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What is a Sexual Offense Under Maryland Law?

Baltimore criminal defense lawyers are acutely aware the definitions given to various acts is a key component of any sex-based prosecution. We carefully study the definitions set forth in the sex offense laws. The definitions set forth proscribed conduct, and so constitute the offense itself. The conduct upon which the State is prosecuting must fit with some very specific categories. The fine distinctions in language are perhaps even more vital in the arena os sexual offenses. The assistance of a seasoned criminal defense attorney can be vital.

If the state cannot prove the conduct falls within one of these definitions, a conviction is improper.

Some definitions that play a paramount role in these prosecutions are:

A sexual act, which is defined as: 

  • analingus
  • cunnilingus
  • fellatio
  • anal intercourse,
  • insertion of any body part into the genital or anal orifice of another, if that act is has the purpose of sexual arousal.

Sexual contact, which means:

  • touching any intimate area of another for the purpose of arousal, or, more ominously, abuse.

As we’ve seen in other Articles, the crime of rape is limited to forcible vaginal intercourse. A sexual offense, first degree, involves the non-consensual, forcible performance of a sexual act on another, combined with an enumerated aggravating factor. [See 3-305 of the Criminal Law Article]. The lack of consent is a critical element of all of these crimes.

Second degree sexual offense involves forcible, nonconsensual sexual acts with mentally or physically incapacitated victims, or with victims of a certain age. In a given circumstance, a skilled defense attorney may successfully argue that their client actually committed a crime, just not the one they have been charged with. Criminal defense attorneys in Baltimore often argue that a crime is a sexual offense, rather than rape, as the penalties are far less severe.

     -This Article was updated by Eric Kirk on 3/25/20. 

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