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What is a sex crime?

Sex crimes typically involve some form of sexual contact or sexual activity. The victim did not agree to engaging in the act in question. The perpetrator may have acted alone or with the assistance of other individuals.

What is a felony sex crime?

The following acts are currently considered as felony sex crimes in the state of Maryland:

First degree sexual offenses

A sexual offense in the first degree is a crime where the victim engages in sexual activity with the perpetrator without consent. Force or the threat of force must have been used by the aggressor in that instance. A gun, knife, club, bat, pipe, sword, or other item that could reasonably have been viewed as a weapon may have been utilized or shown at the time. First degree sexual offenses differ from rape in the first degree in that vaginal intercourse does not need to have happened.

The crime may have been committed as part of a burglary (in the first, second or third degree), and the accused may have worked alone or with one or more people in the sexual act. The victim may have been physically injured. Common examples include disfigurement, stabbing, shooting and strangulation. Death or injury to the victim or someone that they know may have been threatened during the incident.

Penalties for a first-degree sexual offense are anywhere from a minimum of 25 years in jail to a life sentence in prison. Many of these convictions do not offer the possibility of parole for the convicted felon. A sentence of at least 25 years in prison is often handed down for an offender who was at least 18 years of age when the act in question occurred and their victim was under 13 years old. Kidnapping a child who is under 16 years old is   also a first-degree sexual offense, one which can carry the maximum sentence of life in prison. People who have been convicted of a first-degree sexual offense without any                 previous first-degree sexual offense or first-degree rape convictions on their record may   be sentenced to life without parole if the judge deems that kind of punishment to be   necessary.

Second degree sexual offenses

Be advised that this section has been repealed. It may still apply is cases that occurred before it was repealed.

Second degree sexual offenses also require a sexual act to have occurred with the accused and the victim. The victim may have been 14 years old or younger at the time and engaged in the activity with someone who was at least 4 years older than them. The aggressor may have pursued the action without the victim’s consent and/or engaged in the act with a person who was physically incapacitated or mentally handicapped at the time. The victim’s condition should also have been something that would have been obvious to the perpetrator.

Sentencing for a sexual offense in the second degree will be based on the circumstances of the crime. If the convicted person was at least 18 years old at the time and participated in a sexual act with someone who was under 13, they can face a minimum of 15 years in jail, with a maximum term of life in prison. If the offender violated any of the conditions in the paragraph above, they may face anywhere from 20 years to life in prison for their crime.

Third degree sexual offenses

For third degree sexual offenses sexual contact of some sort must have been initiated. A  sexual act may or may not have taken place between the accused and their target. The victim could have been injured or threatened with bodily harm or peril (such as kidnapping or death). A weapon may have been displayed, brandished or used during  the crime and the aggressor may have had one or more people help them in committing the particular sexual offense. Sexual contact with a person who was under 14 years old at the time by a person who was at least 4 years older than them or sexual contact with an obviously physically or mentally handicapped person could also be classified as a sexual offense in the third degree.

A person at least 21 years old who has vaginal intercourse with a 14- or 15-year-old victim can be found guilty of a third-degree sexual offense. They may be sentenced for   up to 10 years in jail for this crime. Other third-degree sexual offenses can result in multiple years of jail time, depending on the nature of the crime, whether or not this was a person’s first offense or if there are multiple crimes that occurred at the same time that the accused person was charged with.

First degree attempted sexual offense


A sexual offense does not need to have been completed to be viewed as a felony. If someone attempts a sexual offense in the first degree, they could be charged with a first degree attempted sexual offense. Convictions can result in anywhere from a few years to life in prison.

Second degree attempted sexual offense


Individuals can also be charged with an attempted sexual offense in the second degree. They may have tried to commit a second-degree sexual offense but did not complete the act for whatever reason. People who are found guilty of second degree attempted sexual offense may be sentenced to as much as 20 years in crime for the particular crime.

What can I do if I’m a victim of a sex crime?

If you’ve been the victim of an actual or attempted sex crime, you should contact your local law enforcement office immediately. They may ask for a statement from you and take pictures of any visible injuries that may have occurred due to the incident. You can also seek medical assistance. Hospital records can be used in court if you file a complaint against your attacker.

What actions should be taken if I’ve been accused of committing a sex crime?

You have the right to defend yourself if you’ve been accused of committing an attempted or actual sex crime. You can hire legal counsel or represent yourself. The person making the complaint against you will be referred to as the plaintiff. You will be known as the defendant in the case. Each side will have opportunities to present witnesses, testimony and evidence before a decision can be made.

If you’ve been accused of or were the victim of a sex crime, give us a call today. You can set up a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. We’ll listen to what you have to say and recommend potential next steps. We can even represent you in court if you so choose.

Sex crimes often carry a negative stigma. Some offenders may be instructed to have their information appear on the state’s sex offender registry. It can take a considerable amount of time and effort to rebuild personal and professional relationships. If you’re willing to do the work, you may eventually find yourself in a far better life setting than ever before.