Local Criminal Defense Minneapolis: Adultery is Still, Technically, A Crime in Minnesota

Remember when Ashley Madison was hacked back in 2015? From government officials, to reality TV personas, to viral YouTube stars, it seemed like nearly everyone was swept up in this sordid affair in some capacity. While most people were clucking tongues and shaking heads, no one seriously suggested that those who were caught out by the hack be criminally prosecuted for trying to cheat on their partners.

Though, under certain circumstances, those in Minnesota could have faced criminal proceedings for adultery.

Adultery Laws: State-Endorsed Slut Shaming?

Adultery laws aren’t new, according to Atlas Obscura. They were at the peak of their power and popularity during the Victorian era (with its occasionally draconian rules about sex and sexuality), but despite being relics of another time there are still 21 states in the U.S. that have these laws on their books. And, according to Trip Savvy, Minnesota is one of those 21 states. While it’s been several decades since these laws were used regularly, they still get taken down off the shelf from time to time. A case in New York in 2010, for example, was going to use the state’s adultery laws to slap additional fines and possible jail time onto a woman who was caught having sex in public. The charges were dropped as part of a plea agreement, but the point is the prosecutor wasn’t shy about dusting the law off and throwing it into the ring.

Before you get too worried, though, it’s important to note that Minnesota’s adultery law is weighed heavily in favor of men. The law states that when a married woman has sex with a man who is not her husband, both parties have committed adultery. Punishment may include a fine of up to $3,000, and up to one year of imprisonment, but charges will only be brought in the event the adulterer’s spouse lodges a complaint. Additionally, married men are excluded from committing adultery. Also, if a man claims he didn’t know the woman he was with was married, he is also excluded from being charged with this particular crime under Minnesota law.

For more information on Minnesota law, and how you can protect yourself in the event you find yourself facing an actual charge of adultery, simply contact us today!

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Please contact attorney Kirk Anderson for an initial consultation.