When Teen-agers Are Charged With Statutory Rape

When individuals engage in sexual activity with children who are under the age of consent, they can be convicted of statutory rape. In Minnesota, the age of consent for sexual activity is in most cases is 16. Many adolescents who have participated in sexual activity have been charged and convicted of a sexual offense and faced punishments as severe as adult sex offenders might.

The Penalties of Statutory Rape

A statutory rape conviction can be life changing for a teenager in Minnesota. This type of conduct can be charged as one of three offenses and carries the following possible penalties.

  • First Degree Sexual Conduct: When sexual penetration has occurred, statutory rape can be punished very severely. The offender faces up to 30 years in prison and up to $40,000 in fines.
  • Second Degree Sexual Conduct: When there is no penetration, but the activity was with a child under the age of 13 and the defendant is at least three years older, or with a child between 13 and 16 when the defendant is at least four years older and in a position of authority, it is considered second degree sexual conduct. The offender faces fines of up to $35,000 and up to 25 years in prison.
  • Third Degree Sexual Conduct: Engaging in penetration with a child under 13 when the defendant is less than three years older, with a child between 13 and 16 when the defendant is more than two years older, or with a child between 16 and 18 when the defendant is a person of authority is criminal sexual conduct in the third degree. It is punishable by up to $15,000 in fines and 15 years in prison.
  • Fourth Degree Sexual Conduct: When there is no penetration and the child is under 13 with a defendant less than three years older, a child between 13 and 16 with a defendant more than four years older, or between 13 and 18 with a person of authority, it is fourth degree sexual conduct. A conviction can result in up to 10 years behind bars and $20,000 in fines.

Any conviction of criminal sexual conduct will require that the individual register as a sex offender.

Romeo and Juliet Exception

Under the Romeo and Juliet exception in Minnesota, individuals less than two years older than a child between 13 and 16 cannot be prosecuted for statutory rape. If there is no penetration, the allowable age difference is four years.

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Knowing how to choose a criminal defense lawyer in Minneapolis, MN, can help you hire a lawyer who will prepare an effective defense strategy and fight for the best result from your case. One of the crucial tips when selecting a criminal defense lawyer is to vet those with relevant experience in cases like yours. You can only do this when you thoroughly understand the charges you are facing.
People anticipating an arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota, might ask, “What is the role of a defense attorney during an arrest?” A skilled criminal defense attorney can explain your options, ensure the police follow the rules, and protect your rights. The attorney will build a solid defense, talk to the prosecutor, and fight for your best interests.
Knowing when to hire a criminal lawyer for your case in Minnesota can help protect your constitutional rights and turn the odds in your favor. You should retain a criminal lawyer immediately after learning you are under investigation, get arrested, or are charged with a crime. Seasoned criminal lawyers understand the criminal justice system, can build a winning defense strategy, and aggressively push for a positive outcome of your case.