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Maryland Statutory Rape Lawyer

Statutory rape is defined as sexual relations between two people, one of whom is below the age of consent. In Maryland, the age of consent is 16 which means anyone under that age is not legally considered to be able to give consent to have sexual intercourse, regardless of whether they say they want to or regardless of how old they look.

Typically these cases do not provide much flexibility since the prosecutor can easily prove the age of the individuals. With that said it is still important to consult with a Maryland statutory rape lawyer as they can mitigate the sentences and penalties associated with the offense and use the facts and circumstances to build as strong a defense as possible. If you or someone you know has been accused of statutory rape, consult with a sex crimes lawyer in Maryland to begin building a defense for your case today.

Romeo and Juliet Laws

Romeo and Juliet laws protect consensual sex between a minor and someone who may be a certain age older than the minor. As long as the age difference between the couple is within three years of each other and the minor is over the age of 14, a sexual relationship will not be considered statutory rape.

For example,a 15 year old sophomore and an 18 year old senior are protected by Romeo and Juliet laws. The 18 year old can not be charged with statutory rape, assuming that the intercourse was consensual.

With that said, it is important to keep in mind that all sex crimes are prosecuted vigorously. So while statutory rape cases are in a slightly different category because of the Romeo and Juliet laws, they will still pursued zealously and warrant the attention of a statutory rape lawyer in Maryland.

Rape v. Statutory Rape

The two main differences between statutory rape cases and other rape cases is consent, and the ages of the two people involved.  In a statutory rape case, unlike in other types of rape cases, an individual can consent to the sexual encounter, however if they are under 16 their consent will not be legally recognized. 

In addition, the penalties for statutory rape are quite different that rape penalties because statutory rape assumes a lack of violence.  Rape cases are violent crimes, involving force or intimidation and this is reflected in the severity of the penalties.

Building a Defense

In order to build the strongest defense possible for those accused, a Maryland statutory rape lawyer will need to examine all the facts of the case. This includes determining the situation between the two people involved and the various factors that led to the alleged offense. For example if the sexual offense took place at a party and whether these two people were a couple.

In these regards an experienced attorney can be very useful as they are able to have a frank conversation with the prosecution to get a sense of where the case is going much earlier than an inexperienced attorney. The experienced attorney works to gain an understanding of the circumstances and how they fit into the case, as well as understanding the people, the witnesses, and the different personalities involved.