For those who are charged with rape in Maryland, there are numerous levels of the allegations that have to be considered and dealt with. The mere mentioning of the word "rape" carries with it a social stigma that can have a negative influence on a person's life regardless of the circumstances. Rape in the first degree carries with it serious penalties. When facing a felony charge for rape, it is important to understand the law and what the potential punishments are.
It is illegal for a person to engage in vaginal intercourse with another person by using force, threatening force, or without the other person's consent. It is also illegal to do the following: display or use a dangerous weapon or a physical object that the victim will reasonably believe is a dangerous weapon; disfigure, suffocate, strangle or cause serious injury to the victim while the crime is being committed; cause fear in the victim or someone known to the victim that there will be death, strangulation, suffocation, kidnapping or serious physical injury to the victim or the other person; commit the act while being assisted by another; and commit the crime as part of a first, second or third degree burglary.
It is also a first degree rape if the act is committed with a victim under 16 simultaneous to a kidnapping. A person who is 18-years-old or older will be charged with first degree rape for committing the above-listed acts with someone who is under the age of 13. If there is a conviction for felony rape, there can be a prison sentence up to life. If it is in the midst of a kidnapping, the penalties can be up to life in prison without the possibility of parole. For a person 18 or older who is convicted of committing these acts with someone under the age of 13, there can be a minimum of 25 years in prison. Courts are not able to suspend the minimum sentence of 25 years and there is no eligibility for parole while the mandatory minimum sentence is being served.
Considering the substantial penalties for a felony charge related to rape, it is imperative to try and formulate a strong defense to avoid the personal and professional problems that will accompany a conviction. The first step is to contact a legal professional experienced in defending clients on a variety of sexual charges as soon as possible.
Source: mgaleg.maryland.gov, "3-303. Rape in the first degree," accessed on Jan. 11, 2016