Sexual Assault Laws

Rape

  • Includes vaginal penetration, the use of force or threat of force, and occurs without consent
  • May be charged as first degree or second degree, depending on the presence of “aggravating factors”
  • Aggravating factors include the use of a weapon, infliction of suffocation, strangulation, disfigurement, or serious harm
  • Aggravating factors also include more than one assailant, threat of kidnapping, death, or serious injury, and the commission of burglary in addition to the assault
  • Rape may also be charged in cases in which the defendant is over 18 years of age and the victim is younger than 13
  • Attempted rape may also be charged

Sexual Offense

  • Involves a sexual act, including anal penetration, oral contact,  and sexual contact
  • May be charged as first or second degree, with the use of force or the threat of use of force and the absence of consent, as well as the presence of aggravating factors
  • Sexual contact, which is intentional and unwanted, may be charged as third or fourth degree sexual offense
  • Fourth degree sex offenses are misdemeanors
  • Attempted sexual offense may also be charged

Age-Based Sex Crimes

  • Rape may be charged if the victim is under 14 years of age and the defendant is 4 or more years older than the victim and there was vaginal intercourse
  • Sexual offense may be charged in other cases involving a sexual act or sexual contact, in which the victim is under 14 years of age and the defendant is 4 or more years older that the victim
  • There may be additional charges related to sexual abuse of a minor
  • There may be charges for sexual solicitation of a minor

Capacity Issues

  • Rape, second degree may be charged in cases in which there was vaginal intercourse and the victim was unable to give consent, either due to mental or physical incapacitation, including intoxication and/or loss of consciousness
  • Sexual offense in second or third degree may be charged in cases involving other sexual acts or contact and incapacitation
  • The defendant must be considered or expected to have known of the disability and lack of capacity to consent

For more information, see http://www.mcasa.org/law-public-policy/maryland-laws-and-regulations/.

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