A Guide to Minnesota Sexual Assault Laws

MN changed sexual assault law, eliminated its statute of limitations

Every day, more than 800 women are subjected to sexual assault in the United States. According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, one of every six women will be raped or suffer an attempted rape at some point in her life. Despite this grim statistic, only 240 out of every 100,000 cases of sexual violence will even lead to arrest. To ensure that justice is served for sexual assault victims in Minnesota, you have rights that need to be protected. If you have no idea what to do after being sexually assaulted, consulting with a Rochester criminal attorney can help you protect your rights and legally move against your defendant.

Thankfully, Minnesota has some of the most stringent laws regarding sexual assault in the nation. For example, there are two main types of sexual assault: aggravated and general. General sexual assault is any type of sex without consent. In contrast, aggravated sexual assault involves the use or threat of physical force, coercion, or alcohol, or other deprivation to get consent. Furthermore, there are different degrees of severity for each type, with 2nd degree being the least severe and 1st degree being the most.

  1. 1st Degree Criminal Sexual Assault

First-degree criminal sexual assault is a serious crime in Minnesota. It is the most severe of the different degrees of criminal sexual conduct, which are based on the circumstances of the offense. The Minnesota Criminal Code defines 1st degree criminal sexual assault as an act of sexual penetration involving the genitals or anus of one person and the mouth or genitalia of another person. The law applies to both male and female perpetrators who use force or coercion, cause injury, administer intoxicants, or use someone who is incapacitated. 

  1. 2nd Degree Criminal Sexual Assault

The 2nd Degree Criminal Sexual Assault is a crime in Minnesota. This type of assault can be committed without penetration. It includes things like touching the victim’s intimate parts or sexually explicit language. If someone commits an offense like this, they must contact their attorney right away to ensure they get the best legal defense possible.

  1. 3rd Degree Criminal Sexual Assault

In Minnesota, 3rd  degree criminal sexual assault is a felony and involves the use of force or coercion on a victim to engage in sexual penetration, and is punishable by up to 5 years in prison or a $10,000 fine. The punishment for 3rd degree criminal sexual assault increases if the victim is under 13 or suffers bodily harm. 

  1. 4th Degree Criminal Sexual Assault

Fourth-degree criminal sexual assault is the act of penetrating another person with any type of body part or object without their consent. This includes touching private parts, forcing oral or anal sex, and penetrating someone’s genitals with an object. 

  1. 5th Degree Criminal Sexual Assault

5th degree criminal sexual assault is a felony crime in Minnesota. A person commits 5th degree criminal sexual assault if they engage in any act of sexual penetration with another person without that person’s consent. Sexual penetration includes touching genitals or buttocks, whether clothed or unclothed, with any body part or object. This offense is punishable by up to five years in prison or $10,000.

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