Published on 7/13/2022, 1:31:00 PM
Maryland Rape Laws and Maryland Sex Offenses Explained
The state of Maryland defines several types of sex crimes, each of which carries serious penalties. And although such laws are necessary to prevent sexual crimes, unfortunately, innocent people sometimes find themselves facing sex crime charges. From regret regarding a sexual encounter, to revenge for some perceived slight, there are many reasons that people are falsely accused of sex crimes.
Regardless of the reason, however, one thing is for sure: if you have been falsely accused of a sex crime, you must act fast. Not only can a conviction for a sex offense result in jail or prison time and require you to register as a sex offender, but it can make it difficult for you to secure suitable housing, find employment, and even obtain certain types of loans. In other words, a sexual crime conviction can change your life forever.
Therefore, if you are facing a sex crime charge of any kind in Maryland, you should contact an experienced Maryland sexual crimes defense lawyer as soon as possible for assistance.
Maryland Rape Laws
Maryland defines rape in the first degree as engaging in vaginal intercourse with another by force or threat of force without consent. A person who commits rape in the first degree is guilty of a felony. For an offense to be charged as rape in the second degree, a perpetrator must engage in vaginal intercourse with a victim under any of the following circumstances:
Without the victim's consent through the use of force or threat of force
The victim is mentally incapacitated, mentally defective, or physically helpless at the time of the act, and the perpetrator knew or should have known of the victim's incapacitation at the time of the act.
In addition, an attempt to commit rape in the second degree is a felony. Also, depending on the circumstances, date rape can either be charged as first- or second-degree rape. And if drugs are used to commit date rape, the perpetrator may face additional charges.
First-Degree Sex Offense Maryland Laws
A first-degree sexual offense is a sexual act other than vaginal intercourse that a perpetrator commits against a victim by force, threat of force, or with a weapon. A person who attempts to commit a first-degree sexual offense also faces a felony charge.
Second-Degree Sex Offense Maryland Laws
Most people who face second-degree sexual offense charges are alleged to have committed a sexual act other than vaginal intercourse by force or the threat of force against a mentally handicapped or otherwise disabled person. This crime is also often charged against those who attempt to commit statutory rape.
Third Degree Sex Offense Maryland Laws
A 3rd degree sexual offense is any form of unwelcome sexual contact (other than rape) that a perpetrator initiates with a dangerous weapon. This charge also includes sexual contact with a mentally disabled victim and certain statutory rape charges.
Fourth Degree Sex Offense Maryland Laws
A 4th degree sexual offense is usually charged as a misdemeanor, and it includes non-felonious sex offenses in which the perpetrator is in a position of power, such as at the workplace, or if the perpetrator is at least four years older than an underage victim.
Sex Crimes Involving a Minor in Maryland
There are several sex offenses that specifically address victims who are minors. Many of these have to deal with the "age of consent" or "statutory rape". In Maryland, a minor cannot consent to sexual conduct in many situations. Laws in Maryland are written without the word "consent" for this very reason. Below are some of the common age based sexual laws in Maryland.
This felony is committed when a perpetrator has intercourse with a person who is under the age of 14 if the perpetrator is at least four years older than the victim. And it is a second-degree sexual offense to engage in a sexual act other than rape when the victim is under the age of 14 if the perpetrator is at least four years older than the victim.
Statutory Rape Law Maryland - Third Degree Sexual Offense
If a person who is at least 21 years old engages in a sexual act other than rape with a person who is 14 or 15 years old, this is a third- degree sexual offense, a felony in Maryland.
Maryland Rape and Sex Offense Penalties
As noted above, each of the sexual crimes in Maryland carry specific penalties. Given the severity of these penalties, it is advisable to contact a Maryland sexual crimes defense attorney as soon as possible if you've been accused of a sex crime. The consequences of a sexual crime conviction can remain with you for life, so it is imperative that you do everything you can to fight your charge. In the section below, we examine the penalties associated with various Maryland sex crimes.
First-degree rape: Life imprisonment is the maximum sentence for first-degree rape or attempted first-degree rape in Maryland. However, if an individual rapes a kidnapped child under the age of 16, has a prior conviction for first-degree rape or some other sexual offense, or rapes a child under 13 while over the age of 18, then life imprisonment without the possibility of parole is the maximum sentence available.
In addition, the state of Maryland imposes a 25-year mandatory minimum prison sentence if a rape is committed against a victim under 13 years old by a person who is over 18 years of age. In such a case, the court cannot suspend any part of those 25 years, and the perpetrator is not eligible for parole.
Second-degree rape is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, and this includes attempted second-degree rape. However, if an individual who is 18 years or older rapes a child under the age of 13, the perpetrator faces a sentence of between 15 years to life in prison.
Sexual Offense Penalties
First-degree sexual offense:
A first-degree sexual offense in the state of Maryland is punishable by life in prison. However, if an individual was previously convicted of first-degree rape or some other sexual offense, rapes a kidnapped child under the age of 16, or the defendant is over 18 and the victim is under 13 years old, then the maximum sentence is life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
In addition, if the defendant in a first-degree sexual offense case is over 18 and the victim is a child under 13 years old, then the state imposes a 25-year mandatory minimum prison sentence. None of these 25 years may be suspended by the court, and the defendant is not eligible for parole.
Second-degree sexual offense:
In most cases, the maximum sentence for a second-degree sexual offense is 20 years in prison, and this includes an attempted second-degree sexual offense. However, if a person over the age of 18 assaults a child who is under 13 years old, the minimum prison term is 15 years, and the maximum term is life in prison.
Third-degree sexual offense:
The penalty for a third-degree sexual offense conviction is up to 10 years in prison.
Fourth-degree sexual offense:
A fourth-degree sexual offense is punishable by no more than one year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000. However, if a defendant was previously convicted of a sex crime, the punishment is increased to three years in prison and a fine up to $1,000.
Sexual Solicitation of a Minor Maryland
Other minor-related sex charges include solicitation (or trafficking for sex) of a minor and inappropriate touching. The crime of sexual solicitation of a minor can occur even if the "minor" is a police officer.
The States' case can be proven by showing the Defendant intended to meet up with the minor, or if the Defendant inticed the minor to commit a sexual act in any way.
Another Maryland sexual crime is indecent exposure. Maryland law defines indecent exposure as exposing one's genitals, breasts, or buttocks, in a public place where others are present and may witness the act. Certain circumstances can aggravate an indecent exposure charge, such as if underage children are present and view the act.
Sexual Stalking and Harassment
Some types of sexual crimes in Maryland are prosecuted through the Maryland Misuse of Telephone Equipment and Misuse of Electronic Communications laws.
Examples of such crimes include:
- Making an indecent, obscene, lewd, or filthy comment, suggestion, proposal, or request via telephone
- Making phone calls repeatedly or with the intent to torment, annoy, harass, distress, or embarrass the individual being called
- Making electronic contact with the intent to alarm, annoy, or harass the recipient after being reasonably requested or warned to cease such contact by the recipient or by someone on behalf of the recipient.
Since the advent of the Internet and the perceived anonymity it offers users, the majority of child pornography
offenses today originate online. Due to their nature, these types of cases are often extremely complex.
Evidence used to charge a defendant in a child pornography case often consists of the alleged offender's browser history, phone cache, file transfer activity, and cookie files. Unfortunately, users sometimes receive illegal pornographic files via email or through spyware without even realizing it, thereby leading to sexual crime charges.
Prostitution & Solicitation
Although prostitution and solicitation are misdemeanors in Maryland, they can result in serious consequences for defendants. Penalties for these crimes can include probation, jail time, fines, and other harmful consequences that often negatively affect a defendant's personal life, ability to find employment, and reputation.
Many of these arrests arise from street and online sting operations. In these operations, undercover law enforcement officers represent themselves as prostitutes to entice customers and then charge them with solicitation or other offenses associated with prostitution.
Sex Offender Registration
In addition to the above penalties, conviction of any of the above sex crimes requires registration as a sex offender from 10 years to life, depending on the crime and the "tier of registration" required. Therefore, if you are facing a sex crime charge in Maryland, you should seek legal counsel as soon as possible, as being on the sex offender registry can severely impact your life.
Contact a Maryland Sexual Crimes Defense Lawyer
If you are facing a sex crime charge in Maryland, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer in your corner. However, not just any attorney will do. Rather, to ensure that you receive the most effective defense possible, you need a Maryland sex crimes attorney who specializes in the area of criminal defense.
At FrizWoods, we focus exclusively on criminal defense, which means that our sole focus is defending our clients against criminal charges. Attorneys Luke Woods and Max Frizalone are passionate advocates for justice, and each have strong track records of success in criminal cases. In fact, our firm has successfully represented clients who have had charges as serious as first-degree rape dismissed by the State of Maryland.
When you come to us for assistance with your criminal case, Luke Woods and Max Frizalone will utilize their experience and knowledge to provide you with the strongest defense possible against your sex crime charge.
Our law firm is open twenty-four seven (24/7) because we understand that the Maryland criminal justice system never closes. In fact, most sex crime allegations occur after regular 9-5 hours. So, regardless of when you contact us, we will be here for you. Please contact us today to schedule a free attorney client privileged initial consultation to plan your criminal defense.