One of the most frightening things that can happen in life is when the police arrest you for a sexual conduct offense. An even scarier event is a conviction for this type of charge. Learn what can happen if a Minnesota court finds you guilty of sexual misconduct.
In the state of Minnesota, sexual conduct offenses come in five levels with first degree describing the most serious crimes and fifth the least. You face possible incarceration and monetary fines with each classification. Typically, first and third-degree offenses involve sexual penetration (first often involves a minor) while second, fourth, and fifth degrees concern sexual contact. Levels one through four are felonies while level five is typically a gross misdemeanor. You can face one or more offenses that are classified with the same or different degrees.
Here are the maximum sentencing and fines for each degree of offending sexual conduct for first-time offenders. Level One can carry a 30-year prison term along with a $40,000 penalty. Level Two’s maximums are 25 years of incarceration and up to a $35,000 charge. Level Three can mean 15 years in prison and a possible $30,000 fine. Level Four punishment includes up to a 10-year sentence and no more than $20,000. Finally, Level Five offenders face the possibility of one year of incarceration and a 3,000 monetary penalty.
Prosecutors can allege that there are aggravating factors in your case. These might include accusations of the victim(s) being underage (age of consent in Minnesota is 16), threats of physical harm, injury to the victim(s), presence of a dangerous weapon, presence of an accomplice if you are in a familial relationship with the victim(s) or are in a position of authority over the victim(s). Be aware that if convicted of a sexual conduct level 1 or level 2 degree offense along with certain aggravating factors, the court can hand down an indeterminate life sentence or life without release sentence.
When convicted of committing sexual misconduct, an offender in Minnesota must submit to a particular assessment before sentencing. The perpetrator is assessed by an independent professional who determines if the person is in need of treatment to cure a sexual offending problem. Assessments are sometimes waived if the guidelines for sentencing include a presumptive prison sentence or if an assessment was conducted before the conviction. Repeat offenders are subject to mandatory assessments conducted by the Minnesota security hospital. When there is no prison term, the court often requires the offender to obtain treatment as part of his/her sentence.
Sexual conduct offenders must do certain things following their convictions aside from serving prison terms and paying fines. They must provide a biological DNA sample before their release. These are kept on the offenders’ records. Also, the offender, and this applies to juveniles as well as adults, is ordered to register with the BCA (Bureau of Criminal Apprehension). The offender typically stays on the registry for ten years. Finally, after releasing from prison following a conviction for a sex offense, a risk level is assigned to you. Certain levels require law enforcement to provide certain pieces of information about you to particular individuals and organizations in the community in which you reside, work, or go to school.
As you can see, convictions for criminal sexual conduct most often come with severe consequences. It is imperative that you contact and retain an attorney experienced in handling sexual misconduct cases f you are arrested for a sexual crime. You should disclose everything you know to your lawyer so he/she can mount a successful defense to protect you from possible years in prison, enormous fines, and a ruined reputation that will negatively impact your future.
Contact us when you need legal advice for a sexual conduct charge or other criminal accusations.