Sexual Assault State Laws
In North Dakota state law, sexual assault can be referred to as gross sexual imposition. A person can be found guilty of gross sexual imposition if: the victim is less than 15 years of age, the victim is compelled by force (threats included), the victim is unaware that a sexual assault is being committed, the victim is unknowingly impaired by alcohol or drugs, the victim suffers from a mental disability, or the victim is physically injured as a result of the assault. This law also covers child sexual abuse, luring minors by electronic means and incest.
Under this law, the victims former relationship with the offer or any former relationships as well as manner of dress cannot be used by the defense.
For full law, click here.
A person is guilty of disorderly conduct if, with intent to harass another person, they: engage in fighting, or threatening behavior, in a public place, uses obscene language or knowingly exposes genitalia, persistently follow a person around public places, creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition, or engages in harassing conduct. This law also includes protection for the elderly and for mentally and/or physically disabled adults against financial abuse.
For full law, click here.
Fair Treatment of Victims and Witnesses
Victims and witnesses in sexual assault cases are afforded the following rights.
• Informed as to the status of investigation.
• Informed as to criminal charges filed. The prosecuting attorney also must provide information on the procedural steps involved in the processing of a criminal case.
• Notice of pretrial release. If the offender is being held, the victim has the right to know when they are released, and be informed as to the level of protection available from law enforcement in the case of harm, threats or intimidation.
• Notice as to the victims’ and witnesses’ participation in court proceedings.
• Services available. Victims must be informed of all appropriate and available public or private programs that provide counseling, treatment, or support for victims and witnesses, including rape crisis center, victim and witness assistance programs, elderly victim services, victim assistance hotlines, social service agencies and domestic violence programs.
• Employer Intercession. Upon request, victims must be provided appropriate employer intercession services to ensure that employers will cooperate with the criminal justice process in order to minimize employee’s loss of pay or other benefits.
• Witness fee. Witnesses must be informed to apply for and receive any witness fee to which they are entitled under law.
• Return of property. Victims shall have any personal property that was stolen or taken for evidentiary services, except property subject to analysis and disputed property, returned by the court within ten days of its taking or recovery if it is not needed for the purposes of the case.
• Waiting area. Victims and witnesses must be provided a waiting area separate from the defendant and those there to support the defendant. If a waiting area is not available, other safeguards must be provided.
• Protection of identifying information. Victims and witnesses may not be compelled to testify any identifying information except for name.
• Right to be present throughout the trial. The victim must be informed of the right to be present throughout the trial of the defendant.
• Prompt disposition of case. Victims must be informed of right to a prompt disposition of the cases in which they are involved.
• Notice as to scheduling of hearing. Victims must be informed of the time and place of a hearing at which a plea of guilty or not guilty will be entered and of a sentencing hearing.
• Victim impact statement. Victims have the right to submit or make a written impact statement to the court in any criminal case. The victim may also appear in court to make an oral statement under oath and is subject to cross-examination.
• Notice of final disposition and parole procedures. Victims must be informed of the parole process and the pardon process.
• Prompt notice of custodial release. Victims must be informed whenever a criminal defendant receives a temporary, provisional, or final release from custody.
• Participation in parole board and pardon decision. Victims may submit a written statement for consideration by the parole board, or a pardon advisory board. This statement is confidential record.
• Victims and witnesses of crimes committed by juveniles are entitled to the same right under this chapter in juvenile delinquency proceedings as in any other proceeding.
Victims and witnesses all have these responsibilities under this law:
• To make a timely report of the crime;
• To cooperate with law enforcement authorities throughout the investigation, prosecution and trial;
• To testify at trial;
• And to notify law enforcement authorities and all appropriate persons of any change of address. This information is kept confidential.
This law also creates the statewide automated victim information and notification system (SAVIN), which all victims are entitled to register for. This system informs victims either by telephone, mail or email of any of the following events.
- • The offender is transferred or assigned to another facility.
- • The offender is transferred to the custody of another agency outside the state.
- • The offender is given a different security classification
- • The offender is released on temporary leave or otherwise.
- • The offender is discharged.
- • The offender has escaped.
- • The offender has been served with a protective order that was requested by the victim.
SAVIN also notifies when the offender has a scheduled court proceeding at which the victim is entitled to be present, a scheduled parole or pardon hearing and change in the offender’s parole or probation status (including change of address). Registered victims are also informed when a registered sex offender has updated information or failed to comply with the registration requirement.
This law also states that victims who undergo a forensic medical examination for the collection of evidence in the case of a sexual assault cannot be charged for the cost of the examination.
For the full law, click here.
Crime Victims Compensation
Innocent victims who have been physically or emotionally injured in a violence crime in North Dakota and required medical care have a right to crime victims’ compensation. In order to receive this compensation, the crime must be reported within 96 hours, you must cooperate with an investigation and prosecution, and file an application for the compensation within one year of the date or reporting the crime. The compensation covers reasonable medical and mental health treatment and prescribed medication, wage loss, replacement services lost, funeral expenses and dependent’s economic loss.
For more information and how to apply, click here.
To see the full law, click here.
For more information about sexual violence, click here.