In Maryland, sexual offenses are what other states term sexual assault. They are divided into four degrees of offensive sexual activity. If someone is facing charges relating to sexual offenses, it is very important to understand what one is being charged with as the law is complex and legal understanding is the best way to formulate an effective strategy.
A first degree sexual offense is one that is defined as engaging in a sexual act by force, threat or without consent. In addition to this, the alleged perpetrator must also display a weapon, suffocate or physically injure the victim or threaten the victim with death or disfigurement or some other physical injury. It will also be considered sexual offense in the first degree if it is done with another’s help or was committed during a burglary.
Though there are three other degrees of sexual offenses in Maryland, sexual offense in the first degree carries with it the most severe penalty-the maximum sentence for this crime or even the attempt of it is life imprisonment. However, if the person who is being charged with the crime has committed a similar previous sexual offense or is over the age of 18 with the victim below the age of 13, it is possible to be sentenced to life imprisonment without possibility of parole.
As demonstrated, the penalties for conviction are very severe, so the stakes are very high. If someone has been falsely accused of committing a sexual offense, they may want to consider consulting an experienced attorney and developing a strong defense that counters the prosecution’s claim.
Source: General Assembly of Maryland, “S3-305,” Accessed on Feb. 16, 2016