Defendants accused of sexual offenses in Maryland can potentially face several different types of charges. State law divides rape into two categories, while other sexual crimes, sometimes called sexual assault, have four classes.
Rape categories and penalties
State law for sex crimes involving rape are divided into first- and second-degree offenses. First-degree rape is sexual intercourse without consent or by force, involving various physical injuries, using weapons, kidnapping or occurring during a burglary. Depending on the circumstances, lifetime imprisonment without parole is the maximum sentence. If the rape involves a child, the mandatory minimum prison sentence is 25 years. Second-degree rape involves forced sexual intercourse with a mentally or physically incapacitated person or if the victim is under 14 and the perpetrator is at least four years older.
Sexual assault can involve oral sex or forced penetration anywhere except the vagina combined with threats for first-degree offenses. Second-degree has the same definition as the second-degree rape charge. Third- and fourth-degree offenses involve primarily unwanted sexual contact, with the charge determined by severity. Penalties can range from short, one-year sentences and fines up to life in prison.
Protecting your rights in sex crime charges
Sex crimes do not always involve physical contact. They can also involve indecent exposure accusations, revenge porn and other digital issues, and soliciting a minor. If you have been accused of a sex crime, you must build a strong defense against the charges to prove your innocence or at least get the charges reduced.
DNA evidence is not necessarily the end of a successful defense. Motions to suppress the evidence due to improper or questionable collection techniques can work in your favor. Strong tactics are necessary to mitigate the effects of any sex crime charge to preserve your future life.