Maryland Sex Crimes Lawyer
In Maryland, conviction for certain sex offenses can mean registering as a sex offender for anywhere from 15 years to the rest of your life. You may be sentenced to jail time, and you may face other restrictions on your future after you get out of prison. You deserve to understand and protect your rights when you face such serious penalties. A Maryland sex crimes lawyer can help you from the time you are accused until your case is complete.
Sex Crimes in Maryland
There are many different sex offenses in the state of Maryland including:
- First degree rape (Maryland Code Section 3-303)
- Second degree rape (Code Section 3-304)
- Attempted first degree rape or attempted second degree rape (Code Sections 3-309 and 3-310)
- First, second, third, and fourth degree sexual offenses (Code Sections 3-305, 3-306, 3-307 and 3-308)
- Sodomy (Code Section 3-321)
- Incest (Code Section 3-323)
- Sexual solicitation of a minor (Code Section 3-324)
Each Code Section has a specific definition of the illegal behavior. For example, rape in the first degree is defined as forced, non-consensual vaginal intercourse while doing any one of the following:
- Using any object that appears to be a dangerous weapon.
- Suffocating, disfiguring, strangling, or inflicting serious physical injury.
- Threatening or making the victim fear that he or someone else will be strangled, disfigured, kidnapped, or the victim of serious bodily injury.
- Committing first, second, or third degree burglary
- Engaging in forced sexual behavior with a victim under age 16.
- Engaging in forced sexual behavior with a child under age 13 if you are over 18.
A prosecutor must prove all elements of the offense in order for you to be convicted of first degree rape. A Maryland sex crimes lawyer will carefully review the evidence in your case to help you determine whether you can cast doubt on any aspects of the crime that a prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt.
Penalties for Sex Crimes in Maryland
Penalties for sex crimes in Maryland vary depending upon the specific wrongful behavior you have been accused of. Prosecutors and lawmakers are generally very hard on people accused of forcing sexual acts or engaging in sexual acts with minors, so these crimes have the most serious penalties. However you could be incarcerated for most sexual offenses. For example:
- First degree rape could lead to a sentence of life in prison without parole under Code Section 3-303.
- Incest, or engaging in vaginal intercourse with close family members like siblings, can result in between one and 10 years imprisonment under Code Section 3-323.
- The sexual solicitation of a minor can result in up to 10 years’ incarceration and up to $25,000 in fines under Code Section 3-324.
You can sometimes be charged with multiple offenses. If you are accused of using the Internet or telephone to solicit a minor for sexual acts and you are also accused of having non-consensual sex, you could be charged with rape and soliciting a minor.
How a Maryland Sex Crimes Lawyer Can Help
A Maryland sex crimes lawyer can talk to a prosecutor about a guilty plea if you do not want to go to court. A prosecutor who wants to avoid trial may be willing to recommend a light sentence, or even to reduce charges to a less serious offense.
A Maryland sex crimes lawyer can also represent you in a criminal trial. There are numerous defenses you can raise, depending upon the crime. Some options may include:
- False accusations: A breakup or divorce often leads to false allegations.
- Planted memories: Sometimes, children are coached into saying things that are not true.
- Consent: Although children cannot consent, consent is a defense to forced sexual acts with an adult.
- Lack of possession: If you are charged with a child pornography offense, you can argue the pornographic material did not belong to you and you did not know you had it.
- Illegal search: An illegal search is also a common defense in child pornography charges. If police searched your home or computer in violation of the Fourth Amendment, no evidence obtained may be used to secure a conviction.
To learn more about your options for introducing doubt or responding in a strategic way to your charges, contact a Maryland sex crimes lawyer today.