Harford County Sex Crimes Lawyer
Sex crimes in Harford County may include misdemeanor offenses such as prostitution, indecent exposure, and lewd conduct, as well as serious felony offenses such as rape and child molestation. Convictions for a sex-related offense can have long-lasting consequences, including mandatory sex offender registration in some cases.
Whenever you are accused of a sex offense, you may wish to consider the benefits of contacting a Harford County sex crimes lawyer.
A mere allegation of involvement in a sex crime may be sufficient to alter the perceptions of others in your community. A criminal attorney could help you avoid these repercussions and could build a strong defense case on your behalf.
Common Harford County Sexual Offenses
A sexual offense is a common sex crime that is similar to sexual battery or assault in other jurisdictions. There are four degrees of sexual offenses that a defendant may be charged with in court, ranging in severity from unwanted sexual contact to violent and forcible acts of rape.
Fourth-Degree Sexual Offense
The least severe of these offenses, or sexual offense in the fourth degree, as defined in Maryland Code, Criminal Law § 3-308, typically includes those situations in which sexual conduct is non-consensual primarily due to the respective positions of the parties involved. This section may cover sexual conduct that occurs between students and their principals, teachers, coaches, and counselors. First violations of this section may result in a jail sentence of up to one year and a $1,000 fine.
Third-Degree Sexual Offense
Under Maryland Code, Criminal Law § 3-307, the crime of sexual offense as third-degree felony could occur when individuals engage in non-consensual sexual contact with others and there is at a minimum one aggravating factor present, which may include:
- Using or exhibiting a dangerous weapon
- Causing serious physical injury
- Threatening others with imminent death, bodily harm, or kidnapping
Other factors that elevate the offense to a third-degree felony relate to the subject of the offense. Sexual contact with mentally impaired or physically incapacitated individuals or individuals under age 16 in some circumstances may constitute a third-degree sexual offense. The potential penalty for this offense may include a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
First and second-degree sexual offenses equate to rape under Maryland law. These offenses are more serious due to the degree of violence or the special status of the alleged subject involved in the offense.
Second-degree rape typically occurs when individuals use force or the threat of force to engage in non-consensual sexual acts with another. This offense may also occur if it involves individuals who are mentally or physically incapacitated or helpless, individuals who are under the age of 14, in some circumstances. Penalties for rape in the second degree under Maryland Code, Criminal Law § 3-304 may range from a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 15 years to life in prison.
As defined by the Maryland Code, Criminal Law § 3-303, first-degree rape typically occurs when individuals engage in non-consensual sexual acts with others by force or threat of force and at a minimum one other aggravating factor is present. These factors may include situations in which individuals:
- Use or exhibit a dangerous weapon
- Suffocate, strangle, disfigure, or cause serious physical injury to another
- Threaten or place others in fear of imminent death, serious injury, suffocation, strangulation, disfigurement, or kidnapping
- Engage in sexual acts while aided and abetted by another
- Engage in sexual acts in conjunction with committing a burglary
Rape in the first degree may result in a mandatory minimum 25-year sentence without parole in some instances. This offense also carries the possibility of incarceration for life without parole. Therefore, it is essential for defendants to seek the services of a dedicated Hartford County sex crimes lawyer.
Speak with a Harford County Sex Crimes Attorney
When you are facing sex offense charges, the potential repercussions of a conviction may be overwhelming. The loss of your job, your friends, your family, and your freedom could be unthinkable. A Harford County sex crimes lawyer may be able to help you in this situation.
Experienced criminal defense attorneys in Harford County may be able to assess the charges against you and explore any inconsistencies or illegalities in the content or the acquisition of evidence. Working with a Harford County criminal defense lawyer may allow you to strategize and create the strongest defense available in your case.