Minneapolis Sexual Assault Attorneys

Facing a criminal sexual assault or contact charge is daunting. And the stigma associated with a sex crime charge lasts a lifetime - even when you are not convicted. The team at North Star Criminal Defense are accomplished sexual assault attorneys that aggressively fight for you and work hard to clear your name. We have proven success in overcoming these allegations, and know how to thoroughly investigate the state’s case and work towards a favorable resolution.

When we take your case, we will evaluate the nature of the accusations, as well as your account of what occurred in order to build the best defense possible. The consequences of a conviction are severe and likely include the requirement to register as a sex offender. We work to avoid this outcome and have charges dropped if possible, protecting your personal and professional reputation.

Sex crimes involve the inappropriate sexual conduct or contact of a victim, sometimes involving a family member or child. Minnesota does not call sex crimes by the terms that most people are familiar with. The legal name in Minnesota for the crime of rape and sexual assault is “criminal sexual conduct.”.

Sexual Assault Charges

What is traditionally called rape or sexual assault is charged as 5th degree criminal sexual conduct in Minnesota. 5th degree criminal sexual conduct can be charged for any nonconsensual sexual contact with any person, and other types of lewd behavior.

  • The penalty for a conviction is up to 1 year in jail and/or a $3,000 fine, which is only a gross misdemeanor.
  • The penalty increases to up to 7 years and/or a fine of $14,000 if there's a past sexual assault conviction in the past seven years or any previous more serious criminal sexual conduct convictions.

Because of the nature of the crime, other charges, such as threats of violence or assault may also be associated.

When this occurs, the charges may increase to a 2nd degree criminal sexual conduct, a significantly more serious offense.

  • The penalty for a conviction is up to 25 years in prison and/or a $35,000 fine.

Statutory Rape

Statutory rape is when an individual has sex with a minor under the age of 16, even if they consent. The age restriction changes if the victim is under the age of 18 and the adult is in a position of authority over them. We cover the age of consent and statutory rape more broadly in our child sex crimes page.

Generally, statutory rape is charged as 4th degree criminal sexual conduct.

Sex Offender Registration

A conviction of sexual assault will undoubtedly force you to register as a sex offender. This registration typically lasts for 10 years from the completion of the sexual assault conviction sentence. The offender must provide a fingerprint and a photograph taken at the time of release from jail/prison. Registration then requires any addresses they may reside at or owned, addresses of place of employment, addresses of possible schools they may be attending, and all vehicle information. This information must be continually updated while the person is on the sex offender registration list. Law enforcement agencies will continue to check in to ensure that your information is accurate. Failure to register is a serious offense in Minnesota and may carry a felony sentence of five years imprisonment.


Clearly, the punishment for any of these crimes goes much farther than the initial imprisonment. Sex crime charges carry life long consequences and will undoubtedly make your life difficult on a daily basis.

There are many useful defenses for an individual to use when facing sex crime charges in Minnesota.

As long as both actors were of age, consent is one of the most common arguments that may be used. Sexual conduct charges may result from regret by one of the parties after the fact or fear of repercussions from the act. Consent is difficult to prove though due to the nature of the act.

Neither mistake as to the complainant's age nor consent to the act by the complainant is a defense for a sex crime that involves a minor.

Wrongful identification can and does occur with sexual conduct charges. If this is the case, intensive measures must be taken to prove your innocence.

North Star Criminal Defense - Aggressive, Respectful, and Professional

At North Star Criminal Defense, we respect who you are as a person and understand that these allegations may be completely false. We are respectful of you and always aggressive, fighting for your right to due process of law and the presumption of innocence. Due to the nature of a sex crime charge, many times the accused is presumed to be guilty before any investigation or evidence is presented in court. We will fight on your behalf to force the prosecution to meet their burden of proving the crime occurred, and will present a vigorous defense on your behalf.

For many sex charges, statements of the victim are central to the case, and we will investigate the background, circumstances, and allegations to ensure that there is verifiable evidence of a crime.

Because even the accusation of a sex crime can carry consequences, it is important to get us involved immediately, even during pre-charge stages if you are the subject of an investigation. Your liberty, reputation, and future are all at stake.