Being charged with sex crime is a serious offense. The penalties are severe, and a conviction generally requires registry on the sex offender list. An Upper Marlboro Sex Crimes Lawyer could help you face any charges. Put the expertise of a dedicated attorney to work for you.
An accusation of a sex crime can cause severe damage to one’s reputation. On occasion, the issue is whether there was consent and the State might only have testimony from one witness as to the sex allegations. In other circumstances, the issue is related to a faulty eyewitness identification or whether force was used. An experienced attorney will challenge the witness’ veracity and explore any inconsistencies in their story.
Third-Degree Sexual Offense
There are several conditions where the State can charge you with third-degree sexual assault:
- If you engaged in sexual contact with the alleged victim who is under 14 and the person performing the act is at least 4 years older than the alleged victim.
- Engaging in a sexual act with the alleged victim who is 14 or 15 years old and the person performing the act is at least 21 years old.
- Having vaginal intercourse with another if the victim is 14 or 15 years old and the person performing the act is at least 21 years old.
Fourth-Degree Sexual Offense
Fourth-degree sexual offense is a misdemeanor offense and carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail. However, a guilty conviction can require sex offender registry for 15 years. Generally, the crime requires the State to prove the offender made sexual contact with another person without their consent. An example would be intentionally smacking someone on the buttocks. If you accidentally touched someone’s buttocks or reasonably believed you had permission, it could be a defense to your charges. Even if you believe you are guilty of this offense, a skilled attorney in Upper Marlboro can prevent you from registering as a sexual offender.
It is widely known that rape charges are serious and carry grave consequences. The maximum penalty for first-degree rape is life in prison without the possibility of parole and lifetime sex offender registration if you are released from prison. Serious sex crimes charges need to be met with a serious and experienced lawyer in Upper Marlboro. Vernon Brownlee has jury trial experience as a prosecutor and criminal defense attorney for rape charges. His experience provides a unique perspective to factual and legal issues that arise throughout the trial process. He will be able to provide a comprehensive legal defense and solve complex evidentiary problems before the court.
First-degree rape carries a maximum penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole. The State must prove you engaged in vaginal intercourse by force or by threat of force. Force can include holding that person down or using a weapon to force vaginal intercourse. To prove force, the State could request the alleged victim to undergo a sexual assault exam to check for any tears in the vaginal cavity. The presence of tears can indicate force was used, but tears can allude to other activity besides forceable rape. How your case is presented to the jury could be the difference between your freedom and jail.
The State can prove intercourse through witness testimony or DNA evidence. It is common for DNA, whether semen, pubic hair, or blood is left behind. If DNA is collected, it will be collected and compared to get the alleged offender. DNA evidence is compelling and precise, but it does not tell the complete story. DNA evidence cannot show whether force was used or if the encounter was consensual. The story the DNA tells can be determined by the legal defense strategy developed by your attorney.
Second-degree rape carries a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in jail. The State must prove there was vaginal intercourse AND at least one of the following:
- The alleged victim was younger than 14 years old and the offender was at least four years older, OR
- The victim was mentally incapacitated, mentally defective helpless, or physically helpless at the time of the offense. The State must prove the offender reasonably should have known this condition when the vaginal intercourse occurred.
Within second-degree rape, the law outlines additional subsections for the charge. For subsection 1, this is called statutory rape. Statutory rape does not require any intent. In other words, claiming you did not know their age, or they lied about their age is not a viable defense for this charge. The act of having sex with a person younger than 14 is enough to prove second-degree rape for this subsection.
For subsection 2, this is commonly seen when the alleged victim is drunk and vaginal penetration occurs. The State can prove this charge by proving that the offender should have known the alleged victim could not consent because of their helpless condition.
If you are facing rape charges, contact an Upper Marlboro sex crimes lawyer immediately.