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Maryland Rape Laws

The sexual crime of rape is broken down into two degrees. The penalties are harsh, so if you are charged with rape in Maryland, please contact a Maryland rape lawyer today (more information here).

Rape in the First Degree: Section 3-303

Two elements must be satisfied for a person to be guilty of first degree rape. First, a person must (1) engage in vaginal intercourse with the victim (2) through the use of force, or the threat of force, (3) without the victim’s consent. Section 3-303(a)(1). Second, under Section 3-303(a)(2) the perpetrator must also do one of the following:

  1. Use, brandish, or display a dangerous weapon or a physical object the victim reasonably believes is a dangerous weapon.
  2. Inflict serious injury on the victim or another person while committing the rape. This also includes suffocating, strangling, or disfiguring the victim.
  3. Threaten the victim, or otherwise put the victim in fear, that either the victim or another individual will be killed, strangled, suffocated, disfigured, or be subject to serious physical injury or kidnapping.
  4. Rape the victim while assisted by another person.
  5. Rape the victim as part of a first, second, or third degree burglary.

There are also enhanced penalties when the rape occurs (1) as part of a child kidnapping where the victim is under 16 years of age (see Section 3-503(a)(2)), or when (2) the perpetrator is at least 18 years old and the victim is under the age of 13 years. Section 3-303(b)-(c).

If a person violates this section then that person is guilty of first degree rape, a felony punishable by up to life in prison. Section 3-303(d)(1).

If a person violates this section as part of a child kidnapping where the victim is under 16 years of age (see Section 3-503(a)(2)), then that person is guilty of felony first degree rape and faces the penalty of up to life without possibility of parole in prison. Section 3-303(d)(2).

If a person with a prior conviction of first degree rape or first degree sexual offense is found guilty of felony first degree rape, then that person faces up to life without the possibility of parole in prison. Section 3-303(d)(3).

If a person violates this section under circumstances where the perpetrator is at least 18 years old and the victim is younger than 13 years of age, then that person if guilty of felony rape in the first degree and faces 25 years to life without the possibility of parole in prison, with a mandatory minimum 25-year prison sentence. Section 3-303(d)(4).

Rape in the Second Degree: Section 3-304

This crime is also broken down into two required components. First, the perpetrator must have vaginal intercourse with the victim. Section 3-304(a). Second, under Section 3-304(a) the perpetrator must have had the vaginal intercourse under at least one of the following sets of circumstances:

  • The act occurred without the consent of the victim through the perpetrator’s use of force or threat of force.
  • The victim is a mentally defective individual, or was mentally incapacitated or physically helpless at the time of the offense– a fact that the perpetrator knew or reasonably should have known at the time when the vaginal intercourse occurred.
  • The victim is younger than 14 years old and the perpetrator is at least four years older than the victim.

If a person violates this section, that person is guilty of the felony of second degree rape and faces a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. Section 3-304(c)(1). However, if a person over 18 years old violates this section and the victim is younger than 13, then that person is guilty of felony second degree rape and faces 15 years to life in prison, with a mandatory minimum 15-year prison sentence. Section 3-304(c)(2).

Attempted Rape

Attempted First Degree Rape Section 3-309

If any person attempts to commit rape in the first degree, that person is guilty of a felony punishable by up to life in prison. Section 3-309.

Attempted Second Degree Rape Section 3-310

If any person attempts to commit rape in the second degree, that person is guilty of a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Section 3-310.

How a Maryland Rape Lawyer Can Help

Even though rape is broken down into two degrees, the penalties are always very serious. In fact, some kinds of rape are punishable by life in prison without parole. With such a significant liberty interest at stake, you should contact a Maryland rape attorney if you are charged with any rape crime in Maryland.