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Maryland Statutory Rape Defense Attorneys

A statutory rap charge can happen when an adult has sex with a minor unless you are close enough in age. Generally speaking, the age of consent in Maryland is 16 years old. So, if you’re at least four years older than your partner, and they are 14 or 15, you can be charged with statutory rape.

Types Of Statutory Rape Charges

Any kind of sex crime is serious business. Maryland prosecutors want you to be convicted of the charge and punished to the full extent of the law. But you don’t deserve that kind of punishment – especially in a situation where two people in a relationship consented to sex.

  • Teens accused of statutory rape, Certainly, a teenage kid does not deserve to have their life ruined because of the statutory rape charge. But this could happen, for example, to an 18 or 19-year-old boy who has sex with his 14-year-old girlfriend.
  • Older partners were accused of statutory rape. If you are at least four years older than your partner and younger than 16, you can be charged with statutory rape. The criminal penalty increases if you are 21 or older.

When it comes to statutory rape, consent is a non-issue. It doesn’t matter if your partner consented to sex – you can still be charged.

What Does Maryland Consider To Be Statutory Rape? Does Maryland Have A Romeo And Juliet Law?

First of all, Maryland law defines statutory rape as a sexual relationship where one of the two people involved is under the age of 16.

Even if the victim says they wish to engage in the sexual acts and insists they are consensual, they do not legally have the ability to make this determination for themselves.

These cases are generally extremely difficult to fight back against, as prosecutors can pretty easily prove the age of both people involved and that sexual conduct has taken place between them.

As with all other states, how old the victim looks or says they are is not a valid defense against the crime.

There is an exemption to statutory rape laws, however: Romeo and Juliet laws.

Also known as a “close in age exception,” Romeo and Juliet laws are designed to protect teens and young lovers who are close in age to each other from prosecution when one is on the wrong side of the age of consent line.

In Maryland, this limit is three years. In other words, an 18-year-old cannot be charged with statutory rape for having intercourse with a 15-year-old, even though the 15-year-old is technically still a minor.

That is, as long as the intercourse was consensual. If the minor involved – or anyone, for that matter – claims the interaction was forced and they did not consent, then “regular” rape and sex offense laws still apply.

What Are Possible Rape Sentences in Maryland?

Per Maryland state law, the sentences vary according to the circumstances surrounding the rape – even if a defendant is found guilty of the overall rape accusation.

First-degree rape sentences can include:

  • Maximum sentence of life imprisonment with opportunity for parole for either committing or trying to commit first degree rape
  • A minimum 25-year sentence for the convicted rape of a child under 13 by an adult over 18, without the possibility of court suspension or parole
  • Enrollment on the sex offender registry, resulting in employment struggles and security clearance disruptions
  • Possible fines and legal costs

Second-degree rape sentences can include:

  • Up to 20 years in prison for either committing or trying to commit second degree rape
  • A minimum of 15 years – with a max of life imprisonment – for the convicted rape of a child under 13 by an adult over 18
  • Enrollment on the sex offender registry, resulting in employment struggles and security clearance disruptions
  • Possible fines and legal costs

Even if second degree rape is a “lesser” charge, it’s still a very serious charge with equally dire consequences attached.

Statutory rape sentences fall into various categories between sex offenses and true rape charges, depending on the age of the involved parties at the time of the sexual contact:

  • If the victim is between the ages of 14 and 15 and defendant is over the age of 21: Statutory rape is a third degree sexual offense, which is a felony that carries up to 10 years in prison.
  • If the victim is between the ages of 14 and 15 and the defendant is more than three years older but younger than 21: Statutory rape is a fourth degree sexual offense, which is a misdemeanor carrying up to one year in prison
  • If the victim is younger than 14 and defendant is more than 3 years older: Statutory rape is considered second degree rape, which is a felony that carries up to 20 years in prison.

How Can Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys Defend Clients Against Accusations Of Rape?

While rape charges involve DNA and other technical evidence, many rape cases boil down to the testimony of the alleged victim.

That fact means that defendants accused of rape will need an aggressive criminal defense attorney. This attorney must have litigation experience who can cross-examine witnesses and undercover inconsistencies that may turn the case around from a loss to a win.

Another way that a rape defense attorney protects their client from rape charges is to demand the state’s evidence. Early review of rape evidence helps a defense team build their case and discover problems with the prosecution’s argument. Doing so offers clients a chance at a fair trial – even as their lives may have already been judged in the court of public opinion.

If someone thinks there’s even the slightest chance that they could face rape charges, then it is imperative that they understand how the system works. Even if the defendant believe it is unfair or wrong, the job of the detectives is to contact you and the witnesses very quickly before you have the chance to contact a criminal defense lawyer.

You can foil that strategy by reaching out to a rape defense lawyer as soon as possible.

“The accusations were outlandish, false, and slandered both my character and my name. I was in need to find strong legal representation that would see through the fabricated story. [My attorney Aaron] Goodwin’s priority was to understand who I am as a person before putting together any type of defense strategy. The result was a favorable decision on my behalf. I am confident that without the firm’s representation, the outcome would have been different.”

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