Fourth Degree Sexual Offense

A fourth degree sexual offense is one of the most common sex crimes in Maryland.  Typically this crime involves some sort of sexual contact or touching, but it can also involve intercourse if it falls under the statutory rape age guidelines.  There is also a provision under this law that makes it a crime for a person of authority at a public or private school to have any sort of sexual contact with a student.  Fourth degree sexual offenses have far less severe maximum jail sentences than other sex crimes, but the effects of a conviction can be devastating nonetheless.  Simply being charged with this crime can permanently damage a person’s reputation, family life, and career.  Even if the case is ultimately dismissed in court or beforehand, the defendant can experience life altering consequences.  If you are being investigated for any alleged sexual conduct do not wait to consult an attorney.  A Maryland sex crimes lawyer can begin defending you before charges are filed or an investigation is concluded, and many times this makes all the difference in the world.  Our initial goal is to stop an arrest from ever happening and we will aggressively pursue this goal.

The problem with this charge is that many times police will rush to make an arrest without sufficient evidence supporting that the incident actually happened.  This is especially true in cases involving school officials because the public pressure and scrutiny of not filing a charge is something that no police department wants to deal with.  This is certainly not justice, but it is the reality of all sex crime investigations.  Police departments make arrests, and state’s attorneys file charges to protect themselves, and there is no reason why you should not have an experienced defense lawyer to protect you.

The elements of a basic fourth degree sexual offense include an intentional touching of another person in an intimate way without their consent.  This offense does not include common friendly affection, and it does not include any type of penetration, as that would fall under a more serious crime.  A fourth degree offense may also arise if a person 19 years of age has consensual intercourse or oral sex with a 14 or 15 year old.  Finally it includes sexual contact by a school employee over the age of 21 upon a minor who is a student at the employee’s school.  Consent is irrelevant in this particular crime, and in many cases the sexual contact was consensual.  Simply put, a teacher or principal is prohibited from having any sort of sexual contact with a student.  It does not matter if the student initiated or even encouraged the sexual contact.  The penalty for this violation is one year in jail, and although it is a misdemeanor, a conviction will often have more devastating effects than being convicted of a felony.  If you have been charged with a fourth degree sexual offense The Herbst Firm will fight relentlessly to have the charges dismissed.  Not only do we care about keeping our clients out of jail, but we also care about protecting our client’s futures by fighting to keep convictions off their records.  Contact us for a free consultation about your case.