Sex Offenses in Maryland

Sex Offenses in Maryland

The classification of sex crimes in Maryland is complex. Rape is divided into two categories or degrees. Other sex offenses are divided into four classes of offenses.

Although the term “rape” is used to describe an unwanted sex act, modern day laws also use terms such as “sexual offense” and “sexual assault” to describe unwanted sex acts that do not include vaginal intercourse but include unwanted touching.

Sexual offenses in Maryland are divided into four degrees of offensive sexual activity.

First degree is the most serious, fourth degree is the least serious.

A first-degree sexual offense refers to engaging in a sexual act (oral or anal sex, or any object or part of one’s body penetrates the genitals or anus for sexual gratification, but not vaginal intercourse – that’s above in rape) by force, threat, or without consent while displaying a weapon, suffocating or physically injuring the victim, or threatening the victim with death, disfigurement, or serious physical injury, or committed with another’s help or during a burglary.

The penalty for a conviction of a first-degree sexual offense or an attempt of this crime is life in prison.

A second-degree sexual offense refers to engaging in a sexual act with another by 1) force or without his or her consent, 2) with a mentally or physically incapacitated person (includes drunk, high, or unconscious) when the defendant should know of his or her condition, or 3) the victim is under 14 and the defendant is at least 4 years older than the victim.

The penalty for a conviction of a second-degree sexual offense is a maximum of 20 years in prison, including for attempt.

A third-degree sex act includes any of the following engaging in sexual contact (intentionally touching the victim’s or defendant’s genital, anal, or other private parts for sexual gratification or abuse of either person) without consent while using a weapon, strangling or seriously injuring the victim, threatening the victim with death, serious injury, or kidnapping, or committed with another’s help or where the victim is mentally or physically incapacitated (drunk or unconscious for example) and the defendant knows of his or her condition or where the victim is under 14 years old and the defendant is at least 4 years older.

The penalty for a third-degree sexual offense conviction is a felony with a sentence of not more than 10 years in prison.

A fourth-degree sexual offense includes engaging in sexual contact without the other’s consent or engaging in a sexual act or vaginal sex with a 14 or 15-year-old when the defendant is at least 4 years older.

Typically, conviction of a fourth-degree sexual offense is a misdemeanor punished by not more than one-year imprisonment and a fine not more than $1,000. However, if a person previously committed a sex crime, the punishment is increased to 3 years in prison and a fine up to $1,000.

Conviction of any of these sex crimes will require registration as a sex offender in Maryland for anywhere from 15 years to lifetime, depending on the crime.

If you are charged with a sex crime in Maryland, you should talk to a Maryland criminal defense attorney. A Baltimore sex crimes lawyer can get the charges reduced or work out a plea bargain, among other defense options. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Thomas J. Maronick have experience handling these cases. You can contact Thomas Maronick on his cellphone at 202.288.0167, the law office at 410.934.3007 or via our website for a free consultation.