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Maryland Law Primer: What Is a Sex Crime

Are you curious about the state of Maryland’s stance on sex crimes? Indecent exposure, rape, sexual assault, and harassment are all serious assaults that can lead to swift prosecution with substantial penalties if found guilty. 

To ensure that individuals understand their rights in such cases and know what form of defense may best suit them, we will provide comprehensive details on what sex crimes are in Maryland. We’ll also explore what is considered a sex crime and unlawful sexual behaviors in the state, along with associated punishments, so residents will understand applicable statutes and how they apply to specific cases.

What is a sex crime?

A sex crime is an illegal act that involves sexual acts against another person without their consent. These kinds of crimes can range from rape and sexual assault to child pornography and other forms of exploitation. While the specifics vary greatly depending on the jurisdiction, all sex crimes involve severe penalties, including jail time and sex offender registration in some cases. 

Sex crimes can be highly traumatic for victims, as they often experience physical, psychological, and emotional damage that can last a lifetime. Victims may feel violated or embarrassed after such an incident, making it important to seek help from professionals trained in dealing with these issues. 

Additionally, speaking out about sexual abuse can encourage others to come forward if they have also been a victim, which can help end the cycle of abuse. If you or someone you know has been a victim of a sex crime, it is crucial to seek out professional help and support as soon as possible. 

It is also crucial to report any kind of sexual abuse or exploitation to local authorities for justice to be served. Victims can heal and reclaim their sense of safety and security with the right kinds of assistance. 

Common examples of sex crimes in the state

In Maryland, many types of sex crimes can be prosecuted based on the degree of the assault.

1st Degree Sexual Assault

1st Degree sexual assault is a severe crime involving certain aggravating factors that enhance the penalty if found guilty. These factors encompass:

  • The use of dangerous weapons or what the victim believes to be a dangerous weapon
  • Inflicting serious physical injuries upon the victim
  • Threatening to kidnap or cause harm
  • Committing the crime with an accomplice
  • Doing the act during a burglary 

It’s essential to note that any of these factors can result in a 1st-degree sexual assault charge. The sentence could be as severe as life imprisonment without parole if the victim is under 16.

2nd Degree Sexual Assault

2nd Degree Sexual Assault in Maryland is a serious crime and can carry significant penalties. This type of assault is typically defined as an individual engaging in sexual contact or intercourse with someone aged 14 or under or performing such acts with someone who is:

  • Mentally defective
  • Incapacitated
  • Physically helpless and aware of the victim’s condition 

In terms of the punishment, a maximum of 20 years sentence in jail for a felony conviction for anyone convicted of this sexual assault. 

3rd Degree Sexual Assault

Third-degree sexual assaults are a serious crime in Maryland and carry stiff penalties. It involves engaging in sexual contact without the victim’s consent or with someone who cannot legally consent due to age or mental capacity. 

This includes situations where the accused coerced, threatened, or placed the victim in fear that they (or someone known to them) could be subject to:

  • Death
  • Disfigurement
  • Serious physical injury
  • Suffocation
  • Strangulation

Another circumstance is when the victim is between 14 and 15 years old, a third-degree sexual assault can be charged if the person performing the sexual act is at least 21. Depending on the circumstances of the case, this crime could result in up to 10 years imprisonment.

4th Degree Sexual Assault

Factors that can influence the outcome of this type of case include the age difference between parties, the defendant’s position of power and trust over the victim at the time of the incident, and whether physical force was used. 

It is important to understand that even if an underage person gave consent, it may still be determined legally invalid due to their inability to provide legal consent under these circumstances. The conviction for this assault is one year in person for first offenders and three years for repeat offenders.

Potential defenses to a sex crime charge

Several defenses may be available to an individual facing a sex crime charge. Depending on the circumstances, the following could be used as defense strategies: 

  • Consent: If both parties involved in the alleged act consented to it and were both of legal age, consent can be used to defend against sex crime charges. However, certain factors such as intoxication, mental incapacity, or duress may invalidate consent. 
  • False Accusation: This is one of the more common defense tactics used by individuals facing a sex crime charge. It may involve providing evidence that someone else committed the crime or arguing that law enforcement acted improperly during investigations. However, this type of defense can be difficult to prove. 
  • Insufficient Evidence: A person charged with a sex crime may argue that there isn’t enough evidence to prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and thus, the charges should be dropped or dismissed. This involves demonstrating that witnesses, video, and audio recordings are unreliable or inconclusive. 

It is important to note that these are just potential defenses against sex crime charges; it is up to the individual and their legal team to determine the best strategy for their situation. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help develop a proper defense strategy that may result in reduced charges or acquittal of all charges.

Your trusted partner for all types of sexual assault charges

The experts of Jezic & Moyse are passionate about helping individuals charged with sex crimes in the Maryland area. We provide superior representation and ensure your rights are respected at all times. 

If you or a loved one have been charged with a sex crime in Maryland, our attorneys can handle everything on your behalf. We earnestly look forward to the chance to protect and defend your rights. 

Whether it’s a misdemeanor or felony, you can trust our experienced team of attorneys to be on your side through this difficult time and fight for your best interests. Schedule a consultation with our experienced lawyers today.

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