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Maryland Statutory Rape Lawyer

According to Maryland law, statutory rape is when two people are involved in a sexual act but one is not considered of adequate age for consent. If you are facing charges, contact an experienced sex offense lawyer as soon as possible, to begin building the strongest defense available. A Maryland rape lawyer can help you collect evidence and witness before the beginning of your trial.

Unique Aspects of a Statutory Rape Offense

A rape case involves one person alleging that another person had sex with them without their consent. This typically means that the act was done without their formal consent or they were unable to give their consent due to some form of incapacitation.

Even though parties may have consented to the sexual intercourse, by law the younger party does not have the capacity to enter that consensual sexual relationship because of their age.

A unique aspect of statutory cases is the lack of force involved in the sexual act. The idea behind prosecuting such a case is that the adult in that sexual relationship should have known their partner was too young to consent to the relationship.

Role of Intent

There is no intent requirement by the state regarding statutory rape cases. When the state attorney prosecutes a statutory rape case, the only thing they have to demonstrate is that sexual intercourse took place between two parties where one was an adult and the other was under the age of consent as defined by statute.

Consent also is irrelevant insofar as the determination of statutory rape is concerned. That being said, if there is an issue of consent, this would be addressed, albeit separately. Any other intent-related questions should be discussed with a Maryland statutory rape lawyer.

Third-Party Allegations

A third-party allegation usually means that an outside party found out about the sexual relationship between two people and reported it based on the information or knowledge they had. Even though the information they learned could be considered hearsay, it might fall into one of the exceptions of the hearsay rule.

When applicable, the person is able to testify about things they heard or things reported to them about the sexual assault or sexual intercourse between the parties. This could play a significant role in how the prosecutor makes their case in criminal court.

Law Enforcement Approach

Statutory rape cases are among the most vigorously prosecuted cases because the prosecutor’s efforts are to protect children, which are considered the most vulnerable members of the community. These cases are treated most seriously by the state. Because of that, it is essential to work with a Maryland statutory rape lawyer when fighting the charges, to ensure that all sides are heard.

Potential Penalties

The guidelines for statutory rape for one session are considerably higher than with a regular rape because of the aggravating factor of the ages of the parties involved.  The penalties one faces following a statutory rape conviction include the possibility of a lengthy period of incarceration, probation, and most importantly, a lifetime registration on the sex offender list. A person convicted of statutory rape is required to register on the sex offender registry for a period or the rest of their lives.

Even if a person is paroled totally from their criminal jail sentence or completes the terms of probation, which is a maximum of five years by the court, they are still technically under the supervision of the state for the rest of their life based on the statutory rape conviction on their record. The only parties that are sentenced are the ones convicted of a criminal offense. Therefore, if there are any people convicted as an accessory to the crime, they can suffer the same penalties as well.

According to Maryland law, a person who assisted in some phase of a criminal act faces the same maximum penalties as the people involved in the act itself.

Building a Suitable Defense

Statutory rape lawyers build defenses by identifying as much information about the offense as possible and especially about the relationship between the parties. Often times, statutory rape charges are brought by people who know each other well.

They may have a history with each other and there may be petty reasons to fabricate an allegation that has nothing to do with any additional conversation with police or any additional investigation conducted by the state.

There are many reasons that one party might make up a story about another party. That kind of detailed investigation must be conducted to make sure that all bases are covered before preparing a proper defense to the statutory rape charges.

Obtaining a Defense Attorney

A person should look for a Maryland statutory rape lawyer who has experience representing parties in rape cases and particularly in statutory rape cases. In a statutory rape case, the defense attorney is required to handle things of a sensitive nature. This is key to successfully participating in the cross-examination of the accuser. The accuser is likely going to be required to testify in court about the sexual relationship they were involved in.

The attorney must be mindful of how the court might interpret the questions and the appropriate methods of how a jury might respond to the questioning of an accuser. It is important to have an attorney with experience handling these particular kinds of cases and specifically on how to cross-examine an accuser who is making an accusation against the person.

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