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Marsh Halberg

Marsh Halberg

"Attorney of the Year" (Minnesota Lawyer 2011)

"Top Six Criminal Defense Attorneys" (Mpls/St.Paul Magazine)

"Super Lawyer" (1997-Present)

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Tina Appleby

Tina Appleby

Achieved jury acquittals / case dismissals / successful resolutions in over 2,000 cases

"Top 100 National Trial Lawyer"

"Who's Who in Criminal Law"

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Lucas Dawson

Lucas Dawson

"Super Lawyer Rising Star 2017, 2018 and 2019

Requested speaker at Minnesota CLEs

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Zach Graham

Zach Graham

J.D. St. Thomas School of Law, cum laude

Achieved successful outcomes for clients in district court and on appeal

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Eric Nelson

Eric Nelson

"Rising Star" from 2004-2013

"Super Lawyer" 2014, 2015 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019

Named one of the "TOP 40 UNDER 40" by the National Trial Lawyers' Association

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Doug Hazelton

Doug Hazelton

"Best Lawyers in America" (2008-Present)

"Super Lawyer" (2008-Present)

Author Minnesota DWI Handbook (West Publishing)

Author Minnesota DWI Survival Guide

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Debbie Lang

Debbie Lang

2012, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 "Super Lawyer Rising Star"

"Top 100 National Trial Lawyers" by the National Trial Lawyers' Association

1 of 50 Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice Members

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Dave Risk

Dave Risk

Eight-Time Award Winner of "SuperLawyer - Rising Star"

J.D. William Mitchell College of Law magna cum laude graduate

2014, 2015 and 2016 "Super Lawyer"

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Christina Zauhar

Christina Zauhar

Member of Minnesota Women Lawyers

Member of the Minnesota State Bar Association

Contributing Author to Minnesota DWI Deskbook

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Marital Rape Exception in MN


HomePractice AreasBlogs - Marital Rape Exception

Controversial ‘Marital Rape Exception’ Repealed in Minnesota with Governor’s Signature

On May 2, 2019 Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed into law a bill to repeal Minnesota’s ‘Marital Rape Exception.’ Before the repeal, Minnesota law shielded rapists from prosecution in certain instances if they were married to their victim at the time of the rape.

Testifying before the legislature, one Minneapolis woman shared her experience before of being drugged, raped, and video taped by her former husband. After reporting the case to law enforcement, the county attorney said her case could not proceed because she was the actor's legal spouse. It does allow prosecution if the couple is living apart and one of them has filed for legal separation.

Ultimately, the woman’s ex-husband was convicted of invasion of privacy in the case and served less than 30 days in jail. Teeson.

.Rep.Zach Stephenson, chief author of the bill, released the following statement after Governor Walz signed his bill into law:

“This is a historic day. We’re moving Minnesota’s laws out of the 19th century and recognizing that rape is a crime regardless of marital status. Every Minnesotan deserves justice when they are the survivor of a crime. The repeal of this abominable law is long overdue and I’m grateful for the bipartisan support. We’re doing the right thing for courageous Minnesotans who have shared their painful personal stories.”

In many states, the statutory definition of rape specifically excluded spouses.This can be traced back to British common law, which held a woman's unconditional sexual consent was part of the marriage contract.

However, this outdated view began to changein 1979 when a Massachusettsman broke into his estranged wife’s homeand sexually assaulted her. He was charged and ultimately convicted for spousal rape. After the incident, a number of states changed thestatutory definition of rape, the result being that spouses were no longer exempt and could be charged. By 1993, marital rape was illegal in all 50 states.

While marital rape was already illegal in Minnesota prior to 2019, before the new law was passed, it had been in a different category from traditional sexual assault charges which often resulted in prosecutors declining to file charges. Before the repeal of the Marital Rape Exception, Minnesota law made it extremely difficult for prosecutors to obtain convictions for sexual assaultwhere the victim was in a voluntary relationship with or the legal spouse ofthe perpetrator.

The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission estimates the repeal of the Marital Rape Exception will result in seven additional convictions each year statewide. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center said more than 50 percent of female victims of rape report being assaulted by their partner.

If you have been charged with a sex crime, you need a criminal defense attorney with deep legal knowledge and a willingness to fight on your behalf in any court. At Halberg Criminal Defense, our team approach puts the firm’s collective knowledge and experience in your court. Our attorneys are available 24-7 — Call us at 612-DEFENSE (612-333-3673).

Contact us for a free consultation

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