There are numerous sexual offenses in Maryland:

  • Two degrees of rape
  • Four degrees of sexual offenses
  • Sodomy
  • Unnatural and perverted sex acts
  • Incest
  • Solicitation of a minor.

The definitions that the legislature has assigned to various sexual misconduct make a huge difference in the sanctions and penalties assessed upon conviction.

In no other area of law are the nuances as significant. The differences in the alleged misconduct may seem slight, but these subtle distinctions can mean the difference between freedom, and life in prison.

If you are charged with a sex offense, it is essential that you consult with, and have your case evaluated by, a seasoned defense attorney. 

First Degree Sexual Offense

A first degree sexual offense involves engaging in any sexual act with another individual by force or intimidation, without the consent of that individual while also doing one or more of the following:

  • Displaying or using a dangerous weapon or other an object the victim believes to be a dangerous weapon
  • Disfiguring, strangling, suffocating, or otherwise inflicting serious physical injury while committing the crime
  • Threatening to kidnap, strangle, suffocate, disfigure, seriously injure, or kill the victim
  • Committing the crime with the help of another individual
  • Committing the crime while engaging in first, second or third degree burglary

A first degree sexual offense is a felony conviction that carries a penalty of up to life in prison. The age of the victim, and perpetrator, have a role in sentencing. 

Second Degree Sexual Offense

A second degree sexual offense involves engaging in sexual acts with another individual by force or the threat of force without the other individual’s consent, or if one of the following are true:

  • The victim is mentally impaired or physically helpless, and the offender is aware of it.
  • The victim is younger than 14 and the offender is 4 or more years older than the victim.

A second degree sexual offense is a felony that is punishable by a maximum sentence of 20 years. 

Third Degree Sexual Offense

Third degree sexual offense involves non consensual sexual contact, and any of the following circumstances:

  • Displaying or using a dangerous weapon or other an object the victim believes to be a dangerous weapon
  • Disfiguring, strangling, suffocating, or otherwise inflicting serious physical injury while committing the crime
  • Threatening to kidnap, strangle, suffocate, disfigure, seriously injure, or kill the victim
  • Committing the crime with the help of another individual

Misconduct can also be punished under this section, where sexual acts or contact occurs between individuals of sufficiently different ages. This offense can also involve vaginal intercourse [which is normally prosecuted under the rape statute] where the victim is 14 or 15, and the aggressor over 21. 

A third degree sexual offense is a felony that is punishable by a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.

Fourth Degree Sexual Offense

Many of the offenses prosecuted under the sex crime laws are concerned with the status of the victim, i.e., is the victim is mentally or physically incapacitated. Fourth Degree Sexual Offense is really more dependent on the status of the perpetrator. This section punishes those in a position of authority with a school, who take advantage of that authority with minor. 

First Degree Rape

Rape in the first degree involves engaging in vaginal intercourse with another individual by force or intimidation without the other individual’s consent, while doing one or more of the following:

  • Displaying or using a dangerous weapon or other an object the victim believes to be a dangerous weapon
  • Disfiguring, strangling, suffocating, or otherwise inflicting serious physical injury while committing the crime
  • Threatening to kidnap, strangle, suffocate, disfigure, seriously injure, or kill the victim
  • Committing the crime with the help of another individual
  • Committing the crime while engaging in first, second or third degree burglary

First degree rape is a felony conviction that is punishable by a sentence of up to life in prison. If this victim is under a certain age, the offender is not eligible for parole. 

Second Degree Rape

Second degree rape involves engaging in vaginal intercourse with another individual:

  • Through the use of force, or the threat of force, without the other individual’s consent
  • The victim is mentally impaired or physically helpless, and the offender is aware of it.
  • The victim is younger than 14 and the offender is 4 or more years older than the victim.

Second degree rape is a felony conviction that is punishable by a prison sentence of up to 20 years. As with other rape crimes, the age of the victim and perpetrator can impact the sentence. 

Sex crime convictions are devastating.

Even if a person receives a short prison sentence, the opprobrium and disgrace of having a felony sex crime conviction on his or record record could make it nearly impossible to secure housing, employment, financial assistance, and more. If you’re facing a sex offense charge, it is vital that you speak to an experienced attorney.  I offer a complimentary legal analysis and opinion on the charges you face, and the case against you. Contact me today to schedule your meeting.  

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