In Maryland and throughout the U.S., the answer is no. There is no such thing as a minor or incidental sex crime. There may be a criminal law sex crime. There may be criminal laws that punish less or more, but because of the social stigma and possible criminal and civil consequences, all sex charges should be taken very seriously. Maryland has the following types of Sex crimes
- Rape in the first degree
- Rape in the second degree
- Sexual offense in the first degree
- Sexual offense in the second degree
- Sexual offense in the third degree
- sexual offense in the fourth degree
- unnatural, perverted sexual practices
- sexual solicitation of a minor
Each of these types of sex crimes carry penalties ranging from a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years (in first-degree rape) to one year for a fourth-degree sex offense. The consequences vary for all the offenses but may include years of mandatory probation, sex registration, sex-related revaluation and treatment, polygraph examinations and/or stress test exams, group counseling, and other conditions.
One of the most serious consequences is sex registration, where a person could be required to register for 15 years, 25 years, or life, depending on the circumstances. Sex registration involves periodic reporting, getting a photograph taken and published online, and keeping personal information updated (also published online)
Generally speaking, a registrant cannot use the internet, have any contact with minors, must keep personal information updated (license plate, Social security, home address, employment), and is subject to random 24-hour searches and investigations by parole or probation officers.
One of the most heinous and difficult things that can happen when someone is listed on the sex registry is that neighbors and friends will see their photograph and know exactly where they are. So many times, neighbors and community members will try to have the person removed from the neighborhood any way they can. And it’s extremely hard to find employment or keep a job.