictions Last Forever in Minnesota
Minnesota law provides rehabilitated convicts with the opportunity to expunge past convictions. This is a good policy for some types of offenses. For example, it seems excessive to force a teenager who experimented with drugs to suffer for the rest of his life because of a drug possession conviction.
However, some crimes are so heinous they cannot be expunged. This is also a good policy because certain offenses have very high recidivism rates, including sex crimes.
In addition, many sexual predators lack the ability to control their behavior, even when risking extreme consequences, making them extremely dangerous. By publicly identifying these offenders, the state allows potential victims to avoid them.
However, the lack of ability to expunge sex crime convictions does significant injury to those wrongfully convicted. The only hope for these individuals to fully restore their civil rights and rehabilitate their reputations is to have the conviction vacated, a lengthy and challenging process.
Innocent people accused of sex crimes need a vigorous defense. They have no choice but to fight the charges in court and proclaim their innocence. Gerald Miller helps those accused of sex crimes they didn’t commit clear their names.
How Sex Crimes in Minnesota Work
Minnesota law presents unique dangers for innocent people accused of sex crimes. Unlike many other states, Minnesota lumps sex offenses together rather than using separate statutes for different crimes, such as rape and sexual abuse. This means that lower-level offenders or innocent people are branded with the same felony record as exceptionally violent and dangerous people.
As with drug offenses, Minnesota law establishes five degrees of criminal sexual conduct.
First-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct in Minnesota
First-degree criminal sexual conduct is the most serious sex-crime felony. To apply, the offender must have illegally penetrated the victim and other elements. The crime carries a minimum sentence of 12 years in prison and a maximum of 30. Additionally, convicts face a fine of up to $40,000. Misconduct covered by this law includes the following::
- Sexual contact with a person younger than 13 years of age
- Sexual contact with a person that is mentally unstable or physically helpless
- Sexual contact with a person that felt unsafe due to the threat of bodily harm
- Sexual contact with a minor aged between 13 and 16 by a person at least four years older
Second-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct in Minnesota
Second-degree criminal sexual conduct is similar to first-degree, except the crime involved no penetration with first-degree criminal sexual conduct. This offense applies in the same circumstances, including victims that were under the age of 13 or that are mentally unstable.
The maximum penalty is 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $35,000.
Third-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct in Minnesota
According to a criminal sexual conduct lawyer in Minnesota, Third-degree criminal sexual conduct is Minnesota’s statutory rape law. To apply, the offender must have penetrated a person legally unable to consent, such as a minor. This offense applies even when the offender and victim are close in age. This crime is frequently prosecuted against individuals who took advantage of their authority, such as a high school teacher, prison guard, or clergy member.
This crime carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $30,000.
Fourth-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct in Minnesota
Fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct is similar to third-degree offense, except no penetration is involved. The crime carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of as much as $20,000.
Fifth-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct in Minnesota
Fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct is a major felony that involves non-consensual sexual touching of children or lewdness in the presence of children. It carries a sentence of up to 7 years in prison and a fine of up to $14,000.
Federal Sex Crimes
Some sex crimes also qualify for prosecution under federal law. Federal sentences can far exceed those at the state level. Though the Constitution prohibits double jeopardy, the courts have upheld the dual sovereignty doctrine. According to these rulings, federal prosecutors can bring charges against defendants for the same crime charged in state court. As a result, defendants can be convicted and sensed twice. Also, the other sovereign (state or federal governments) can bring cases against those acquitted in the other system.
Essentially, dual sovereignty can give prosecutors a second bite at the apple.
For example, a Minnesota court may dismiss a sex crimes case for lack of evidence. Believing the defendant committed the crime, Minnesota prosecutors can theoretically hand the case to federal prosecutors, who can charge the same crime. For this to work, existing federal law must apply to the conduct.
Federal law also covers some additional offenses that may not violate Minnesota law. In that case, Minnesota prosecutors are barred from bringing a case in state court, but the feds can file in federal court.
Examples of sex crimes at the federal level include the following:
- Child sexual assault and rape
- Sexual exploitation of a child through coercion, bribery, or enticement
- Sexual abuse of a minor or ward
- Purchase or sale of a child for sexual reasons
- Possession or distribution of child pornography
- Aggravated sexual abuse involving the use of force, fear, or threats of bodily injury
- Human trafficking
- Sexual abuse resulting in death
- Sexual crimes crossing state lines
- Sexual crimes on federal land or territory
Most federal sex crime convictions carry a minimum of 15 years in prison.
Sex Crime Defense
Those accused of sex crimes are innocent until proven guilty. The defendant does not need to prove his innocence to win acquittal. Instead, the state must present evidence that convinces a judge or jury beyond a reasonable doubt.
Reasonable doubt is the highest standard of proof under the law. Even if a judge or jury feels it is more likely than not that the defendant committed the crime, they must acquit the defendant if there is a reasonable doubt.
For example, a jury may find witness testimony against the defendant compelling and think the defendant is guilty. However, they may find there is reasonable doubt because the witness has a motivation for lying. Though the jury may still believe the defendant probably did it, they must acquit the defendant if the credibility issue creates reasonable doubt in their minds. Thinking someone is guilty is not enough. The jury must know it because the prosecution proved it.
Innocent people face sex crime charges in America every day. The reasons for these false charges range from mistaken identity to overzealous police and prosecutors to evil attempts to frame the defendant. With the heavy penalties possible due to a sex crime conviction, it’s vital to build a strong defense.
Talk to an Attorney About Your Criminal Sexual Conduct Charges
Gerald Miller ensures that innocent people stay out of prison. The state must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Often, sex crime prosecutions fail to reach this standard. For a sex crime defense consultation, contact Gerald Miller.
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