Ada-Icon

Bethesda Statutory Rape Lawyer

Maryland still prosecutes statutory rape but it depends on the disparity of the age as to whether how the prosecutors treat the case. If dealing with an 18-year-old and a 13-year-old who basically knew each other from high school and it just so happened that the birthdays fell too far apart, that is going to be different than a 40-year-old and a 14-year-old. If a person is charged with rape, they should consult an experienced Bethesda statutory rape lawyer. Since statutory rape is a strict liability charge, it is imperative to have a dedicated defense lawyer on their side.

What is Statutory Rape?

Statutory rape is a strict liability charge, meaning that there is no defense to it, even if both parties technically agree. It is where one party is too young to the point where they do not have the capacity to consent to it. In Maryland, the age of consent is 16, meaning 16 and any other age above is acceptable. If one is 14 or 15, then the other party has to be under age 21. If one party is under 14, there must be less than a four-year difference between the two. Those are the requirements and restrictions for consent. It is a default statutory rape charge.

Romeo and Juliet Clauses

A Romeo and Juliet scenario is when two individuals got together when they were young, but later on, because of the age of disparity, the older reached an age where it became illegal. For example, take a freshman and a senior in high school together at the same time and the senior turns 18 before the freshman turns 14. That is a situation where you have the Romeo and Juliet type of concept, but it is not a defense. Maryland does not honor that. It is principle where sometimes the prosecutors will not as aggressively prosecute those cases.  They will provide a resolution that is much less severe than if it was a different kind of rape basis.

Specific Aspects of Allegations

It is different because the alleged victim in a statutory rape case typically was willing to engage in the activity and may even have coaxed the person, the older individual, into engaging in sexual activity. This happens very frequently. When an individual has a fake ID or maybe says they are 18 and the other party is 21 when they are 15, it is breaking the law and the 21-year-old had no idea. They were completely ignorant of the fact that this individual approaching them and soliciting them to engage in a relationship and sex, and they unknowingly have sex with someone who is under the age acceptable by law.

Role of the Presence of Consent

The presence of consent is a defense for all rape charges, but it is not for statutory rape. The rationale is a person under a certain age does not have the capacity to consent to it. Therefore, it is not a valid consent and they cannot have sex with the person. These laws protect young individuals from being taken advantage of. They do not have the capacity to consent.

Third-Party Allegations

The law is protecting minors and parents have legal rights to press charges on behalf of their child. Even if the alleged victim does not want to go forward and did not want the person to be charged. They say that they had consent all the time, but if by law the parties are too far apart in age, then the parents can notify police and have the older individual charged.