Understanding the Maryland Sexual Offense Laws and Penalties
Maryland’s sexual offense laws impose harsh penalties on individuals. Here’s what you need to know if you face a sex offense accusation in Maryland.
Basics of Maryland Sexual Offense Law
Even if you are an overall law-abiding citizen, you may find yourself in violation of Maryland sexual offense laws. Any time you engage in what you believe to be consensual sexual or vaginal intercourse, you might be accused of illegal behavior. When drugs or alcohol are involved, the chance increases.
Such incidents can damage your overall reputation and put you in a struggling spot where you might find yourself distant from the people around you, whether your friends or family.
Whether you are the victim of retaliation of another, you had misunderstood actions or intentions, or you were merely in the wrong place at the wrong time, you could be arrested and charged for a sexual assault.
To reduce the likelihood of a stressful and costly experience with long-reaching ramifications, you should immediately retain the services of a skilled and experienced attorney like Paolo Gnocchi of Scrofano Law. She can provide valuable information for your defense and represent you in court.
A better understanding of the charges you are being accused of and proper planning of how you will defend yourself in court can help you prevent many worries and emotionally unstable days and save your reputation from irreplaceable damages.
Sexual Offense in the First Degree Section 3-305
A person can be charged with a sexual offense in the first degree, section 3-305, if they use force or the threat of force to perpetrate a sexual act upon a victim without their consent. Under Section 3-305(a)(2), they also must do one of the following acts:
Commit it as part of a burglary in the first, second, or third-degree
Commit it with another person’s assistance
Inflict serious injury
Threaten or cause the victim to fear serious injury or kidnapping
Use or display a dangerous weapon
Suppose you are investigated or arrested for a first-degree sexual crime. In that case, you should immediately contact a reputable law firm to advise you of your rights and help you avoid the criminal Lawyer justice system and substantial penalties. Consulting with experienced lawyers would help you see different aspects of your case and help you brainstorm ideas and strategies to protect your rights in court.
Penalties for First-Degree Sexual Offense in Maryland
In MD, a first-degree sexual offense is considered similar to first-degree rape and therefore prosecuted as a felony punishable by up to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Enhanced penalties are used when the convicted is at least 18 years old, the victim is under 13, or the offense happens during a child abduction. In these situations, the accused faces penalties of a mandatory minimum of 25 years in prison without the possibility of parole but may be sentenced to life in prison.
If you are accused of sexual abuse, you should reach out to a local attorney as quickly as possible to avoid the maximum penalties.
Sexual Offense in the Second Degree Section 3-306
A person can be charged with a sexual offense in the second-degree section 3-306 if they use force or the threat of force to perpetrate a sexual act upon a victim without their consent. The primary distinction is the type of sexual activity perpetrated. Under Section 3-306(a), they must also:
Inflict it upon a physically helpless or mentally defective individual.
Inflicted upon a victim 14 years or younger by a perpetrator at least four years older.
Contact a knowledgeable law office for information and advocacy if you are being investigated for a second-degree sexual conduct offense.
Penalties for Second-Degree Sexual Offense in Maryland
A second-degree sexual offense is considered similar to second-degree rape in MD and is prosecuted as a felony punishable by up to a 20-year prison sentence. If the convicted is over age 18 and the victim is under age 13, their sentence is a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum of life imprisonment.
To reduce the chance that you are found guilty of the felony, you should intentionally retain the services of a local attorney as soon as possible.
Sexual Offense in the Third Degree Section 3-307
A person can be charged with a sexual offense in the third-degree section 3-307 if they engage in sexual contact with a victim without their consent, and it doesn’t meet the requirements to be considered a first or second-degree offense. Under Section 3-307(a)(2), they also must do one of the following acts:
- Commit it to a physically helpless or mentally defective individual
- Commit it with another person’s assistance
- Inflict serious injury
- Inflicted upon a victim 14 years or younger by a perpetrator at least four years older
- Inflicted upon a victim of 14 or 15 years old by a perpetrator at least 21 years old
- Threaten or cause the victim to fear serious injury or kidnapping
- Use or display a dangerous weapon or physical object
If you are arrested for an illegal sexual act with another, you should hire a reliable attorney from a local law firm to discuss your options.
Penalties for Third-Degree Sexual Offense in Maryland
Third-degree sexual offenses are felonies punishable by an up to 10-year prison sentence. To improve your chances of having the charges reduced or withdrawn, you should consult with a reputable lawyer knowledgeable about the MD sexual offense laws.
Sexual Offense in the Fourth Degree Section 3-308
There are many types of conduct for which a person can be charged with a sexual offense in the fourth-degree section 3-308. If they engage in sexual contact with a victim without their consent and the act doesn’t meet the requirements to be considered a first, second, or third-degree offense, it could be prosecuted as a fourth-degree offense. The crime must also meet one of the following:
- Inflicted upon any victim by a perpetrator at least four years older but younger than 21
- Inflicted upon a victim of 14 or 15 years old
- Inflicted upon a victim under age 18 by a person at least 21 years old who is in a position of authority at the victim’s school
Contact a reputable attorney if you are accused of sexual misconduct.
Penalties for Fourth-Degree Sexual Offense in Maryland
A person convicted of a fourth-degree sexual offense is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and/or a $1000 fine. If they have prior sex crime convictions, they will face imprisonment not exceeding three years. A fourth-degree sexual assault is still a serious offense. It requires the assistance of a professional legal firm to maintain a clean criminal record and avoid being placed on a sex offender registry.
How to Avoid Charges of Attempted Sexual Offense
If you are accused of an attempted sexual offense, you should immediately contact a Maryland law office. Being suspected or accused of attempting illegal sexual acts or having sexual contact with another can escalate to more significant changes. Plus, if convicted, the person performing the act faces serious consequences. Sexual acts include:
Possession of visual content of a child of age under 16 engaged in a certain sexual act
The sale or display of an explicit item to a minor.
It also includes any other obscene act if the victim is mentally incapacitated or an actual child. Prostitution charges may also be classified as a sexual offense and require the assistance of a prostitution lawyer.
Dealing with sexual crime charges could be devastating both mentally and emotionally. Moreover, it comes with a huge potential of damaging your professional image and career. Consulting with an experienced attorney who understands the sexual act and rulings for the person who violates the sexual act in the Maryland criminal justice system could help you immensely.
A better understanding of how Maryland criminal law regard punishments and penalties for the person who violates any section of the Maryland Sexual Act can help you see through these difficult times and determine how you are supposed to protect your rights in court.
How Can a Maryland Sexual Offense Lawyer Help?
Being accused of sex crimes, especially those resulting in a serious physical injury of a child or physically helpless individual, can be devastating, and you may wonder how a Maryland sexual offense lawyer can help. With so many variables, this legal area can be particularly complex. The emotional nature of the crimes and potential punishments make it vital to have a savvy lawyer by your side.
A knowledgeable lawyer can provide knowledge to better understand sexual offense crimes and charges and help you gather evidence to protect your right in court.
Maryland prosecutes sex crimes seriously. Contact Maryland sex offense lawyer Paolo Gnocchi of Scrofano Law for a free consultation today.