Types of Sex Crimes in Somerset County
There are a slew of sex offense charges in the Somerset County, ranging from misdemeanors all the way up to some of the most serious felonies that there are in Maryland criminal law. Regardless of the exact crime, it is important to work with a Somerset County sex crimes lawyer when facing sex crimes charges, as the potential consequences for these crimes are severe.
A fourth degree sex offense is a misdemeanor charge and can be charged in three different ways. The first variety of a fourth degree sex offense is sexual contact. This means that the persona accused had sexual contact with the alleged victim against their will and without their consent.
Sexual contact essentially means that a person intentionally touched another person’s genital area or another part of the body that is considered intimate, and that touching was done for purposes of sexual arousal or gratification. A fourth degree sexual contact crime is basically an intentional touching.
Another variety of fourth degree sex offense is engaging in a sexual act with a person who is 14 or 15 years of age. This type of offense means that the alleged victim, because they are so young, lacks the capacity to consent to any kind of sexual behavior. The State would have to prove that a person committed some sort of sexual act on the other party, that the other party was either 14 or 15 years old at the time, and that the person accused was at least four years older than their alleged victim. The statute specifically defines what a sexual act is, including oral sex and anal sex.
The third version of a fourth degree sex offense is again age-related and it has to do with engaging in vaginal intercourse with an individual who is only 14 or 15 years old. The state would have to specifically prove that the person facing the charge had vaginal intercourse with the individual, that the individual was 14 or 15 years old at that time, and that the alleged offender was at least four years older.
Third Degree Offenses
The next variety of sex offense is a third degree sexual offense, which is a felony. There are three different ways that someone can commit a third degree sex offense. One of those is engaging in sexual contact with a person who is mentally defective, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless at the time of the act. The State has to prove that a person had sexual contact with another person and that other person was mentally defective, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless at the time, and that person knew or should have known about the other person’s condition.
There is also an age-based offense under the third degree sex offense statute. In order to be convicted of a third degree sex offense, the defendant would have to have sexual contact with a victim who is under 14 years of age at the time of the act and when the defendant is at least four years older than the victim.
Finally, a defendant can be charged with a third degree sex offense if they have sexual contact with the victim against the victim’s will and without the victim’s consent and they do so while either displaying a weapon, inflicting suffocation or serious physical injury, or threatening or placing the victim in reasonable fear that someone known to them would be subject to some sort of injury if the sex offense did not take place. This is a very serious offense.
Second Degree Sex Crimes
A second degree sex offense is in some ways very similar to a third degree sex offense, but in order to convict somebody of a second degree sex offense, the allegation has to be that they committed the sexual act instead of having sexual contact with the victim. There are different varieties of a second degree sex offense.
First Degree Sex Offenses
A first degree sex offense is very similar to a second degree, except that there has to be a situation where either a weapon is displayed or there are threats made against either the victim or someone close to the victim.
Potential sentences for these different offenses vary wildly, because the misdemeanor fourth degree sex offense carries a maximum penalty of jail time not exceeding one year, the maximum penalty for a first degree rape is life in prison. There is a huge range of what the potential sentence could be and that does not even take in to consideration the additional penalty that is imposed by ordering a defendant to register on the Maryland sex offender registry.