What Happens When You Get Charged with Criminal Sexual Conduct in Minnesota?
Criminal sexual conduct is the criminal offense that encapsulates all sexual wrongdoing in Minnesota. If you have been charged with this offense, you could face significant consequences moving forward. It is vital to talk to an attorney about your case as soon as possible.
Of course, being charged with criminal sexual conduct is very different from being convicted of that offense. While any criminal charge can be stressful, the major consequences come with a conviction. Thankfully, criminal sexual conduct is often a defensible charge.
An arrest for criminal sexual conduct never guarantees a conviction. In many cases, the right attorney could avoid a conviction at trial or even secure a dismissal. If you have been charged with criminal sexual conduct in Minnesota, now is the time to reach out to the attorneys of Gerald Miller.
The Type of Criminal Sexual Conduct is Important in Minnesota
There are five different degrees of criminal sexual conduct under Minnesota law. The penalties that come with a conviction vary dramatically based on the type of offense you face. That means the degree of criminal sexual conduct you are charged with determines what happens following your arrest.
Degree of Offense
Most states have a wide range of criminal sex offenses. For example, these jurisdictions could have different criminal statutes for each offense, including rape or sexual assault. That is not the case in Minnesota. Under Minnesota law, all sex offenses are considered criminal sexual conduct. There are five different categories of criminal sexual conduct that contain the full range of sex offenses. These categories include:
- First-Degree. The most serious offenses are reserved for first-degree criminal sexual conduct. These offenses generally involve sexual penetration through violence or force. This offense is also appropriate when the reporting witness is mentally or physically impaired.
- Second-Degree. The second-most serious offenses are second-degree criminal sexual conduct. This offense involves sexual conduct with another person against their will without the use of force or violence.
- Third-Degree. Third-degree sexual conduct usually involves some form of statutory rape. This offense is also used in cases where the accused is in some kind of position of power over the reporting witness.
- Fourth-Degree. Fourth-degree sexual assault is largely the same as a third-degree offense. The major difference is that there is no penetration involved.
- Fifth-Degree. The lowest tier of criminal sexual conduct is fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct. In general, these are sex offenses that do not involve violence, force, or the threat of violence or force.
There are various penalties that come with a conviction for criminal sexual conduct. They include statutory penalties like prison time or fines. There are also collateral consequences, which include mandatory registration as a sex offender.
It is important to remember that these penalties only become a reality following a conviction. If you are able to beat the charges against you, these penalties will not apply to you. The attorneys of Gerald Miller could work to defeat the charges against you. Reach out right away to learn more.
Gross misdemeanors do not carry the same penalties as felonies, but these offenses are still serious. Only the lowest level of criminal sexual conduct is treated as a gross misdemeanor. In this case, the lowest level of offense is criminal sexual conduct in the fifth degree. The penalty for a conviction for fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct is up to a year in ail and as much as $3,000 in fines.
Most of the time, criminal sexual conduct is treated as a felony under state law. The penalties for each of these offenses are significant, and a conviction could alter the course of your life forever. First through fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct are all felony offenses according to state law. The penalties for each felony offense are as follows:
- Fourth-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct – 10 years in prison
- Third-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct – 15 years in prison
- Second-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct – 25 years to life in prison
- First-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct – 30 years to life in prison
Not all of the consequences of a conviction for criminal sexual conduct involve prison time or fines. In fact, there are collateral consequences that can impact your life long after your fines are paid or your sentence is completed. These collateral consequences often follow you for the rest of your life.
The collateral consequences that come with criminal sexual conduct are related to a felony conviction. If you are convicted of a felony, you lose a number of rights like the right to vote or own a firearm.
You could also face significant consequences in your professional life following a conviction for criminal sexual conduct. For starters, you could lose your job or find your applications denied based on your criminal history. What’s more, you could also see your professional license revoked based on a conviction. These professional consequences could follow you for the rest of your life.
Of course, a conviction for criminal sexual conduct can have a harmful impact on your personal life. In addition to the harm it can have on your career, your relationships will likely be damaged or destroyed following a conviction. If your attorney can secure an acquittal on these charges, your reputation could be salvaged.
Sex Offender Registry
Most of the time, convictions for criminal sexual conduct require a person to register as a sex offender. In this case, registration is handled through the Minnesota Predatory Offender Registry. Once on the registry, you are required to update your residence at all times. You are also prohibited by a number of restrictions, which include:
- Limits on where you can live
- Requirements that you notify neighbors of your status
- Report to local law enforcement
- Report any address changes
- Hand over internet use information
The Criminal Process
Although no two criminal cases are the same, most charges of criminal sexual conduct follow the same general steps. The following steps are what to expect following an arrest for criminal sexual conduct in Minnesota.
- Arraignment. The first step following an arrest for criminal sexual conduct is typically arraignment. Your arraignment is the first formal hearing during the course of a criminal case. It is the time when you are given the choice to plead guilty or not guilty. It is also your opportunity to seek release from jail pending trial. An attorney could represent you at your arraignment. It is never a good idea to plead guilty to this charge before speaking with an attorney.
- Discovery. During the course of your case, you will have a chance to review the evidence the state intends to use against you. This is done during the discovery process. Both sides are required to exchange the information they plan on using at trial.
- Motion Practice. After discovery, the attorneys have the opportunity to file motions prior to trial. These motions could seek the dismissal of your case entirely. They could also seek to limit the evidence the state uses against you.
- Trial. Unless you accept a plea offer from the state, you can expect your case to go to trial. At trial, you are under no obligation to testify.
When Should I Hire an Attorney?
It is never a good idea to delay the hiring of an attorney. The sooner your attorney is on your case, the sooner they can begin to develop a defense strategy. Any delay could work against you since it can be difficult for your attorney to carefully investigate the allegations against you if too much time has passed. By talking to an attorney right away, you could give yourself a better chance at a favorable outcome.
Talk to an Attorney About Your Criminal Sexual Conduct Arrest
No matter the specific offense, any charge of criminal sexual conduct should be taken seriously. A conviction for this offense could upend your life forever. Thankfully, you have options for fighting back against these charges.
The attorneys of Gerald Miller are ready to help you fight back against these serious allegations. Our attorneys are proud to advocate for the accused, and we will work tirelessly to help you get the outcome you deserve. To get started with building your defense strategy, reach out the right way for a free consultation.
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