Sex Offenses Crimes in Maryland Explained

Sex Offenses Crimes in Maryland Explained

The criminal landscape for sexual offenses in Maryland has been evolving for decades. The Maryland Legislature is constantly creating tougher laws and penalties for convicted sex offenders.

To be charged with a sexual offense in Maryland can be paramount to a diagnosis of a major medical problem. As soon as a detective or police officer contacts you regarding a potential allegation, the prognosis can be daunting. There is not much in life scarier than having the government contact you and claim that someone has made a sexual crime allegation against you or someone you love. Right away, instinct kicks in and you know in your gut that you have a major fight ahead to you.

Sexual Act vs. Sexual Contact

In Maryland, a “sexual act“, is any of the following acts, regardless of whether semen is emitted:

i. analingus

ii. cunnilingus

iii. fellatio

iv. anal intercourse, including penetration however slight,

v. an object that penetrates part of an individual’s body, however slightly, into another’s general opening or anus

Sexual act does not include, vaginal intercourse, or any type of penetration for medical purposes.

The definition of “sexual contact“, means an intentional touching of the victim or actor’s genital, anus, or other intimate area for sexual arousal or gratification, or for the abuse of either party.

Although, we have not covered other various sexual offenses below, such as sodomy, unnatural or perverted sexual practice, incest, sexual solicitation of a minor or “attempt” crimes, these type of charges are on the rise in Maryland, and should be taken very seriously if in fact you are charged with any one of them.

The biggest change in the last couple years of the sexual crime layout in Maryland is the fact that sexual offense in the first and second degree have been repealed. The thought process of the legislature was to take those crimes and move them into the rape statute as well as the 3rd and 4th° sex offense charges.

Obviously, potential jail time is an issue with these cases, but sometimes even worse is the sexual registration requirement which could last up to a lifetime.

The jungle that the Maryland Legislature has created with these crimes is extremely intense. If anyone accuses you of a scenario like this, do not talk to the police until you speak with a qualified attorney. Call The Law Offices of James Crawford today, and read on to see Maryland’s sex offense charging scheme.

Maryland’s Basic Sex offense charging scheme

Md. Code § 3-303. Rape in the first degree

  • (a) Prohibited. — A person may not:
    • (1)
      • (i) engage in vaginal intercourse with another by force, or the threat of force, without the consent of the other; or
      • (ii) engage in a sexual act with another by force, or the threat of force, without the consent of the other; and
    • (2)
      • (i) employ or display a dangerous weapon, or a physical object that the victim reasonably believes is a dangerous weapon;
      • (ii) suffocate, strangle, disfigure, or inflict serious physical injury on the victim or another in the course of committing the crime;
      • (iii) threaten, or place the victim in fear, that the victim, or an individual known to the victim, imminently will be subject to death, suffocation, strangulation, disfigurement, serious physical injury, or kidnapping;
      • (iv) commit the crime while aided and abetted by another; or
      • (v) commit the crime in connection with a burglary in the first, second, or third degree.
  • (b) Violation of § 3-503(a)(2) of this title. — A person may not violate subsection (a) of this section while also violating § 3-503(a)(2) of this title involving a victim who is a child under the age of 16 years.
  • (c) Age considerations. — A person 18 years of age or older may not violate subsection (a) of this section involving a victim who is a child under the age of 13 years.
  • (d) Penalties. —
    • (1) Except as provided in paragraphs (2), (3), and (4) of this subsection, a person who violates subsection (a) of this section is guilty of the felony of rape in the first degree and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding life.
    • (2) A person who violates subsection (b) of this section is guilty of the felony of rape in the first degree and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding life without the possibility of parole.
    • (3) A person who violates subsection (a) or (b) of this section is guilty of the felony of rape in the first degree and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding life without the possibility of parole if the defendant was previously convicted of violating this section, or § 3-305 of this subtitle as it existed before October 1, 2017.
    • (4)
      • (i) Subject to subparagraph (iv) of this paragraph, a person 18 years of age or older who violates subsection (c) of this section is guilty of the felony of rape in the first degree and on conviction is subject to imprisonment for not less than 25 years and not exceeding life without the possibility of parole.
      • (ii) A court may not suspend any part of the mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years.
      • (iii) The person is not eligible for parole during the mandatory minimum sentence.
      • (iv) If the State fails to comply with subsection (e) of this section, the mandatory minimum sentence shall not apply.
      • (e) Required notice. — If the State intends to seek a sentence of imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole under subsection (d)(2), (3), or (4) of this section, or imprisonment for not less than 25 years under subsection (d)(4) of this section, the State shall notify the person in writing of the State’s intention at least 30 days before trial.

 § 3-304. Rape in the second degree

  • (a) Prohibited. — A person may not engage in vaginal intercourse or a sexual act with another:
    • (1) by force, or the threat of force, without the consent of the other;
    • (2) if the victim is a substantially cognitively impaired individual, a mentally incapacitated individual, or a physically helpless individual, and the person performing the act knows or reasonably should know that the victim is a substantially cognitively impaired individual, a mentally incapacitated individual, or a physically helpless individual; o
    • (3)if the victim is under the age of 14 years, and the person performing the act is at least 4 years older than the victim.
  • (b) Age considerations. — A person 18 years of age or older may not violate subsection (a)(1) or (2) of this section involving a child under the age of 13 years.
  • (c) Penalty. —
    • (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, a person who violates subsection (a) of this section is guilty of the felony of rape in the second degree and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 20 years.
    • (2)
      • (i) Subject to subparagraph (iv) of this paragraph, a person 18 years of age or older who violates subsection (b) of this section is guilty of the felony of rape in the second degree and on conviction is subject to imprisonment for not less than 15 years and not exceeding life.
      • (ii) A court may not suspend any part of the mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years.
      • (iii) The person is not eligible for parole during the mandatory minimum sentence.
      • (iv) If the State fails to comply with subsection (d) of this section, the mandatory minimum sentence shall not apply.
  • (d) Required notice. — If the State intends to seek a sentence of imprisonment for not less than 15 years under subsection (c)(2) of this section, the State shall notify the person in writing of the State’s intention at least 30 days before trial.

 § 3-307. Sexual offense in the third degree

  • (a) Prohibited. — A person may not:
    • (1)
      • (i) engage in sexual contact with another without the consent of the other; and
      • (ii)
        1. employ or display a dangerous weapon, or a physical object that the victim reasonably believes is a dangerous weapon;
        2. suffocate, strangle, disfigure, or inflict serious physical injury on the victim or another in the course of committing the crime;
        3. threaten, or place the victim in fear, that the victim, or an individual known to the victim, imminently will be subject to death, suffocation, strangulation, disfigurement, serious physical injury, or kidnapping; or
        4. commit the crime while aided and abetted by another;
    • (2) engage in sexual contact with another if the victim is a substantially cognitively impaired individual, a mentally incapacitated individual, or a physically helpless individual, and the person performing the act knows or reasonably should know the victim is a substantially cognitively impaired individual, a mentally incapacitated individual, or a physically helpless individual;
    • (3) engage in sexual contact with another if the victim is under the age of 14 years, and the person performing the sexual contact is at least 4 years older than the victim;
    • (4) engage in a sexual act with another if the victim is 14 or 15 years old, and the person performing the sexual act is at least 21 years old; or
    • (5) engage in vaginal intercourse with another if the victim is 14 or 15 years old, and the person performing the act is at least 21 years old.
  • (b) Penalty. — A person who violates this section is guilty of the felony of sexual offense in the third degree and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 10 years.

§ 3-308. Sexual offense in the fourth degree

  • (a) “Person in a position of authority” defined. — In this section, “person in a position of authority”:
    • (1) means a person who:
      • (i) is at least 21 years old;
      • (ii) is employed by or under contract with a public or private preschool, elementary school, or secondary school; and
      • (iii) because of the person’s position or occupation, exercises supervision over a minor who attends the school; and
    • (2) includes a principal, vice principal, teacher, coach, or school counselor at a public or private preschool, elementary school, or secondary school.
  • (b) Prohibited. — A person may not engage in:
    • (1) sexual contact with another without the consent of the other;
    • (2) except as provided in § 3-307(a)(4) of this subtitle, a sexual act with another if the victim is 14 or 15 years old, and the person performing the sexual act is at least 4 years older than the victim; or
    • (3) except as provided in § 3-307(a)(5) of this subtitle, vaginal intercourse with another if the victim is 14 or 15 years old, and the person performing the act is at least 4 years older than the victim.
  • (c) Sexual abuse of a minor student by a person in a position of authority. —
    • (1) Except as provided in § 3-307(a)(4) of this subtitle or subsection (b)(2) of this section, a person in a position of authority may not engage in a sexual act or sexual contact with a minor who, at the time of the sexual act or sexual contact, is a student enrolled at a school where the person in a position of authority is employed.
    • (2) Except as provided in § 3-307(a)(5) of this subtitle or subsection (b)(3) of this section, a person in a position of authority may not engage in vaginal intercourse with a minor who, at the time of the vaginal intercourse, is a student enrolled at a school where the person in a position of authority is employed.
  • (d) Penalty. —
    • (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, a person who violates this section is guilty of the misdemeanor of sexual offense in the fourth degree and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 1 year or a fine not exceeding $ 1,000 or both.
    • (2)
      • (i) On conviction of a violation of this section, a person who has been convicted on a prior occasion not arising from the same incident of a violation of § 3-303, § 304, §§ 3-307 through 3-310 of this subtitle, § 3-311 or § 3-312 of this subtitle as the sections existed before October 1, 2017, § 3-315 of this subtitle, or § 3-602 of this title is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 3 years or a fine not exceeding $ 1,000 or both.
      • (ii) If the State intends to proceed against a person under subparagraph (i) of this paragraph, it shall comply with the procedures set forth in the Maryland Rules for the indictment and trial of a subsequent offender.

§ 3-602. Sexual abuse of a minor

  • (a) Definitions. —
    • (1) In this section the following words have the meanings indicated.
    • (2) “Family member” has the meaning stated in § 3-601 of this subtitle.
    • (3) “Household member” has the meaning stated in § 3-601 of this subtitle.
    • (4).
      • (i) “Sexual abuse” means an act that involves sexual molestation or exploitation of a minor, whether physical injuries are sustained or not.
      • (ii) “Sexual abuse” includes:
        1. incest;
        2. rape;
        3. sexual offense in any degree;
        4. sodomy; and
        5. unnatural or perverted sexual practices.
  • (b) Prohibited. —
    • (1) A parent or other person who has permanent or temporary care or custody or responsibility for the supervision of a minor may not cause sexual abuse to the minor.
    • (2) A household member or family member may not cause sexual abuse to a minor.
  • (c) Penalty. — A person who violates this section is guilty of a felony and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 25 years.
  • (d) Sentencing. — A sentence imposed under this section may be separate from and consecutive to or concurrent with a sentence for:
    • (1) any crime based on the act establishing the violation of this section; or
    • (2) a violation of § 3-601 of this subtitle involving an act of abuse separate from sexual abuse under this section.