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What is statutory rape?

Statutory rape is loosely defined as an act of sexual intercourse with a minor. It may refer to a sexual act that has been committed with a person who is 14 or 15 years old or younger and perpetrated by an individual who is at least four years or more older than their victim. The victim must not have consented to the particular sexual act.

Is statutory rape a crime in Maryland?

Even though the state of Maryland does not officially recognize a crime as statutory rape currently, it is still illegal for people to engage in sexual activity with a minor. The age of consent for sexual intercourse is currently recognized as age 16 in this state. A person under 16 may agree to engaging in sexual activity, but the act would still be illegal until they are legally old enough to consent.

What are the penalties for statutory rape?

Sexual interaction with a minor is a crime. The specific crime that a person can be charged with can depend on the nature of the incident and the ages of the people involved. The penalties can also vary according to the severity of the incident.

First degree sexual assault is a sex crime that typically involves threats of violence or actual violence against a person. It is the most serious of the four kinds of sexual assault crimes. The minimum prison sentence for such a crime is 25 years. The maximum sentence is life imprisonment.

Statutory rape could be considered a second-degree sexual offense if a person 18 years of age or older engaged in sexual intercourse with a person who was 13 years old or younger at the time. Offenders may be sentenced to anywhere from at least 15 years in jail without the possibility of parole to life in prison.

A person who is at least 4 years older than their victim who was 14 years of age or younger at the time the incident occurred could also be charged with second degree sexual assault. There is no minimum jail sentence for such offense. However, a person could be ordered to serve up to 20 years in prison for the crime.

Third degree sexual assault can be sexual contact or sexual penetration that the victim does not consent to. Penetration of a person’s genital area may or may not have occurred. A person may be charged with third degree sexual assault if they are at least 4 years older than their victim, who was 14 years old or younger at the time. People who are 21 years of age or older who were involved in a sexual act with someone who was 14 or 15 years old at the time could also face third degree sexual assault charges. They may face up to 10 years of prison time. They could also be mandated to have their information listed on the state’s sex offender registry for up to 25 years.

Fourth degree sexual assault is the most common type of sexual offense. Current laws do not allow anyone to engage in a sexual act with a person who is 14 or 15 years of age if they themselves are at least 4 years older than that person. Consent may be called into play if the aggressor was at least 21 years of age or older and was a counselor, coach, teacher or held another similar authority position at the school where the victim was enrolled at the time.

A fourth-degree sexual assault conviction is generally considered a misdemeanor. Offenders may be required to pay a fine and/or serve up to a year in jail. They could also be ordered to have their data listed on the state sex offender registry database for up to 15 years, and the crime could also result in a second-degree assault charge. This is punishable by a jail term of no more than 10 years.

How can I report statutory rape?

If you or someone you know is a victim or perpetrator of statutory rape, you can report such acts to your local law enforcement. They may take a statement from you. Be sure to answer all questions that are asked completely to the best of your knowledge.

Victims may undergo a medical exam. Those records can be included as part of the plaintiff’s documentation should the case go to trial. The examining physicians may be called to court to provide testimony and answer any inquiries that either side may have.

What should I do if I’ve been accused of statutory rape?

You have the right to represent yourself or hire legal counsel if you’ve been accused of statutory rape. The person making the claims may make a petition to the respective local court. The case could be brought to trial and you could be required to attend the court proceedings.

Statutory rape is complex and you will have a lot of questions. Fortunately, we’ve got answers. Contact us today to set up a no-obligation consultation. Our trained professionals will listen to what you have to say and provide invaluable insight and recommendations for possible next steps. We can even represent you in court if you want.

Victims and people who have been accused of such a crime will undoubtedly have difficulties in maintaining and beginning personal relationships. The act may impact their work performance or hinder their abilities in keeping up with schoolwork, landing suitable employment or finding housing that best meets their needs.

Things can get even more complicated if the victim becomes pregnant as a result of the sexual act. One or both parties may have some difficult decisions ahead. Keeping and raising the baby can affect their current schooling, employment or housing situation as well.

A certain stigma can be attached to them whether they’ve been charged with or been a victim of statutory rape. Even if they were completely innocent, the individual may be viewed in a negative light by their friends, relatives, coworkers and acquaintances. It can take considerable time and effort to regain credibility and trust. Some bonds may be permanently broken.

Our primary goal is to help you get back on track again. It won’t happen overnight. Don’t be surprised if it takes several weeks or months for your court case to be settled. Eventually, you’ll realize that all the time and effort that you put into making things right was definitely worth it.