How should teenagers be punished for sex crimes?

Parents in Minneapolis-St. Paul know that teenagers are headstrong and sometimes act without thinking about the consequences of their actions. This is especially true when it comes to young love — Minnesota teenagers will have relationships with whomever they please, especially when their parents disapprove. The problem, of course, is that when a teenager is 18-years-old, he or she is considered an adult and if his or her boyfriend of girlfriend is under the age of consent, he or she could face a charge of statutory rape.

Let’s say that an 18-year-old high-school senior is dating a 14-year-old high-school freshman. If he has a consensual sexual relationship with his girlfriend, he might be committing statutory rape because his girlfriend cannot legally consent to the relationship. But, just because these two teenagers decide to have sex, does that mean the 18-year-old should be sent to jail and forced to register as a sex offender? Many parents are saying no.

Parents in Minnesota and in every other state in the country have been pushing legislators to change how teenage sex offenders are punished. These so-called “Romeo and Juliet” laws aim to reduce and completely change the punishments for young adults who have sex with minors. Many of these parent-activists do not condone sexual intercourse with anyone under the age of consent, but they believe that if the age difference between the two parties is fairly minimal, punishments should not be so severe.

One of the common suggestions is that teenagers attend mandatory counseling or are admitted to a treatment center rather they being sent to jail. According to a program director with an international non-profit, juvenile sex offenders only reoffend 4 to 7 percent of the time, much lower than the rate of adult recidivism.

Source: The Daily Beast, “Should Teens Be Jailed for Sex Offenses?” Abigail Pesta, Jan. 25, 2012

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

Confidential informants may provide integral information to help build criminal investigations, but how reliable is that information when they are receiving payment for their services? To protect them, state law requires the identity of informants be kept confidential. For those facing criminal charges, however, this creates challenges in questioning the accuracy and validity of the information given at trial.
Stay calm and compose after getting accused of a crime but not charged in Minneapolis, MN. Do not discuss the facts of your case with anyone, including your relatives and family members. Hire a criminal defense attorney with a demonstrated record of winning cases like yours. Your attorney will discuss your rights, guide you on how to cooperate with law enforcement within the legal boundaries, and build a solid defense strategy to fight the charges you could face in the future.
Expungement and sealing of records in Minnesota affect how your criminal history appears to government agencies and the public. The main difference between the two legal actions is that expungement permanently removes past arrests, criminal charges, or convictions from private and public databases, while sealing hides the criminal record from the public. Courts, government entities, and law enforcement agencies can access sealed criminal records.