Felony Sex Crimes in Somerset County
The felony sex crimes that are alleged the most often in Somerset County fall into two basic categories. These are sex offenses that are alleged to have taken place when the victim is incapacitated or physically helpless, and sex offenses that are age based, where one of the persons involved in the act was not of legal age. Regardless, each is considered extremely serious and may carry life altering penalties including fines and jail time. As a result, it is important anyone facing either of these types of offenses understand exactly what they are facing and consult with a sex crimes lawyer in Somerset County as soon as possible to discuss their case.
Sex Crimes Against Helpless Victims
A textbook example of a sex crime committed against an incapacitated or helpless victim is the scenario where people at parties are consuming alcohol or some other type of substance and the victim consumes so much alcohol that they are not capable of giving consent anymore.
Being physically helpless can be proven by showing that the victim was unconscious, was unable to either resist the defendant, or was not able to communicate that they did not consent. That is probably one of the most common varieties of sex offenses in Somerset County and throughout the Eastern Shore.
Sex Crimes on College Campuses
Unfortunately, sex crimes against incapacitated victims seem to happen most frequently in communities where there are colleges or universities. These offenses often happen in Wicomico County, where there are young people attending universities and going out to parties, where they are consuming a lot of alcohol. In these instances, somebody is allowed to come back to somebody else’s dorm room or apartment where they then engage in some sort of behavior—whether it is actual intercourse or some other type of sexual act—but the victim has consumed so much alcohol that, by law, they can no longer give consent.
That is an unfortunate set of circumstances that leads to some very serious charges, the most serious of which would be a second degree rape charge, which is a felony and carries a significant prison sentence.
Age Based Sexual Offenses
Another variety of felony sex crimes that are common in Somerset County are those that are age-based. The layperson probably is not aware of what these age-based statutes say. There are plenty of 14 and 15 year olds who are actively dating and they are actively involved in a sexual relationship with another person. If that person is four or more years older than the victim, then it is an age-based sex offense. It is very important to understand that the fact that the victim may have consented does not change the fact that it is a crime.
Something else that happens frequently is that the victim is not candid with a defendant about their actual age. This can lead to a situation where a 14 or 15 year old presents themselves as 18 or older, causing the defendant to believe that they are of age and engage in sexual contact with the victim. The individual can then be charged with a sex offense. The case law in Maryland is very clear that it is not a defense that the victim was not honest about their age. It is considered a strict liability offense meaning that it does not matter if the defendant was misled or was honestly mistaken, it is still a crime.