Sentences for Repeat or Violent Predatory Offenders

Sentences for Repeat or Violent Predatory Offenders1

Life Without Release.

The court must impose a life-without-release sentence on a person convicted of certain clauses2 of first- or second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving force or violence, and either: the fact finder (i.e., the judge or jury) determined beyond a reasonable doubt that two or more heinous3 elements exist, or the offender has a previous sex offense for first-, second-, or third-degree criminal sexual conduct and the fact finder determines that a heinous element exists for the present offense. Minn. Stat. § 609.3455, subd. 2.

Indeterminate Life Sentence.

The court must impose an indeterminate life sentence for offenders who are convicted of certain clauses of first- or second-degree criminal sexual conduct (the same clauses referred to above) and the fact finder determines that a heinous element exists. Minn. Stat. § 609.3455, subd. 3.

The court must also impose an indeterminate life sentence on offenders who are convicted of first- through fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct or criminal sexual predatory conduct if one of the three following conditions exist:

  • The offender has two previous sex offense convictions
  • The offender has one previous offense conviction and:
    • the fact finder determines that the present offense involved an aggravating factor that would provide grounds for an upward durational departure;
    • thepersonreceivedanupwarddurationaldeparturefortheprevioussexoffense conviction or was sentenced under the patterned and predatory sex offender sentencing law for the previous sex offense conviction; or
    • the person was sentenced as a dangerous sex offender or as a patterned and predatory sex offender for the previous sex offense conviction
  • The offender has two prior sex offense convictions and the fact finder determines that the prior convictions and present offense involved at least three separate victims; and
    • the fact finder determines that the present offense involved an aggravating factor that
      would provide grounds for an upward durational departure;
    • the offender received an upward durational departure for one of the prior sex offense convictions or was sentenced under the patterned and predatory offender sentencing law for one of the prior sex offense convictions; or
    • the person was sentenced as a dangerous sex offender or as a patterned and predatory sex offender for the previous sex offense conviction

However, if the present offense is for fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, then the offender is not typically subject to the indeterminate life sentence. An indeterminate sentence can be imposed if the offender’s previous or prior sex offense convictions that are being used to enhance the sentence were for first- through third-degree criminal sexual conduct, criminal sexual predatory conduct, or crimes under any similar United States or state criminal statute. Minn. Stat. § 609.3455, subd. 4.

Certain Engrained Offenders.4 The court must sentence an offender to at least twice the presumptive prison sentence, and not more than the statutory maximum, if:

  • the offender is convicted of committing or attempting to commit first- through fourth- degree criminal sexual conduct or criminal sexual predatory conduct;
  • the fact finder determines that the offender is a danger to public safety; and
  • the fact finder determines that the offender’s criminal sexual behavior is so engrained that the risk of reoffending is great without intensive treatment or supervision extending beyond the presumptive term of imprisonment and supervised release.

Minn. Stat. § 609.3455, subd. 3a.

Criminal Sexual Predatory Conduct

A person is guilty of criminal sexual predatory conduct if the crime was motivated by the offender’s sexual impulses or was part of a predatory pattern of behavior that had criminal sexual conduct as its goal. The sentence must be 25 percent longer than for the underlying predatory crime; or 50 percent longer if the offender has a previous sex offense conviction. Minn. Stat. § 609.3453.

1 Portions of this provision were previously found in Minnesota Statutes 2004, section 609.109, which applied to offenses that occurred prior to 2005.

2 The clauses include: (1) where circumstances exist that cause the victim to have a reasonable fear of great bodily harm; (2) where the offender is armed with a dangerous weapon; (3) where the offender causes personal injury to the victim under specified conditions; (4) where the offender is aided or abetted by one or more accomplices under specified conditions; or (5) where the offender has a family-type relationship to a victim under 16 and specified conditions exist.

3 A “heinous element” includes: (1) the offender tortured the victim; (2) the offender intentionally inflicted great bodily harm upon the victim; (3) the offender intentionally mutilated the victim; (4) the offender exposed the victim to extreme inhuman conditions; (5) the offender was armed with a dangerous weapon and used or threatened to use it to cause the victim to submit; (6) the offense involved sexual penetration or sexual contact with more than one victim; (7) the offense involved more than one perpetrator engaging in sexual penetration or sexual contact with the victim; or (8) the offender removed the victim from one place to another without his or her consent and did not release the victim in a safe place.

4 Portions of this provision were previously found in Minnesota Statutes 2004, section 609.108. If an offender was convicted as a patterned predatory offender under Minnesota Statutes 2004, section 609.108, for crimes committed before August 1, 2005, then that statute still applies. Minn. Stat. § 609.3455, subd. 9.


CREDIT: The content of this and any related posts has been copied or adopted from the Minnesota House of Representatives Research Department’s Information Brief, Sex Offenders and Predatory Offenders: Minnesota Criminal and Civil Regulatory Laws, written by Legislative Analyst Jeffrey Diebel.

This post is also part of a series of posts on Minnesota Criminal and Civil Regulatory Laws Regarding Sex Offenders and Predatory Offenders.