Ellicott City Sex Crimes Lawyer
Maryland is not alone in the seriousness with which its legislature treats crimes of a sexual nature. Those found guilty of committing conduct in this realm may face long periods of incarceration, costly monetary fines and a lifetime of societal and employment challenges that have the potential to ruin entire families.
If you have been accused of criminal sexual activity, now is the time to take decisive steps in protecting your future. An Ellicott City sex crimes lawyer could help you fight to protect your rights. Speak with an experienced criminal attorney right away to begin building your argument.
Categories of Sexual Offenses in Maryland
Conduct that is broadly understood as rape and sexual assault is prohibited by Maryland statute. The legislature has made a series of statutory distinctions based on the degree of severity particular types of actions are believed to represent. Rape is characterized by two different degrees, and sexual assault offenses are broken into four classifications.
The precise charge made in a given case will depend on a number of factors which could include the age of the accuser and/or the alleged perpetrator, whether a weapon was used, whether penetration occurred and a series of other variables.
Penalties for Rape and Sex Offense Convictions
Considering the extremely personal and disturbing nature of sexually-related crimes, it is not surprising that the sanctions imposed following conviction are often quite severe. First-degree rape has a maximum sentence of life in prison, and under certain circumstances, the possibility of parole may be removed as well.
Consequences for Varying Sex Offenses
Second-degree rape can yield upwards of 20 years of incarceration, with life imprisonment as the maximum for rape of a child under 13 by an adult.
The four distinct degrees of sexual offense crimes also have a harsh range of prospective punishments available to judges in the event of conviction. First degree attempted or actual sexual offense has the potential to bring a life sentence, and a second-degree conviction may yield up to two decades in prison.
Third-degree sexual offense is a felony carrying the possibility of up to a decade of incarceration and fourth-degree sexual offense is classified as a misdemeanor with the potential of no more than a year term. However, repeat offenders can face three years in prison even for a fourth-degree offense conviction.
Sex Offender Registry Requirements
While there can be no doubt that the above punishments for those convicted of sexually-related offenses are devastating, one of the most lingering and damaging effects of a guilty finding is the mandatory sex offender registration that must occur.
Maryland’s sex offender registry is divided into three tiers each of which represents an increasingly heavier burden. Tier three offenders convicted of rape, sexual abuse of minors, incest, and other acts must re-register every three months for the rest of their lives.
As an Ellicott City sex crimes lawyer knows, tier two offenders are required to register every six months for a period of 25 years, and tier one offenders must register every six months for a period of 15 years.
What Long-Term Consequences are Associated with the Registry?
Not only does the registry create an easily accessible public record of an offender’s past mistakes, it imposes difficult restrictions on the places they may live, work, volunteer and in some cases, travel.
The ongoing duty to report, re-register and verify personal information is inconvenient and obtrusive, yet failure to meet it can result in additional charges and punishment.
Defending Sex Crime Charges
Given the profound gravity with which sexually-related offenses are viewed by most of society, those accused of such conduct often feel they have little likelihood of prevailing in court.
It is vitally important that defendants remember that effective tactics are often available and can be brought to bear by a skilled attorney.
Shining a light on an accuser’s questionable motivations, attacking the legality of police evidence gathering methods and revealing weaknesses in the state’s case can make a big difference in the outcome.
Help from an Experienced Ellicott City Sex Crimes Attorney
If accusations of sexually-related offenses have been lodged against you, the time to act is now. Remember that an allegation does not necessarily equal a conviction, and an Ellicott City sex crimes lawyer can provide the guidance and techniques your situation demands.