Catonsville Sex Crimes Lawyer
While sex crimes are some of the most serious offenses committed in Catonsville, they are also crimes that can be charged erroneously. In their zeal to protect, law enforcement officials may issue charges in situations where they are not warranted.
It is important for anyone facing charges of rape or other sexual offenses to understand the ramifications and know how to protect their rights. A consultation with a knowledgeable Catonsville sex crimes lawyer is a good first step. An experienced criminal defense attorney can provide advice and representation at all stages of the proceedings.
Statutes Define Several Serious Sex Crimes
Title 3, Subtitle 3 of the Maryland criminal code includes statutes defining rape crimes and “sexual offenses” (commonly referred to as sexual assault in other jurisdictions.) In most cases, these crimes are felonies with very serious penalties.
The most serious sex crimes in Catonsville include:
- First-degree rape (3-303)
- Second-degree rape (§3-304)
- Attempted first-degree rape (§3-309)
- Attempted second-degree rape (§3-310)
- First-degree sexual offense (§3-305)
- Attempted first-degree sexual offense (§3-311)
- Second-degree sexual offense (§3-306)
- Attempted first-degree sexual offense (§3-312)
In addition, the criminal code also includes third and fourth-degree sexual offenses which involve sexual contact. The attempt of these crimes is not included as a separate statutory offense as it is with more serious sex crimes.
Definitions of and Penalties for Rape Crimes
Both first and second-degree rape crimes involve engaging in sexual intercourse without consent. The circumstances determine whether the offense is considered first or second-degree rape.
If the act is committed by force (or threat of force) with the use of an object believed to be a dangerous weapon, or while suffocating or inflicting serious injury on another person (or threatening to do so), the crime will be treated as a first-degree rape. If a rape is committed with the assistance of a second person or during the commission of a burglary, that can also cause the offense to be treated as first-degree rape.
If someone forces another to engage in sexual intercourse by threat of force but without any of the above circumstances, then the offense may be considered rape in the second degree. Second-degree rape also occurs in situations where someone engages in sex with a person who is physically or mentally incapacitated or with a minor under the age of 14 (when the person charged is at least four years older).
Penalties for Rape
Those convicted of rape in the first degree may be sentenced to life in prison and often face lengthy mandatory minimum sentences. Convictions for second-degree rape may also result in a life sentence in some situations, while in others, the maximum sentence is 20 years. The sentences for attempted rape are similar to those for the offense itself. A Catonsville sex crimes lawyer could attempt to mitigate the penalties that a person may face.
Sexual Offenses Involve Sexual Acts and Sexual Contact
Sexual offenses in the first, second, third and fourth degrees vary widely in severity. While a fourth-degree sexual offense is treated as a misdemeanor (unless the person accused has a prior conviction), first-degree sexual offense can be punished by a life prison sentence.
First and second-degree sexual offenses are similar to first and second-degree rape scenarios, except that they involve sexual acts rather than sexual intercourse. Likewise, third-degree sexual offense includes the violence or threat of violence described in the first-degree rape statutes but involves sexual contact rather than a sexual act or intercourse.
Fourth-degree sexual offenses involve non-violent situations where sexual contact is either unwanted or inappropriate due to the authority relationship between the parties.
Contacting a Catonsville Sex Crimes Attorney
When you are facing allegations of a sex crime, it is essential to understand the charges. You should also be aware of your options for proceeding so that you can make informed decisions and take actions to help reach the best possible outcome in your case.
A skilled Catonsville sex crimes lawyer who understands how these offenses are prosecuted in local courts could help collect evidence and devise the right defensive strategy. To get started moving forward, call now.