Statutory Rape

Like most states, the Maryland statutory rape laws can be confusing and complex.  But like any other law, it is not a defense that a person did not know that what he or she was doing was illegal.  This is exactly why statutory rape can be such a difficult and highly emotional crime for both the defendant and the victim.  By definition, statutory rape means that the sexual act would be legal but for certain factual circumstances that define what is legal and what is illegal.  With this particular crime, the relevant facts are the age of the victim and the age of the defendant.  The exact age difference between a victim and a defendant that dictates whether a sexual act is legal or illegal is far from common knowledge.  If you were to ask ten everyday citizens about the legal ages for sexual activity in Maryland, you would probably struggle to fine even one who knows the law.  For this reason, statutory rape is often a crime which effects people with absolutely no criminal intent, and often times the defendants are either juveniles, or young adults.  The stigma of a sex crime conviction, along with potential criminal sanctions is frightening and real.  If you or someone you know has been charged or is being investigated for any sex crime, contact the lawyers at The Herbst Firm for a free consultation.  We have actual experience defending clients charged with various sex crimes, and we are eager to take on the challenges that come with fighting theses types of cases.

Statutory rape can involve a variety of sexual acts, but the one constant is that the sexual conduct was consensual.  The Effect of age on Maryland’s sexual offense laws was revised back in the 1970’s and has not undergone drastic changes since then.  One of the basic legal provisions of the sexual conduct law is that the age of consent in the state is 16.  Regardless of how old the adult involved in the sexual conduct is, if the minor is over the age of 16 there will be likely be no crime.  Another basic provision is that the accused must have been born four full years earlier than the victim to be guilty of the consensual statutory sex offense.  Anyone older than 19 is not permitted to have sexual intercourse with a 14 or 15 year old that is more than four years younger.  The four year age difference applies to a defendant who is younger than 19 as well.  In other words an 18 year old is not permitted to have sexual intercourse with a 13 year old.  There are a variety of fine points in the law, and different sexual acts are legal with respect to different age variations.  The law has different legal age gaps for sexual intercourse, oral sex, and sexual contact, and this part of the law can be highly complicated.  For a more detailed explanation of the statutory rape laws or for a case consultation, contact the Maryland sex crimes lawyers at The Herbst Firm anytime.
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