How to Get a Criminal Sexual Conduct Charge Dismissed in MN
The term “criminal sexual conduct” is used in Minnesota to describe a wide range of sexually based offenses. In total, there are five degrees of criminal sexual conduct offenses under state law. A conviction for any of these charges could alter your life forever.
Of course, an arrest for criminal sexual conduct never guarantees your conviction. It is possible to beat these charges at trial or even have your cased dismissed. Securing this outcome can be difficult without the guidance of a seasoned criminal defense attorney.
The attorneys of Gerald Miller understand how to aggressively fight back against allegations of criminal sexual conduct. We will work to have your charges dropped from the moment we take your case. Reach out right away to discuss your defense options.
Who Has the Power to Dismiss Criminal Sexual Conduct Charges in Minnesota?
As the defendant in a criminal sexual conduct case, it is not up to you whether the charges against you are dropped. The same is true for any reporting witness in your case. The only party that has the power to dismiss a criminal charge is the prosecutor.
There is a common misconception—often one that comes from television or movies—that the complaining witness in a sexual abuse case has the power to drop criminal charges after they have reported the allegations to the police. This is not the case. Once the witness has made their report, the prosecution of criminal sexual conduct is out of their hands forever.
Only the prosecutor has the power to drop these charges, and it is uncommon for them to do so. For a prosecutor to dismiss these charges, there must be a reason. There is often political pressure to secure convictions in these cases, making a dismissal unlikely in some cases.
While a complaining witness does not have the right to dismiss charges on their own, that does not mean the state will not take into account their refusal to participate in the prosecution. If a witness does not want to testify, the prosecutor could agree to dismiss the charges against you.
Why would the Prosecutor Drop These Charges in MN?
There are a few reasons why prosecutors might agree to drop a criminal sexual conduct charge. This includes the possibility that a complaining witness recants their story or refuses to testify. In these cases, the state might lack the evidence needed to get a conviction. In some cases, an attorney might be able to procure an affidavit from the complaining witness that they do not want to participate in the prosecution.
Another reason why the state might agree to dismiss charges is if there is overwhelming evidence of innocence. The police make mistakes all the time in these cases, and the wrong people often get arrested. If there is strong evidence of an alibi or facts that clearly point to another perpetrator, the prosecution might agree to drop the charges.
Another possibility occurs when defense attorneys are able to exclude important evidence from trial. Any evidence secured through an illegal search or seizure could be barred from trial by a judge. When this evidence is excluded, a prosecutor might have little choice but to drop those charges.
Other Favorable Resolutions in a Criminal Sexual Assault Case
If you have been charged with criminal sexual assault, the best possible outcome is the dismissal of your charges. A dismissal means the case against you goes away without having to risk the possibility of a bad outcome at trial. Of course, there are times when the prosecutor might not agree to dismiss these charges. There are other ways to obtain a favorable outcome in your case.
In addition to the prosecution, the judge also has the power to dismiss a case. Your attorney could petition for dismissal after the judge has excluded important evidence against you. The court can dismiss a case even when the prosecutor disagrees.
Other favorable resolutions could require the support of the prosecution. While dismissal is the best outcome, there are many times when pleading guilty to the charge could work out in your favor. The prosecutor could make a plea offer that results in a reasonable sentence—or even no jail time at all. Likewise, the prosecutor could also offer to reduce the charge to another offense. Amending it to a non-sexual offense could have long-term benefits even if you ultimately plead guilty.
There are also times when the best option available to you is to take your case to trial. The prospect of going to trial might feel overwhelming at first, but our firm could ensure you are prepared. In some cases, an acquittal at trial is a best-case scenario following a criminal sexual conduct arrest.
Understanding Criminal Sexual Conduct in MN
Not all acts of criminal sexual conduct are the same. In total, there are five different levels of this criminal offense, and some are treated more seriously by prosecutors than others. The more serious the crime is, the less likely a dismissal will be easy to come by.
First-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct
First-degree criminal sexual conduct is the most serious type of sex offense under state law. This offense is governed by Minnesota Statute Section 609.342. There are several different factors that could result in a first-degree criminal sexual conduct charge. For example, this offense is used for allegations of sex with victims between the ages of 13 and 16. It also applies to cases where the defendant is accused of obtaining sex through the use of a threat with a dangerous weapon. The penalty for a conviction of first-degree criminal sexual conduct is up to 30 years in prison and as much as $40,000 in fines.
Second-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct
Second-degree criminal sexual assault is similar to a first-degree offense. In fact, it applies in all of the same situations where first-degree criminal sexual conduct charges are appropriate. The difference is that this offense is used in cases where there is no accusation of sexual penetration. A conviction for this offense could lead to as much as 25 years in prison and a fine of no more than $35,000.
Third-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct
Charges of third-degree sexual conduct are appropriate in different situations. The police could make an arrest on these charges when an alleged victim is under the age of 13 and the accused is within 36 months of age of that person. This charge can also be used when the accused sexually penetrates a person who was physically or mentally incapacitated. A conviction on this charge can lead to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $30,000.
Fourth-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct
Fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct applies to the same circumstances as a third-degree offense. This includes sexual contact with the use of force as well as abuse of an alleged victim that was either physically or mentally incapacitated at the time. The difference between these offenses is that fourth-degree sexual conduct does not involve sexual penetration. The penalties for a conviction include up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $12,000.
Fifth-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct
The lowest level of criminal sexual conduct is a fifth-degree offense. This charge is appropriate in two situations. First, this charge is used when a person engages in nonconsensual sexual contact. Second, this charge is appropriate when a person commits a lewd act or masturbates while in the presence of a minor. A conviction could lead to as much as seven years in prison and a fine of up to $14,000.
Reach Out to Gerald Miller About Your Criminal Sexual Conduct Case in MN
Criminal sexual conduct is a serious type of crime. These offenses are felonies, and a conviction could result in years of your life behind bars. Given what is at stake, obtaining a dismissal of the charges against you could be your best chance at protecting your freedom and livelihood.
The attorneys of Gerald Miller are ready to help you fight for dismissal in your sexual conduct case. If our efforts are successful, you could avoid any possibility of a conviction on your record. Reach out today for a free consultation to learn more.
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