Prince George’s County Sex Crimes Lawyer
Most defendants charged with sex crimes are viewed (and punished) as serious felons. Those found guilty of such charges in Prince George’s County also frequently find themselves having to register as sex offenders from many years, if not the rest of their lives. Convictions for even misdemeanor charges are embarrassing, can endanger professional lives – and credit ratings – threaten child custody and visitation matters, and trigger the end of many marriages and personal relationships. This is why it’s a particularly disastrous move if you do not retain a well-qualified Prince George’s County sex crimes lawyer with experience defending clients against alleged sex crimes within Prince George’s County, whether it is a serious felony or a misdemeanor.
Felony Sex Crime Charges in Maryland
Most felony sex crimes fall within the classification of sexual assault, which many people refer to as rape. The crimes of rape and sexual assault, or sexual offense as it is called in Maryland, are divided into various sub categories.
- First Degree Rape – is punishable by up to life in prison. If a weapon is used or the victim is threatened with death; life without parole is also a possibility. If the perpetrator is an adult and charged with raping a victim under 13; a 25 year mandatory minimum sentence is the result and life without parole is also possible.
- Second Degree Rape – Punishment can be as high 20 years in prison; though unlike first degree rape, there is no mandatory sentence. The primary reason for this felony is the perpetrator injures the victim during the commission of rape. But it can also include threat of injury. Typically no weapon is used by the perpetrator during the criminal act. One exception to that rule is a defendant who is 18 or older, who is accused of raping a victim 15 or younger, would face a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years.
- First Degree Sexual Offense – covers all legitimate and attempted sexual acts without the victim’s consent other than rape; by force, threat of force, or with a weapon. It is punishable by up to life in prison. If the victim is under 16, life without parole for an adult is possible. If the victim is under age 13, a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years, to life without parole awaits the convicted adult.
- Second Degree Sexual Offense – The line between this offense and first degree sexual assault can sometimes be blurry. Second degree assaults may involve victims that are mentally handicapped and minors age 14 and younger. Punishments range from minimum sentences of 15 years in prison to a maximum of 20 years.
- Third Degree Sexual Offense – The penalty is up to ten years in prison. This felony generally covers any inappropriate physical sexual contact without the victim’s consent. Often – but not always – a weapon (not a firearm) is used by the perpetrator. It also includes sexual contact with victims with limited mental capacity and those 14 and younger, and where the offender is over 18. If a case for first or second degree sexual assault is weak, prosecutors will likely charge the defendant with this felony.
- Molestation – Can be either a felony – if an adult sexually molests a child – or a misdemeanor (see fourth degree sexual assault). Penalties for felony molestation can be up to 25 years in prison. Many forms of molestation can include incest as well.
Misdemeanor Sex Crimes in Maryland
- Fourth Degree Sexual Offense (misdemeanor) – The penalty for this crime can be up to three years in prison. It can involve non-felonious sex offenses where the aggressor is in a position of power, such as the workplace. It can, however, include a school teacher who is at least four years older than a 14 year old.
- Solicitation – Though commonly a misdemeanor if the victim is an adult, this “bridge charge” can bring more serious charges once the offense is fully investigated; typically one of several prostitution-related charges, most of which are misdemeanors. Solicitation of a child, however, is a serious felony.
- Child pornography – This crime is now much more aggressively pursued by law enforcement because of file-sharing on websites and other forms of internet technology. Depending on the involvement of the alleged perpetrator, and the nature of the evidence, it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony or it could result in federal charges.
Other sex crimes include: incest, sexual harassment and/or stalking (including Internet sexual stalking and sexting); sexual perversion, human trafficking for the purposes of prostitution, and internet-based sex crimes (including internet sexual stalking and sexting).
Experience is Key in Sex Crimes Defense
All of these criminal offenses have exceptions and situations where the penalty can be increased; depending on the defendant’s criminal history, or the facts of the case.
This is why Seth Okin and the attorneys he works with should be contacted immediately. Ideally, if you know you are being investigated – but not yet charged – our team of Prince George’s County sex crimes lawyers can begin to work toward mitigating the damage caused by that investigation; especially if the charges might be false and made by careless or disgruntled “victims” who perhaps have ulterior motives. The earlier an attorney is retained, the better your defense strategy. Call Prince George’s County sex crimes attorney Seth Okin today, for a free initial case consultation.