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How Do You Defend Against A Sex Crime Charge In Maryland?

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Answered by: Thomas J. Maronick, Jr.

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Sex crime accusations carry a stigma that goes above and beyond many other criminal allegations. They can be devastating, emotional and life-changing. Convictions, depending on the severity of the charges, could include long prison sentences and mandatory registration of as a sex offender.

Maryland recently strengthened its sex crime legislation. It is now very difficult for anyone convicted of a sex crime to keep their name off the sex offender registry. You also cannot receive probation before judgment for any sex crime more severe than a 4th degree sexual offense. If you or a family member needs defense against sex crime allegations, you should call an attorney who is extremely skilled in this area of the law.

Effective sex crime defense attorneys usually have extensive experience in this niche area of criminal law. They know how to select juries, present evidence that supports your case and how to attack the state’s case in a way that can establish reasonable doubt. If you are facing these allegations, a skilled lawyer knows what steps to take to mitigate the potential negative consequences.

The Degree Of Your Sex Crime Allegation Matters

For fourth-degree sexual offenses, judges can decide whether the accused must have their names on the registry. The length of time someone who is convicted will be on the registry depends on the seriousness and the nature of their crime. These are the most common sexual offenses in Maryland. They usually involve sexual contact or touching, and they often include intercourse if the offense falls under statutory rape guidelines.

Fourth-degree offenses include:

  • Sexual contact with someone who does not give their consent.
  • Sexual acts with someone who is 14 or 15 years old and the accused person is at least four years older.
  • A person in a position of authority commits a sexual act or has sexual contact with a minor who was a student enrolled in the school when incident allegedly happened.
  • Someone in a position of authority is accused of sexual intercourse with someone who was a student at the time the incident allegedly happened

There are three tiers for Maryland’s sex offender registry. The tiers and the required number of years the name of someone who is convicted will be on the registry are:

  • Tier 1 - 15 years: Includes people convicted of fourth-degree sexual offenses who are placed on the registry, peeping, possession of child pornography and video surveillance
  • Tier 2 - 25 years: Includes child pornography distribution and any third-degree sexual offense
  • Tier 3 - Lifetime registration: Includes rape, incest, kidnapping, murder with intent to rape, assault with the intent to rape and sale of a minor

If your name is taken off the list after your required time on it, you probably will have to complete community supervision, too.

Sex Crime Charges Carry Severe Ramifications

Because of the nature of these allegations, there is usually pressure on authorities to act. People accused are often immediately guilty in public opinion simply because they were accused. Many are often found not guilty later, but the damage has already been done and that can change someone’s life.

As soon as you are accused, authorities frequently start investigating the charges. An attorney can begin defending you and your reputation right away too. They often can start investigating your case before charges are filed and that can help control some of the negatives.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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