Maryland Sexual Assault Laws & Statutes

Maryland Sexual Assault Laws & Statutes2018-04-27T13:30:24+00:00
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The victims and families affected by sexual violence deserve answers, support, and justice. We can help you find answers to common concerns like:

  • How long might the perpetrator be in prison?
  • What can be done about organizations that enable abuse?
  • How can we find justice in civil court?

Our Maryland sexual abuse lawyers understand the troubles you face. We're prepared to help you fight for justice.

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When a sexual predator traumatizes an innocent victim through sexual assault, rape, child sexual abuse, or another sexual crime, it’s vital to make sure they’re prosecuted to the full extent of the law. This is an important part of making sure the victim sees justice and also helps take a dangerous predator off the streets before they can hurt someone else.

Maryland's Criminal Sexual Assault & Abuse Laws

Remember that criminal prosecution is only one part of the recovery process for victims. Criminal courts often fail to consider the needs of survivors, or worse, fail to prosecute the perpetrator at all. A civil lawsuit can help hold the offender and any negligent third parties (such as a school, institution, or youth group) liable for damages suffered during and after the crime. Our Maryland sexual abuse victims lawyers help survivors of sexual crimes get the justice and financial support they need through the civil court system.

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Civil sexual abuse lawsuits offer survivors the opportunity to hold perpetrators and enablers accountable, along with financial compensation for personal and economic setbacks.

If you or a loved one is in this situation, you may be wondering how Maryland’s sexual crime statutes will affect your abuser’s punishment. We’ve summarized the state’s main sexual abuse laws below as a reference point, but be aware that these laws do change somewhat frequently. See this list of sexual crimes in Maryland for up-to-date statutes.

General Maryland Sex Crime Statutes

Generally speaking, sexual crimes against adults are handled classified as either “rape” or a “sexual offense” in Maryland.

Rape In The First Degree

In Maryland, a person is guilty of rape in the first degree if that person engages in sexual intercourse with another by force or the threat of force, without the consent of the other person, and any of the following circumstances apply:

  • The offender uses or displays a dangerous weapon or object which could be used as a dangerous weapon
  • The offender suffocates, strangles, disfigures, or inflicts serious physical injury on the victim or another person during the crime
  • The offender threatens the victim or makes them fear that the victim or someone they know will suffer serious injury, death, disfigurement, or kidnapping
  • The crime is committed with the aid of at least one other person
  • The crime is committed in connection with a burglary

First-degree rape is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of life in prison. Attempted rape in the first degree is punishable by the same sentence.

Rape In The Second Degree

A person is guilty of rape in the second degree if he or she engages in sexual intercourse with another person when:

  • The sexual intercourse occurs through the use of force, the threat of force, or without consent
  • The victim is mentally defective, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless and the offender is aware of one of these impairments
  • The victim is younger than 14 years old and the offender is at least 4 years older than the victim

Second-degree rape is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Attempted rape in the second degree carries the same penalty.

Sexual Offense

A person is guilty of a sexual offense in the first degree if they commit any sexual act other than sexual intercourse under any of the conditions listed under first-degree rape. Sexual offenses in the second degree are sexual acts committed under any of the circumstances listed in second-degree rape.

Sexual offenses in the first degree are punishable by a maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole. The penalty is the same for attempted sexual offenses in the first degree. Second-degree sexual offenses are punishable by anywhere from 15 years in prison to life imprisonment. Attempted second-degree sexual offenses are punishable by a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Maryland Laws Regarding Sex Crimes Against Children

Maryland has several statutes which specifically prosecute child sex offenders:

Continuing Course Of Conduct With Child

A person is guilty of continuing course of conduct with a child if that person engages in three or more acts listed under Rape and Sexual Offenses over a period of 90 days or more, with a victim who is younger than 14 years old at any time during the sexual conduct.

This crime is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.

Child Pornography

In Maryland, it’s a felony for any person to do any of the following:

  • Cause, induce, solicit, or knowingly allow a minor to participate in the production of sexually explicit material
  • Photograph or film a minor engaging in sexual activity
  • Use a computer to depict or describe a minor engaging in sexual activity
  • Knowingly promote, advertise, solicit, distribute, or possess with intent to distribute any material that depicts a minor engaged in sexual activity
  • Use a computer to compile, transmit, print, publish, reproduce, buy, sell, receive, exchange, or disseminate any notice, statement, advertisement, or personal information of a child for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity with a child

The first conviction for child pornography is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a maximum $25,000 fine. On each subsequent conviction, the sentence is up to 20 years in prison and/or a maximum $50,000 fine.

Sexual Solicitation Of Minors

A person is guilty of the felony of sexual solicitation of minors if that person knowingly solicits a minor, or a law enforcement officer posing as a minor, to engage in sexual activity. This crime is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $25,000.

Sexual Abuse Of A Minor

In Maryland, the crime of sexual abuse of a minor applies to cases where a minor is sexually abused by a family member or other member of their household. If someone is convicted of this offense, he or she faces up to 25 years in prison.

Sexual Conduct Between Correctional Or Juvenile Justice Employee And Inmate Or Confined Child

Maryland law prohibits correctional employees from engaging in sexual activity with inmates. It’s also illegal for any employee of a detention center or facility for juveniles to engage in sexual activity with an individual confined in one of these facilities.

This crime is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 3 years in prison and/or up to a $3,000 fine.

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