Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct

What is Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct?

It is a FELONY. A person is guilty of this level if the following is admitted or proven beyond a reasonable doubt:

Adult complaining witness: the actor engaged in sexual penetration and one or more of the following circumstances exist:
a. The actor used coercion or force to accomplish sexual penetration;
b. The complaining witness was mentally or physically helpless and the actor knew it at the time;
c. The actor was in a prohibited occupational relationship with the complainant (like a boss).
Child complaining witness: the actor engaged in sexual penetration with anyone under age 18 and the following circumstances exist:
a. The complaining witness is at least age 14 but less than age 16 and the actor is more than 36 months older than the complainant;
b. The complaining witness is at least age 14 but less than age 16 and the actor is more than 24 months older than the complainant;
  1. This clause allows for the affirmative defense of mistake of age only if the actor is no more than 60 months (5 years) older than the complainant. The defendant must prove that they reasonably believed the complainant to be at least age 16.
  2. Under this clause, the penalty is less too; if the actor was no more than 36 months but more than 24 months older than the complainant, the maximum penalty is 5 years in prison.

c.The actor uses coercion to accomplish the penetration
d.The complaining witness was mentally or physically helpless and the actor knew it at the time;
e.The complainant was at least age 16 but less than age 18 and the actor was more than 36 months older and was in a position of authority over the complainant;
f.The complainant was at least age 16 but less than age 18 and the actor was more than 36 months older and had a significant relationship to the complainant;
g.The complainant was at least age 16 but less than age 18 at the time of the sexual penetration and
  1. The actor used force or coercion to accomplish the penetration
  2. The complainant suffered personal injury
  3. The sexual abuse involved multiple acts committed over an extended period of time
  4. At the time of the act, the actor was in a prohibited occupational relationship with the complainant.

The penalties for third degree criminal sexual conduct include a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, and except for the clause specifically allowing it, mistake of age or consent are not defenses to the behavior. Conviction for this offense requires predatory registration.

If you want to read the MN Statute outlining this offense, you can review it here.

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Do I need a lawyer if I’m charged with a sex crime?

YES! Accusations of criminal sexual conduct can have immediate consequences, such as the separation of family members or the loss of employment. Convictions for the same can have far reaching collateral consequences for the rest of a person’s life, including loss of housing or licensures, social isolation, and financial hardship. To adequately defend these charges, a defendant needs a lawyer with experience.

When Catherine represents people charged with sex crimes, she talks to them about what happened from their perspective and puts together a defense strategy that often involves talking to witnesses, gathering social media evidence, and making special motions in court.

She understands that accusations of rape, solicitation, or any other sex crime can ruin someone’s life and she’s committed to helping people fight the charges. She has won serious criminal sexual conduct trials, gotten charges dismissed, and kept people out of prison.

She knows how to work a case, and will help resolve the matter in the best interests of the client. Not every case ends up in trial, and Catherine is just as committed to negotiating a resolution that works for the client as she is to winning in front of a jury. Every situation is different and requires a unique approach. She will customize a defense that works for every client.

Catherine is an experienced criminal defense lawyer that defends against all criminal sexual conduct, solicitation, child pornography, and other sex crimes in state and federal court. If you or someone you love has been accused of a sex crime, Catherine can help. Call for a free consultation.