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Ryan Pacyga Criminal Law
333 South Seventh Street, Suite 2850
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Sex Crimes in Minnesota
In the state of Minnesota, there are a vast array of actions falling under the sex crimes and rape laws. Generally, these offense include the commonly-understood meanings of violent stranger rape, date rape, sexual abuse of another, sexual abuse of a corpse, sexual harassment, prostitution (or solicitation, inducement or promotion of prostitution), fornication, indecent exposure, sodomy, bestiality, sexual assault of a child (or child molestation), statutory rape, Internet sex crimes (including internet luring of a child or child enticement), and possession of (or distributing) child pornography. Taken together, these offenses make up the general offenses of “Sex Crimes” or “Criminal Sexual Conduct,” as defined under Minnesota law.
Under Minnesota law, “Criminal Sexual Conduct” consists of five degrees (or levels) of conduct – 1st degree is the most severe or most serious offense, 5th degree is the least severe or least serious offense. In determining which level of offense to charge a person with, the prosecution must consider a number of factors: the age of the perpetrator, the age of the alleged victim, the nature of the relationship between the perpetrator and the alleged victim, and the actual act or factual occurrence that is the basis for the sexual conduct. Additionally, sentences for sexual offense may carry “mandatory minimums” – meaning there is a mandatory minimum length of prison a person must serve if he or she is convicted (even if it is the person’s first criminal offense ever), and under some circumstances, this can be as high as 12 years in prison.
Scientific Evidence and Sex Crimes
To be clear, the government (i.e., the prosecution) does NOT need any scientific evidence to prosecute you and convict you of “Criminal Sexual Conduct.” The “word of the accuser” is absolutely enough evidence for a jury to convict a person. The prosecutor does NOT need any DNA evidence, serology evidence, biological corroboration by study of the victim’s body, hair and fiber comparison, or any other type of scientific evidence. Given this, it helps people understand the importance of hiring an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to defend them and represent them in court. In certain types of “Criminal Sexual Conduct” cases, attacking the credibility of the accuser through the use of court rules, the rules of evidence, and the rules of criminal procedure is of the utmost importance. An experienced and knowledgeable attorney will put a person in a position to do just this when the window of opportunity presents itself.
Attacking the Credibility of the Accuser
Attacking the credibility of the accuser (or any other corroborating witnesses) is done by thorough defense investigation. This may include interviewing key witnesses to support the defense’s position and to then present evidence to the jury so they will find a person “not guilty” of the “Criminal Sexual Conduct.” The defense may also need to do a detailed background check on the alleged victim; the defense may interview the alleged victim’s friends and family, ex-lovers, past and present coworkers, past and present neighbors, etc.; and the defense may need to procure the accuser’s mental health records and past medical treatments. Also, a complete and meticulous analysis of the government’s evidence is vital to (1) attack the evidence and argue for it to be suppressed (and thrown out of the case) and (2) understanding how best to legally defend the case and rebut any possible remaining evidence presented by the government to the jury.
All of these things (and many other defense strategies) can be accomplished by using the law to defend you and to work to your advantage. Additionally, depending upon what the defense investigation reveals, prosecutors can be convinced to drop all charges in a case and to refuse to prosecute the case any further, but in doing this, a defense attorney case must properly investigate and prepare the case and then effectively and persuasively present it to the prosecutor.
Sex Crime Penalties and Punishments in Minnesota (i.e., “Criminal Sexual Conduct” Sentencing Laws)
Because sexual offense in Minnesota very so greatly, there are numerous penalties a person might face for any one or more conviction of a sex crime. Nonetheless, such sentences may include any one or more of the following conditions (depending on the actual criminal sexual conduct the person is convicted of): lengthy county jail sentences, a sentence to state prison that may include a mandatory minimum (e.g., in some circumstances this can be as high as 12 years), long-term probationary sentencing (including conditional or supervised release), costly sex offender treatment or care, substance abuse and/or mental health treatment, no contact with children, sex offender registration (on lists available to the public), community service, repayment of restitution, the forced loss of employment and/or a prohibition on being employed in a particular job or field of work, and/or payment of fees or court costs. There are some limitations created by the law as to the harshness of a sentence, but there are also limitless possibilities for what a particular sentencing judge might do, and trying to fight back and undo these sentences (if NOT confronted and corrected in a proper, legal manner) can require costly appeals lasting years; meanwhile the person who was sentenced is often required to serve that sentence while the appeal is pending.
Why You Need an Experienced and Knowledgeable Sex Crime Attorney in Minnesota
If you have been charged with any criminal conducted involving a sex crime or criminal sexual conduct, you should contact an attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced. You should contact an attorney right away. Depending on the legal intricacies of your case, an attorney may need ample time to prepare your case upfront and early on in order to fully and completely represent you and protect your rights. Doing so may result in a much more favorable outcome – which includes dismissing the entire criminal case or never even filing charges in the first place.