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Montgomery County Rape Lawyer
Rape cases can be difficult to prosecute because often there are conflicting accounts of what occurred. The important thing to remember is that it is the prosecutor’s burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that all elements of the crime of rape occurred. This means not just proving intercourse occurred (or was attempted) without consent but also proving that force or threats were involved. You do not have to prove you did not violate the law, and can avoid conviction just by raising doubts about what happened. Contact a Montgomery County rape lawyer in Maryland to learn more about defense for these types of cases and the steps you should take in your specific case.
Rape Laws in Montgomery County
- In Maryland, there are two different categories of rape offenses:
- 1st Degree Rape
- 2nd Degree Rape
In Montgomery County, there were 135 rapes in 2013 according to Maryland’s Uniform Crime Report. Rapes are classified as violent crimes, and some of the most severe penalties in the criminal justice system are reserved for defendants found guilty of rape. If you have been accused of this offense, you have legal options to try to avoid or reduce those penalties. A Montgomery County rape lawyer will fight on your behalf to help you as you respond to charges.
Maryland Code Section 3-304 defines rape in the second degree to include vaginal intercourse under any of the following circumstances:
- Force or threats are used to make someone engage in intercourse without consent.
- You know that the victim is mentally defective, incapacitated, physically helpless, or otherwise unable to knowingly consent to intercourse.
- The victim is under the age of 14 and you are four or more years older than the victim.
Rape in the first degree is defined in Maryland Code Section 3-303. First degree rape involves non-consensual vaginal intercourse by force or threat of force if:
- A dangerous weapon is used, or a physical object is used that the victim could reasonably believe is a dangerous weapon.
- The victim is suffocated, strangled, or experiences serious physical injury while the offense of rape is being committed.
You threaten the victim or place the victim in fear of imminent strangulation, disfiguration, kidnapping, serious physical injury, or suffocation.
- The rape is committed in connection with a first, second, or third degree burglary.
- The rape is committed with someone else aiding and abetting.
You may also be charged with a crime if you attempt to commit first or second degree rape, even if no vaginal intercourse actually occurs. As a Montgomery County rape lawyer can explain, Code Section 3-309 prohibits an attempt to commit rape in the first degree, and Code Section 3-310 prohibits an attempt to commit rape in the second degree.
Possible Penalties for Rape in MD
Penalties vary depending upon whether you are charged with first or second degree rape:
Attempted rape can also result in penalties ranging from up to 20 years of incarceration for attempted second degree rape to the potential for life in prison for attempted first degree rape meaning contact with a Montgomery County rape lawyer is imperative.
Having a Montgomery County Rape Lawyer on Your Side
A Montgomery County rape lawyer can help you to determine what your best options are for responding to charges. This may involve negotiating a plea bargain, or it may involve going to court to raise defenses like consent. Talk to an attorney as soon as possible after a rape accusation is made to get help responding to your charges.