Washington County Sex Crimes Lawyer
When allegations of a sex offense in Maryland are filed against a suspect, not only do they pose serious risks to freedom, and a criminal record if convicted, they can be complex and often difficult to understand. The assistance of a Washington County sex crimes lawyer is vital to any defendant in a sex-related offense. There are a variety of offenses that can be charged. The following are the most serious Maryland sex crimes.
Rape and Sexual Assault
- First-Degree Rape [Maryland Annotated Code Section 3-303] – This is defined as vaginal intercourse “by force or threat of force, against the victim’s will and without consent,” in which the victim suffers physical injury. Conviction could mean up to life in prison, depending on the specifics of the case, whether a weapon is used, and whether the offender has previous sex offense convictions. If the convicted suspect is over 18, and the victim is under 13, a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years could be handed down.
- Second-Degree Rape [Section 3-304] – This classification finds the victim suffering less (or no) physical harm than from the sexual act itself. But there might have been the threat of harm by the accused, who did not have a weapon when the act was committed. Punishment is generally 20 years in prison. Perpetrators over 18 whose victim is 13 to 15 years of age face a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years.
- Sexual Assault (which is charged as “sexual offense”)
- Sexual Offense in the First Degree [Section 3-305] – This crime involves any “sexual act” other than vaginal intercourse. It is committed without the victim’s consent, “by force, threat of force, and with a weapon.” If the victim is a child age 16 or under (and the suspect is over 18), sentences range from a mandatory minimum of 25 years in prison to life.
- Second Degree Sexual Offense [Section 3-306] – It is possible to be charged with this crime, “by force or threat of force,” or against a mentally handicapped person, or someone under 14 years of age (and the suspect is at least 4years older than the victim). The maximum sentence is 20 years. But if the victim is under age of 13, the mandatory minimum sentence is 15 years.
- Third-Degree Sexual Offense [Section 3-307] – This crime surrounds the engagement in any form of sexual contact not defined as rape, and without violent assault. It also includes non-violent sexual contact (such as genital fondling) with mentally handicapped victims, and those under age 14 where the offender is over 18. The penalty is up to 10 years in prison.
- Fourth-Degree Sexual Offense [Section 3-308] – This is generally classified as a misdemeanor where the aggressor is in a position of power, such as in a workplace or a school, or if the suspect is at least four years older than a 14- or 15-year-old victim. No violence occurs, and generally no penetration of any kind occurs. The penalty is up to three years in prison.
Prostitution and Solicitation
Maryland’s prostitution statute refers to “hiring” another person to perform any sex-related act in return for money, drugs, or some other pecuniary return [Section 11-301(c)]. The person who seeks, and the one who provides, such sexual favors can be accused of this violation. There are also charges for those who receive any earnings from a prostitute [Section 11-304] that could land the suspect in prison for as much as ten years. Facilitation of prostitution (“pimping” and “pandering”) is also a felony.
- Pimping (or “marketing” the services of a prostitute) can be charged under any of five conditions listed in [Section 11-306(a)(1-5)]. Penalties for these violations can be up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $500.
- Pandering essentially means the trafficking of any human being for the purposes of prostitution, or for a minor to engage in the production or display of child pornography [Section 11-303]. It is a felony that brings a 10-year maximum state prison sentence and a fine of up to $5,000, or both. But if the suspect is convicted of human trafficking of a minor under 16, the penalty can be as high as a 25-year-prison sentence and a $15,000 fine.
Federal Sex Crime Charges
Like many local sex crime violations, most federal sex crimes are facilitated via the Internet. The most common federal sex violations involve possession, production and distribution of child pornography. There are also charges involving human trafficking across state lines to engage in prostitution [18 U.S. Code Section 2421] and child pornography [18 U.S. Code Section 2251]. Convicted federal sex offenders must also register with the Department of Justice’s Sex Offender Registry.