Sex Offender Laws in Minnesota
Under Minnesota law, sex offenders are classified into five categories – first to fifth degree, with the first degree reserved for the most severe crimes and punishments.
First degree – applies to sexual conduct that involves sexual penetration of the victim. It is a felony level offense. The maximum penalty is 30 years with a fine not exceeding $40,000. For offenders who do not have any prior criminal history, the sentence is 144 months in prison. The law presumes an executed sentence of 144 months for all violations.
Second degree – applies to sexual conduct that involves sexual contact with the victim without penetration. It is a felony level offense and entails a sentence of up to 25years with a maximum fine of $35,000. The law presumes an executed sentence of 90 months in prison for offenses where the offender used or threatened to use force or violence. It also includes causing injury, using a dangerous weapon or creating significant fear on the part of the victim of imminent great bodily harm. Offenders are slapped with 36 months stayed sentence for “statutory rape”*.
Third degree – applies to sexual conduct that involves sexual penetration of the victim. It is a felony level offense. The statute imposes a penalty of up to 15 years with a maximum fine of $20,000. The sentence guidelines are – a prison term of 48 months and 36 months stayed sentence for “statutory rape”*.
Fourth degree – applies to sexual conduct that involves sexual contact with the victim without penetration. It is a felony level offense. Maximum penalty imposed is ten years with a fine of up to $20,000. The law presumes 24 months stayed sentence and 18 months stayed sentence for “statutory rape”*.
Fifth-degree – applies to sexual conduct that involves sexual contact with the victim without penetration and certain lewd conduct. It is a gross misdemeanor offense and carries a one-year sentence with a $3,000 fine. There are no sentencing guidelines for misdemeanors. Repeat offenses though will be considered as felonies, and some of these offenses are punishable by five years with a $10,000 fine. The guidelines suggest a 15 month stayed the sentence.
*Statutory rape - is when there is sexual conduct, and the victim is of a certain age, or a familial relationship exists between the perpetrator and the victim or the perpetrator has used a position of authority.
The first and second degrees include but are not limited to sexual offenses that involve personal injury to the victim, the use or threatened use of force; violence or a dangerous weapon; or victims who are very young.
The third, fourth and fifth degree is reserved for less aggravated offenses where the victim did not consent to sexual conduct or was relatively young. In the case of victims being relatively young, the victim was incapable of giving voluntary consent due to a particular vulnerability or due to a special relationship between the offender and the victim.
Refer to this appendix for a detailed description of each degree - Minn. Stat. §§ 609.342 to 609.3451
Sex Offender Registration in Minnesota
It mandatory for convicted sex offenders of specific crimes to register themselves as predatory offenders with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Other sex offenders are required to register with the bureau as sex offenders. Registration is compulsory for those convicted of the following offenses which include but is not limited to - child pornography, solicitation of a minor for sex (including on the internet), use of a minor in a sexual performance, kidnapping and false imprisonment, rape or sexual assault and felony indecent exposure.
The more serious the nature of the crime and the circumstances surrounding it, the longer the offender will be required to stay on the registry. All offenders remain on the registry for a minimum of ten years or for the period of their probation, whichever is longer. More serious offenders, especially those who commit crimes against children and offenders who are federally prosecuted will most likely remain on the register for life.