telephone For A Free Consultation Call (301) 761-4842
En Español
En Español

Maryland Sex Crimes Frequently Asked Questions

In the State of Maryland, sexual crimes are covered under the criminal law code, Title 3, Subtitle 3, Section 3-301 through Section 3-324. Almost every crime covered in these sections can result in felony conviction, heavy fines, and incarceration. If you are facing charges for a sex crime, please contact a Maryland sex crimes attorney.

How do I find the best criminal defense lawyer if I’m charged with a sex crime?

In the State of Maryland sexual crimes are treated very seriously- almost every sex crime is considered a felony offense and carries harsh penalties. Aside from the daunting prison sentences and fines, any felony sex crime conviction is accompanied by a devastating stigma that can shatter your professional, social, and family life. Specifically, a felony sex crime conviction can make it nearly impossible to find employment, future housing, loans, and even privacy. One of the most toxic effects of being convicted of a felony sex crime is the possibility of mandatory lifetime registration as a sex offender.

For these reasons, it is extremely important to contact an experienced Maryland sex offense defense attorney as early as possible. There are several considerations to take into account when searching for a defense attorney: cost, experience, reputation, and professionalism.

When evaluating the cost of an attorney, it is unwise to simply seek out the lawyer with the lowest rates because being convicted of a sex crime in Maryland virtually always results in incarceration (sometimes for life), heavy fines, a lifetime stigma and a possible registration in the Sex Offender Registry. The best approach for considering cost is to seek out a defense attorney who provides quality legal services at a price that you can afford. The most effective way to do this is to seek out attorneys with free initial consultations where you can discuss the services they will provide, as well as the rates and attorney fees expected for your particular case. However, there is no doubt that a proper evaluation of cost includes weighing affordability along with the quality of legal services.

When trying to gauge the quality of legal services, one of the most important factors is experience. Although this is always an important factor to consider when choosing your defense attorney, it is particularly crucial when dealing with sex crime cases because of the high stakes involved. You want to seek out defense attorneys who have substantial experience handling sex crime cases in Maryland. Sex crime cases are often highly subjective and turn on the jury assessments of conflicting testimony.

Furthermore, you should seek defense attorneys who have a strong reputation to go along with their experience. A strong reputation can show that the attorney has done more than handle many cases- namely that the attorney has successfully handled the cases and developed good relationships with the court and the media as a result.

Finally, it is imperative that the attorneys you are seeking have professionalism. This quality is embodied by a pursuit of continued professional excellence, and can be seen if the attorney is an active member of professional criminal defense organizations and if the attorney is continuing education in legal issues to keep up with changes in the law.

What is the state of Maryland’s legal definition of “rape”? What are the penalties?

The first sexual crime covered in Maryland law is rape in the first degree (Section 3-303). First degree rape requires at least two components. First, one must be engaged in vaginal intercourse with another person by force, or the threat of force, without the other person’s consent. Second, one must commit the first act while doing one or more of the following:

  • Employing or displaying a dangerous weapon or an object that the victim reasonably believes is a dangerous weapon, or;
  • Strangling, suffocating, disfiguring, or inflicting serious physical injury on the victim or another individual while committing  the act, or;
  • Threatening, or placing the victim in fear, that the victim or an individual known to the victim will imminently be subject to suffocation, disfigurement, strangulation, serious injury, kidnapping, or death, or;
  • Committing the crime while aided and abetted by another person, or;
  • Committing the crime in connection with a burglary in the first, second, or third degree.

The penalty for first degree rape is a felony conviction and up to a life term in prison. Furthermore, if the victim was under 16 years old then the maximum sentence is life in prison with no possibility of parole. Lastly, if the perpetrator is 18 years or older and the victim’s age is 13 years or younger, there is a minimum penalty of 25 years in prison. Rape in the second degree is covered in Section 3-304. This crime requires that one engage in vaginal intercourse with another person:

  • through force, or the threat of force, without the consent of the victim, or;
  • if the victim is a mentally deficient individual, a mentally incapacitated individual, or a physically helpless individual, and the person performing the act knows or reasonably should know that the victim is such, or;
  • if the victim is under 14 years of age and the person performing the act is at least 4 years older than the victim.

The penalty for second degree rape is a felony conviction and up to 20 years in prison. If the perpetrator is at least 18 years old and the victim is under 13 years of age then the penalty is a minimum of 15 years and up to life in prison.

What is Maryland’s legal definition of “sexual offense”? What are the penalties?

Sexual offense, covered by Section 3-305 through Section 3-308, is a sexual crime that includes sexual acts outside of vaginal intercourse. These includes, but are not limited to, anal intercourse, fellatio, cunnilingus, analingus, and sexual penetration with an object.

Sexual offense can occur in the first, second, third, or fourth degree. Sexual offense in the first degree (Section 3-305) requires at least two components. First, one must be engaging in a sexual act with an individual through force, or the threat of force, without the consent of the individual. Second, one must commit this first act while doing one or more of the following:

  • Employing or displaying a dangerous weapon or an object that the victim reasonably believes is a dangerous weapon, or;
  • Strangling, suffocating, disfiguring, or inflicting serious physical injury on the victim or another individual while committing  the act, or;
  • Threatening, or placing the victim in fear, that the victim or an individual known to the victim will imminently be subject to suffocation, disfigurement, strangulation, serious injury, kidnapping, or death, or;
  • Committing the crime while aided and abetted by another person, or;
  • Committing the crime in connection with a burglary in the first, second, or third degree.

The penalty of Sexual offense in the first degree is a felony conviction with a maximum sentence of life in prison. The maximum sentence increases to life without possibility of parole if the victim is less than 16 years old. If the perpetrator is over 18 years old and the victim is under 13, then the penalty is a minimum of 25 years in prison.

Sexual offense in the second degree (Section 3-306) requires that one engage in a sexual act with another person:

  • through force, or the threat of force, without the consent of the victim, or;
  • if the victim is a mentally deficient individual, a mentally incapacitated individual, or a physically helpless individual, and the person performing the act knows or reasonably should know that the victim is such, or;
  • if the victim is under 14 years of age and the person performing the act is at least 4 years older than the victim.

Sexual offense in the second degree carries a penalty of a felony conviction and up to 20 years in prison. If the perpetrator is at least 18 years old and the victim is less than 13, then the penalty is a minimum of 15 years in prison, with a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Sexual offense in the third degree (Section 3-307) covers two kinds of sexual crime. First, it covers situations similar to first and second degree sexual offense with one important distinction – instead of committing a sexual act, the perpetrator engages in sexual contact with the victim. The second part of third degree sexual offense applies to situations regarding the ages of the victim and the perpetrator. Specifically, vaginal intercourse, a sexual act, or sexual contact between two consenting individuals is covered by this section, if either:

  • The victim is under the age of 14 years and the person performing the sexual contact is at least 4 years older, or;
  • The victim is 14 or 15 years old and the person performing the sexual act(s) or vaginal intercourse is at least 21 years old.
  • The penalty for sexual offense in the Third Degree is a felony conviction and up to 10 years in prison.

Sexual offense in the fourth degree (Section 3-308) covers several different situations concerning age and authority. It covers sexual acts and vaginal intercourse between a victim 14 or 15 years old and a perpetrator at least 4 years older. It also prohibits any person in a position of authority from engaging in a sexual act, vaginal intercourse, or sexual contact with a minor. A person in a position of authority is defined as an individual at least 21 years old employed as a full-time permanent employee by a public or private school who exercises supervision over a minor who attends the school. Lastly, sexual offense in the Fourth Degree covers sexual contact without the victim’s consent.

The penalty for sexual offense in the fourth degree is a misdemeanor with imprisonment not exceeding one year or a fine not exceeding $1,000.00, or both.

What about “attempted rape”? “attempted sexual offense”? Penalties?

Attempted rape is covered by Section 3-309 & Section 3-310, and states that it is illegal to attempt to commit rape in the first or second degree, including situations where the attempts fail to lead to vaginal intercourse.

Attempted sexual offense is covered by Section 3-311 and Section 3-312, and states that it is illegal to attempt a sexual offense in the first or second degree, including situations where the attempts fail to lead to sexual acts.

The penalty for Attempted first degree rape or sexual offense is a felony conviction and up to life in prison. The penalty for attempted second degree rape or sexual offense is a felony conviction and up to 20 years in prison.

GET IN TOUCH WITH OUR
MARYLAND CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS