Sexual Offense Charges
With so many different legal terms for sex crime, understanding which terms relate to less serious or more serious offenses can be confusing. Maryland law broadly describes sex offenses to include minor crimes where there is no sexual contact, such as sexting or solicitation. However, it can also refer to sexual contact that involves touching the genitals or intimate areas without the individuals consent. Sex offense also refers to when the individual is under the age of 14 and is therefore legally unable to consent or the individual is mentally incapacitated and is therefore also unable legally to consent. It can refer to violent sexual behavior, involving rape.
Maryland Criminal Law Code Annotated § 3-305 covers the first-degree sexual offense, § 3-306 the second-degree, § 3-307 the third-degree and § 3-308 the fourth-degree. Using the actual term “sexual offenses,” the statutes indicate that the first degree is the most serious, carrying potential punishment of life in prison, the second degree carrying a potential penalty of 20 years in prison, the third degree punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison and the fourth degree being the least serious offense, resulting in a misdemeanor charge and up to one year in jail.
With a strong criminal law attorney at your side, you may have the option of negotiating a plea bargain that can whittle years off of potential sentencing through reduced charges. Whether you accept a plea or fight for acquittal depends on the strength of your case. In certain cases, an aggressive courtroom defense can win your freedom.