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Maryland Criminal Attorneys For Child Sex Crimes

Maryland law fiercely defends the most vulnerable among us: Our children. However, that means innocent people get swept up in spurious charges, or that the focus is on punishment, not rehabilitation.

The Law Office of James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates, LLC defends our clients and presents their side of the story to the courtroom for their opportunity for justice, keeping over-eager prosecutors and overly punitive sentences at bay.

What Is Child Molestation In Maryland?

Maryland considers any illicit or offensive touching of a minor as child molestation. The crime is most commonly associated with sex crimes involving minors. In some cases, child molestation may be interchanged by prosecutors with child sexual abuse charges.

Many child molestation claims are based on exaggerations, misunderstandings, and falsifications. This “evidence” puts the defendant in an unfair position where they must protect themselves from a fantastical opposition that feels free to say whatever needs to be said to secure a conviction.

Examples of actions that might be twisted into child molestation include:

  • Parent using spankings as discipline.
  • Teacher grabbing ahold of a riotous child to protect other children.
  • Religious figure speaking privately with a child at the child’s request.
  • Adult talking to a child using an online forum, such as social media or a video game.

Baltimore may also charge statutory rape as child sexual abuse or child molestation, depending on the circumstances.

What Is Considered Child Enticement In Maryland?

Child enticement in Maryland is defined as the act of luring or taking a minor child under 18 years of age away from their parents in order to commit unlawful sexual conduct.

Even if no sexual contact occurs, a defendant may be convicted of child enticement.

While child enticement is often thought of as an act of luring a child into a secluded area or vehicle, the internet has enabled potential predators to urge minors to engage in unlawful sexual conduct.

Common types of crimes considered as child enticement include the following:

  • Lure a child to an outside, secluded area
  • Lure a child to a building or dwelling
  • Lure a child to a vehicle
  • Have sex with a minor
  • Engage in unlawful sexual conduct with a minor over the internet
  • Solicit a minor for prostitution
  • Lewd acts with a minor

What Does Maryland Law Define As Child Sexual Abuse?

Child sexual abuse is generally thought of as a profane or sexual contact with a minor. These allegations can be as serious as overt sexual acts or as relatively innocent as a minor touching.

In Baltimore courts in particular, child molestation cases are considered to be sexual abuse of a minor and are often charged as a felony offense.

Types of child sexual abuse cases include:

  • A person in a position of authority: This is usually a fourth-degree misdemeanor sex offense charge with the possibility of a jail term. If a school employee, such as a teacher, principal, or anyone else who has any type of authoritative position over children and a sexual act or abuse is alleged, that person can be charged criminally.
  • Statutory rape: Common child molestation cases involve an adult who is at least four years older than the child in question. The alleged victim is typically younger than 14. In Baltimore, if you are over 18, you can face the most serious felony statutory rape charges.

False allegations of child molestation are often brought in the environment in today’s society, without regard to the guilt or innocence of the accused.

What Are Possible Consequences Of Child-Related Sex Crimes?

Convictions for various child-related sex offenses vary, depending on the circumstances and severity. However, the more “ill intent” that can be proven and the younger the child, the harsher the penalties.

  • Child molestation sentences: Expect a year or more in prison, and to pay thousands of dollars in fines. You will also be placed on Maryland’s sex offender registry for at least 10 years.
  • Child enticement sentences: As a felony offense, this crime is punishable by a maximum prison sentence of 25 years and fines of up to $5,000. Additionally, a conviction can result in sex offender registration in Maryland.
  • Child sexual abuse sentences: These punishments depend on the situation. Convicted authority figures will be sentenced as a fourth-degree sex offense misdemeanor with the possibility of jail time. Those convicted of statutory rape face significant first or second-degree rape charges – with a minimum 15-year prison sentence and no chance of parole. Sex offender registration is also a possibility.

How Can A Criminal Defense Attorney Help Defend Child Sex Crime Charges?

Even if you’re innocent, accusations of child sex crimes are not a time when you want to represent yourself. Law enforcement is trying to find someone to “bring to justice,” even if they’re innocent. That means every conversation, every bit of evidence is weighted in favor of the accuser, not you.

With your life as a free individual at stake – let alone the collateral damage of your reputation and professional work – you need talented criminal defense attorneys to show your side of the story.

In some ways, prosecutors and law enforcement are simply playing a game to see what type of charge will “stick” to a defendant for a given situation. It’s an underhanded tactic, but one that’s often used in court.

For example, some prosecutors will charge statutory rape as child sexual abuse or child molestation, depending on the circumstances. It’s “simpler” for them to get a conviction for the latter, regardless of what the facts of the matter are.

This is just one of many ways that the criminal justice system can be stacked against the defendant. You should not put up with it.

“[Jim] Crawford is an excellent lawyer. Was upfront from the beginning, fast response to all questions, always returned phone calls. Well respected in the court system.”

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