Laws surrounding sex offenses in the state of Maryland are as complex as anywhere else. With numerous different offenses and classifications for each, it’s difficult to understand just what you are being charged with and how your particular situation fits into the legal criteria when you aren’t an attorney yourself.
Understanding the charges doesn’t make things any easier but it does provide some sense of power over the situation. Here are just a few of the more commonly seen Maryland sex offenses. Consulting with a criminal defense lawyer will help you get a better idea of what you are up against.
Maryland Sex Offense Laws and Penalties
First Degree Rape
Rape in the first degree is defined as engaging in vaginal intercourse with another by force or threat of force and without their consent. In general, rape in the first degree is punishable by up to a life sentence. If a weapon is used or you threaten the victim with death, you could be sentenced to life without parole.
If you are over the age of 18 and the victim is under the age of 13, you will face a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years and up to life without parole.
Second Degree Rape
Second degree rape is defined as engaging in nonconsensual vaginal sex with another by force or the threat of force. In general, this is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. However, like first degree rape, there are instances where the penalty can be increased.
If you are over the age of 18 and the victim is under 15, you could face a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years.
First Degree Sexual Offense
The difference between rape and “sexual offense” is that first degree sexual offense involves a “sexual act”, not necessarily vaginal intercourse. If you engage in a sexual act with another without their consent, by force or the threat of force and you use a weapon, you could be charged with this offense. This crime is punishable by up to life in prison.
If the victim in the case is a child under the age of 16, you could face life without the chance for parole. If the child is under the age of 13 and you are over the age of 18, the possible penalty is increased to a mandatory minimum of 25 years and up to life without the possibility of parole.
Second Degree Sexual Offense
You could be facing this serious criminal offense if you are accused of engaging in a sexual act by force or by threat of force against the other person’s will where they are mentally defective or handicapped or if the victim is under 14 years of age and you are at least 4 years older. In general, this offense is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. However, if the victim is under the age of 13, you will face a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years.
Third Degree Sexual Offense
This crime is defined as engaging in sexual contact without the consent of another and using a dangerous weapon in the commission. It can also apply if the victim is mentally defective or under 14 years old where you are over 18.
The penalty for this offense is up to 10 years in prison.
Fourth Degree Sexual Offense
This crime involves sex offenses where you , as the aggressor are in a position of power because of your employment or status within a school or where you are 4 years older than the victim and the victim is 14 or 15 years old.
This offense is generally classified as a misdemeanor offense. Depending on the specifics of the case, however, you could face up to 3 years in prison.
All of these criminal offenses have exceptions and situations where the penalty can be increased depending on things like your criminal history or the facts of the case. Other sex crimes include: attempted rape, attempted sexual offense, sexual solicitation of a minor, and continuing course of conduct with a child.
To know for certain what you are up against and how best to proceed, a consultation with a local criminal defense lawyer is crucial.