What Evidence is Needed to Prove Criminal Sexual Conduct in MN?

If you’re accused of criminal sexual conduct in Minnesota, a potential conviction can alter your life forever. In addition to criminal penalties, you can also face the requirement to register as a sex offender, which can impact where you live and where you are allowed to work – even places you are allowed to visit for leisure.

Here’s what you need to know about criminal sexual conduct in Minnesota and what evidence is used to secure a conviction in the state.

The Five Degrees of Minnesota Criminal Sexual Conduct

In the state, criminal sexual conduct is divided into five potential degrees. You can be accused of one of the following depending on the alleged activity that took place:

First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

First-degree criminal sexual conduct is the most serious criminal sexual conduct charge in the state. This is alleged to have occurred if there was the threat of violence or force that preceded sexual penetration. This includes sexual penetration done to someone who could not consent due to being physically helpless or mentally impaired.

You can also be accused of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree when the person who experienced sexual penetration is under a certain age, if the victim was under age 13 with a defendant who is more than three years their senior. If the victim is 13 to 15, then the defendant must be at least four years their senior.

For any victims over 16, the defendant must be in a position of significant power over them, such as a teacher or coach. If convicted, you can face prison time of as much as 30 years, fines, and the requirement to register as a sex offender.

Second Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

This degree of criminal sexual conduct has the same requirements as a first degree, with one large difference: There was no sexual penetration that occurred, but there was sexual contact. This can result in up to 25 years in prison as well as fines, plus lifetime registration as a sex offender.

Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

This crime includes actions such as sexual penetration with a minor by another minor or an adult who is close in age to them. It can also include sexual penetration by those who are in a position of power over the minor such as clergy, correction officers, or therapists. You can be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Fourth Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

This level of criminal sexual conduct is similar to third-degree, but penetration is not involved. If convicted, you can face up to 10 years behind bars and be required to register as a sex offender for 10 years as well.

How Is Criminal Sexual Conduct Proven?

Fifth Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

This level of criminal sexual conduct involves sexual contact that is not consensual – i.e. removing a person’s clothing or groping them – as well as indecent exposure or lewd acts. It is considered a gross misdemeanor and can result in up to 12 months in jail. However, repeat offenses can be charged as a felony.

How Is Criminal Sexual Conduct Proven?

If you are accused of criminal sexual conduct, then the case against you is investigated by law enforcement. There will be physical evidence and testimony against you, all in an effort to prove beyond a reasonable doubt to the court that you committed the crime of which you are accused.


About the Author:

Andrew T. Poole is a Minnesota native who has served in the Army for more than 18 years and is currently a JAG lawyer in the Army Reserves in addition to serving as a partner at LaCourse, Poole & Envall. He has handled thousands of criminal and family law cases over the course of his career and has a firm belief that all hardworking Minnesotans should be entitled to the best possible legal counsel. Mr. Poole boasts a 10/10 Superb rating on Avvo, is Lead Counsel rated, and has been recognized multiple times by SuperLawyers, National Trial Lawyers, and others for his work.