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What is a sex offense?

Sex offenses are broadly defined as inappropriate sexual contact with someone who does not consent to such acts. Child molestation or sexual abuse, rape, incest, lewd and lascivious acts, taking a child with the intent of prostitution and sexual assault are common examples of sex offenses. Violating sex offender rules and failing to register as a sex offender when ordered to do so could also be classified as sex offenses.

Is a sex offense a crime?

Sexual offenses are also referred to as sex crimes. It is illegal to force or use the threat of force against another individual to coerce them into engaging in sadomasochistic behavior or sexual activities. Adults are also forbidden from being involved in sexual acts with a minor. Maryland defines a minor as someone under the age of 18. However, a person needs to be at least 16 years of age or older to provide consent to sexual activity.

What is a second-degree sex offense?

Maryland categorizes sex offenses into three degrees: second degree, third degree and fourth degree. The nature and type of the offense can determine which classification a particular kind of offense will be given. Second degree sex offenses are the most severe, while fourth degree sex offenses are the least serious.

Second degree sex offenses have two common elements:

  1. The accused and the victim must have been involved with one another in a sexual act.
  2. At least one or more of these conditions must have been present when the act was committed:
    • The offender was at least 4 years older than the victim, and the victim was under 14 years old at the time.
    • The victim was physically helpless, mentally incapacitated or mentally defective when the incident occurred. This is something that the perpetrator should have known or have been able to reasonably infer at the time.
    • Actual or threatened force was used to persuade the victim to engage in the sexual act.

A person who has attempted to engage in statutory rape with a minor may also be charged with a second-degree sexual offense. Some second-degree sex offenses may resemble second degree rape. The primary difference is that second degree sexual offenses often involve actions other than vaginal intercourse with a victim.

What are the penalties for second degree sex offenses in the state of Maryland?

Second degree sex offenses are felonies. A person convicted of a second-degree sexual offense could be ordered to serve up to 20 years in a jail. A mandatory 15-year prison sentence could be handed down if the offender was 18 years of age or older and committed a sex offense with a person who was younger than 13 when the act occurred. In that instance, the judge can sentence the perpetrator anywhere from 15 years to life in jail.

What can I do if I’m a victim of a second-degree sex offense?

The first thing that you should do if you’ve been a victim of a second-degree sex offense is to contact your local law enforcement. It’s a good idea to do this as soon as possible while your memories are still fresh and any injuries or bruises that you suffered during such an act are visible.

Police officers may ask you to make a statement. Be sure to answer their questions completely to the best of your knowledge. You may also seek medical attention if you were injured in the incident. You may be given a copy of the hospital record which you can keep.

Your statement, hospital record and other evidence can be brought forward if the case if brought to trial. You will be referred to as the plaintiff in those proceedings. The person who committed the act will be known as the defendant.

Evidence, witnesses and expert testimony can be presented by both sides. You can represent yourself or enlist the services of legal counsel to act on your behalf. Each side will be given an opportunity to explain their side of the story. All information that was supplied during the case will be taken into consideration before the judge makes a decision and grants a verdict.

Regardless of the proceedings or the outcome, remember that what happened is not your fault. You did not initiate the act nor did you give consent to the aggressor. Sexual offenses are illegal, but it may take a certain amount of evidence and proof to support your claims. The defendant must also verify their position.

What steps can I take if I’ve been accused of a second-degree sex offense?

People are accused of second-degree sex offenses on a regular basis, whether they actually committed the alleged acts or not. There are many reasons why this happens. Some people may want to take revenge against a former romantic partner or spouse. Others may just enjoy getting people in trouble. You have the right to refute those claims and defend yourself if a lawsuit is brought against you.

Second degree sexual offenses can have devastating effects on victims and offenders. A victim may never forget what they had to endure. They could have difficulties maintaining and starting personal relationships. Some victims may suffer post-traumatic stress which can hamper their abilities to keep up with their studies or workplace tasks.

It may take an offender months, years or even decades to regain trust and credibility. Even if they were found innocent or have served their sentence, a person who was accused of committing a second-degree sexual offense may still be regarded poorly by family members, friends, neighbors, colleagues and others that they come into contact with on a regular basis.

If you’ve been accused or a victim of a second-degree sexual assault, we’re here to help. Contact us today to schedule a no-obligation consultation. Our trained professionals will listen to what you have to say and provide valuable advice for possible next steps. We can even represent you in court if you want.

Our ultimate goal is to help you get back to normal. This won’t be easy. No one wants to undergo court proceedings for a sex crime case. However, it may be a necessary element that can be a positive step toward enjoying the standard of life that you’ve grown accustomed to.