Crime involving a sexual element in Maryland falls into its own category of offenses. Society and the courts judge a sex crime harshly, so don’t let accusations spiral out of control to ruin your life.
What is a sex crime, according to state and federal law?
Review common forms of sex offenses, from rape to human trafficking.
If you’re facing accusations of a sexual crime, then you should prepare for possible ways to defend against formal charges.
What Is a “Sex Crime,” Anyway?
Basically, sex crimes are criminal offenses that happen during sex or a sexual act. These offenses can occur with violence, and consent and mental capacity factor in, too.
All of that said – what specific offenses qualify as sex crimes under Maryland law?
8 Common Sex Crime Offenses in Maryland
All accusations of a crime involving a sexual nature are serious charges in Maryland. Most sex crime offenses are felonies. Here are eight common criminal offenses that Maryland describes as sex crimes.
This category is vaguer than others, as it covers a broad range of acts that are sexual in nature. Generally defined, sex offenses or sexual misconduct charges are a type of sexual violence involving abuse of power, control, or intimidation.
A sex offense includes sexual harassment, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
Kidnapping covers adults, while obviously child kidnapping covers kids. Both charges mean taking a person against their will from home, work, daycare, etc., using force or fraud.
The difference between child kidnapping and kidnapping is age. Anyone taken against will under the age of 16 in Maryland commits child kidnapping. Above that age, plain old kidnapping charges apply.
Kidnapping becomes a sex crime when it involves human trafficking. Human trafficking can be legally defined as forcing, tricking, or intimidating another person into sexual service. It’s a form of modern-day slavery, as victims can be bought or sold for sexual services.
5 Possible Ways to Defend a Sex Crime Case
Remember, allegations are not convictions. Those accused of sex crimes should be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law – not the court of public opinion.
Therefore, sex crime accusations need to be met head-on. A seasoned criminal defense attorney starts the defense even before charges are filed against the accused, defending a client during an intense investigation period.
How a case gets defended all depends on the circumstances. No two cases are alike.
The most basic of defenses, this defense involves proving the accused could not possibly commit the crime through a provable alibi.
For example, if the defendant was in Baltimore at 3:20pm and the accuser states the sex crime occurred in Frederick at 3:05pm, the defendant could not have committed the act.
Of course, proof of the alibi needs to be provided, such as CCTV footage of the individual in Baltimore at the time of the Frederick crime.
Sex Crime Defense #2: Consent
This defense involves admitting the sex act did happen, but the accused consented to the behavior at the time.
Sex crimes are criminal because they allegedly occurred against the accuser’s will at the time of the incident, thereby harming them.
If the attorney can prove the act was consented to, then their client has a solid defense against the charge.
Sex Crime Defense #3: Insanity
Insanity defenses mean proving to the court that the defendant has a mental defect or disease that consequently removes criminal liability.
A defendant with autism or paranoid schizophrenia may not understand their actions were criminal, and thus may be able to avoid criminal prosecution of those actions.
While this may be a valid defense in movies or presented once in a blue moon, this is an incredibly difficult defense to present. The defense lawyer must prove that the defendant was incapable of knowing their actions were wrong at the time the sex crime occurred.
Sex Crime Defense #4: Mistaken Age
“I didn’t know they were under 18!” isn’t a defense that’s frequently used, but it is possible to leverage the situation into a lesser charge or dismissal altogether.
In Maryland, the age of consent is 16 years, while the federal age of majority is 18 years.
Sex crimes happening between the two ages can fall into a range of situations, including statutory rape laws – with possible “Romeo & Juliet” exceptions for young lovers – or outright child molestation.
Again, it’s all about consent. Is an outraged guardian pursuing these charges when the “victim” was the willing party? If the victim claims they consented, does the law consider them old enough to offer legal consent?
It’s a very tricky situation, and one that’s best left to a seasoned criminal defense attorney with many sex offense trials under their belt to hash out.
Sex Crime Defense #5: Mistaken Identity
Finally, doppelgangers exist. Yes, there are people who look alike and are not related.
During a sex crime, the victim may only see brief glimpses of the suspect’s face. The experience is so traumatic that they may block out details, which leads to a false identification of a suspect.
A defense of mistaken identity ties closely to an innocence defense. Again, an alibi is necessary to show the mistake of identity.
An allegation of a sex crime is serious business. JC Law offers free initial consultations. So, before the charges come find out what can be done and how to keep life moving. We’re here to help in any situation you may find yourself in.