What is a sex offense?
A sex offense is a sexual act or sexual contact that was performed between two or more people. The activity must have been non-consensual. If the act was performed with a minor, it may be illegal. A person is viewed as an adult in Maryland once they turn 18, but they must be 16 years of age or older to give consent to any forms of sexual conduct.
Are sex offenses illegal?
Sex offenses are considered to be crimes in the state of Maryland. They are categorized into three classes, depending on the type of offense that was committed. There are second degree, third degree and fourth degree sex offenses. Fourth degree sex crimes are usually the least serious.
What is a third-degree sex offense?
There are certain elements to third degree sex crimes which may resemble second degree sex offenses. Third degree sexual offense accusations are focused more on sexual conduct than specific sexual activities themselves. It must be shown that the victim did not consent to the conduct.
In addition, a person may be charged with a third-degree sex offense if they engaged with sexual contact with their victim and one or more of the following actions occurred:
- One or more people assisted the perpetrator in the sexual offense.
- A weapon or an item that the victim reasonably believed could be used as a weapon was shown to them or brandished or used by the accused person.
- The victim was placed in fear or threatened that either they or someone that they know personally would be killed, kidnapped or subjected to significant bodily harm.
- During the sexual act, the victim or another individual was suffocated, strangled, disfigured or injured in another way.
- The perpetrator engaged in a sexual act with a person who was physically helpless, mentally incapacitated or mentally deficient. The victim’s condition should have been obvious or the accused could have reasonably deduced that they were unable to defend themself or protest.
- A person 21 years of age or older has vaginal intercourse with a victim who was 14 or 15 years old at the time.
- An individual who is at least 21 years old engages in a sexual act with someone who is 14 or 15 years old.
- A person who is at least 4 years or more older than their victim participates in sexual conduct with someone who is younger than 14.
What are the penalties for third degree sex offenses?
A third-degree sexual offense is a felony. People who have been found guilty of third-degree sex crimes may be sentenced to no more than 10 years in jail for that crime. Additional penalties may be tacked on if the person was also convicted of other sexual offenses.
What can I do if I’m a victim of a third-degree sex offense?
If you’re a victim of a third-degree sex crime, you should contact your local law enforcement. They may want a statement from you and to take photos of any visible bruises or other injuries that you suffered as a result of the sexual act. You can also seek medical assistance if necessary.
The police statement and hospital records can be incorporated in your evidence if you file a petition against your aggressor. You may hire an attorney or represent yourself if the case is brought to trial. Both sides will have evidence, witnesses and testimony to corroborate their claims. You can ask any people who saw the actions in question if they would be willing to testify as witnesses on your behalf.
What actions can I take if I’ve been accused of committing a third-degree sex offense?
You have every right to refute any claims or accusations of third-degree sexual offense. You may have a case brought against you. You will be known as the defendant during court proceedings. The person who filed the complaint will be referred to as the plaintiff. Both sides will be allowed to explain their side to the judge before a decision has been made. You may appeal the decision if you feel that it was unfair or that you were falsely accused of committing such acts.
It can take victims and people who have been accused of sexual crimes a long time to recover. Victims may feel less confident about themselves. They could have a tough time dealing with what they endured. Traumatic acts may also affect their other personal relationships and their ability to continue to perform their usual job-related functions. They may also have a poor self-image, even though what happened was not their fault in any way. People who have experienced such acts typically struggle with anxiety, depression and stress.
Even if a person was found innocent, they may still be viewed as a dangerous individual by others that they interact with. They may be viewed differently by friends, neighbors, relatives, coworkers and acquaintances. Offenders could face obstacles when attempting to gain suitable employment and housing for their needs.
If you’ve been a victim of or accused of a third-degree sex crime, you probably have a lot of questions. That’s perfectly normal. Fortunately, our experts can help. Contact us today to set up a free individual consultation. Our trained professionals will listen to what happened and advise as to possible next steps that you can take. We can even represent you in court if you want.
We want to help you recover from the situation as soon as possible. Just know that it won’t be easy. Change doesn’t happen overnight. It will take considerable time and effort to get back to the quality of life that you want to achieve. If you’re willing to do the work, you may eventually find yourself in a far better situation than you’ve ever experienced before. Having supportive people in your corner really can make a difference.