There is no such thing as a minor sex crime in Maryland. The majority of sex offenses are subject to sex offender registration — a consequence that will follow you around for the rest of your life. Even a less serious charge such as prostitution can cause consequences ranging from profound embarrassment to losing your job.
Sex offenses cover a surprisingly broad range of criminal charges. If you are accused of a sex crime, do not talk to police, no matter how friendly they may seem. Often, people convict themselves under manipulation by police and court officials. Law enforcement officials will attempt to get you into the police station, isolate you, scare you and get you either to confess or to provide incriminating information.
If you have been accused of a sexually motivated crime, do not talk to a detective or anyone else about the allegation. Instead, you should immediately seek out the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney at James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates. We can represent you at every stage of the process. We can help you assert your Fifth Amendment rights to remain silent and your Sixth Amendment rights to have an attorney represent you at every stage of the investigation.
Call 443-709-9999 today to discuss the case with an attorney experienced in defending serious sex offenses in Baltimore and throughout the surrounding areas in the State of Maryland.
- Types of Sexually Motivated offenses in Maryland
- Penalties for Sexually Motivated offenses in Maryland
- Avoiding Requirements to Register as a Sex Offender
Types of Sexually Motivated offenses in Maryland
Maryland law provides for many different types of crimes that are classified as being sexually motivated. The following links offer more information about specific charges:
- Child molestation
- Sexual solicitation of a minor
- Sting operations involving classifieds ads and online prostitution
- Date rape charges
- Inappropriate touching
- Indecent exposure
- Internet chat room crimes
- Out-of-state sex offenses/sex tourism
- Prostitution & solicitation
- Rape in the first degree
- Rape in the second degree
- Statutory rape charges
- Sex offender registration program
- Sexual assault
- Sexual predator law
- Sexual offense in the first degree
- Sexual offense in the second degree
- Sexual offense in the third degree
- Sexual offense in the fourth degree
- Unnatural perverted sexual practices
Penalties for Sexually Motivated offenses in Maryland
Each of these types of sex offenses carries penalties ranging from a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years (in first-degree rape) to one year for a fourth-degree sex offense. The consequences vary for each offense but may include years of mandatory probation, sex registration, sex-related evaluation and treatment, polygraph examinations and/or stress test exams, group counseling, and other conditions.
The difference between sex offenses of the third and fourth degree, as contrasted with sex offenses of the first or second degree, can be confusing. Generally, felony or misdemeanor sexual assault charges are divided by degree based on how the alleged incident aligns with numerous factors, including:
- Whether a dangerous weapon was involved
- The degree of harm inflicted or threatened
- Whether the defendant worked alone
- The alleged sex offense was committed in connection with a burglary
- The age of the victim
- The mental capacity or physical helplessness of the victim
- Other factors
Third and fourth degree and felony sex offenses can include rape, sexual assault, inappropriate touching, sexting, texting and numerous other charges.
Avoiding Requirements to Register as a Sex Offender
One of the most serious consequences is sex registration, where a person could be required to register for 15 years, 25 years, or life, depending on the circumstances. Sex registration involves periodic reporting, getting a photograph taken and published online, and keeping personal information updated (also published online). The only way to avoid this requirement is to avoid a conviction for a sex crime.
Generally speaking, a registrant cannot use the Internet, have any contact with minors, must keep personal information updated (license plate, Social Security, home address, employment), and is subject to random 24-hour searches and investigations by Parole or Probation Officers.
One of the most heinous and difficult things that happen when someone is listed on the sex registry is the fact that neighbors and friends will see their photograph and know exactly where they are. Many times, neighbors and community members will try to have the person removed from the neighborhood anyway they can. And it’s extremely hard to find employment or keep a job.
Title 3, Subtitle 3 of the Criminal Law Article contains statutory provisions pertaining to several sexual offenses, ranging from rape in the first degree to a sexual offense in the fourth degree. Generally, a person convicted of a sex crime or other specified crime in Maryland is required to register with the State sex offender registry upon release from prison or release from the court, if the person did not receive a prison sentence. Offenders who are required to register in other states and who come to Maryland are required to register upon entering Maryland. Offenders from other states who may not be required to register in the home state are required to register in Maryland if the crime would have required registration in Maryland if committed in Maryland.
Sexual offenders are sorted into three separate tiers. A Tier I sex offender must register in person with a local law enforcement unit every six months for 15 years.
Exceptions to the Propensity Rule for Sex Crimes Prosecuted in Maryland
The “propensity rule” dates back to the seventeenth century under common law and prohibits the use of character evidence to show a person’s propensity to act in accordance with his or her character traits or prior acts. The rule has long been recognized by the courts in Maryland as necessary to ensure that a defendant receives a fair trial because, if the evidence is admitted, juries may overvalue the probative force of the prior conduct or may punish for a prior act rather than for the charged crime.
Recently, the Maryland courts have started to accept a “sexual propensity” exception to the general rule against admission of evidence of prior bad acts when a defendant is being prosecuted for a sexual crime. Under this exception, if the prior illicit sexual acts of the defendant are similar to the offense for which the accused is being tried and involve the same victim, then the evidence might be admissible.
For example, in State v. Westpoint, 404 Md. 455 (2009), the court found that evidence of the defendant’s prior bad acts which resulted in the defendant being convicted of third-degree sexual offense were admissible under the sexual propensity exception to Maryland Rule 5-404(b) since the acts were similar and the victim was the same.
Under Maryland Rule 5-404(b), evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts is not admissible to prove the character of a person in order to show action in conformity with those prior acts. However, such evidence may be admissible for other purposes, such as proof of motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, common scheme or plan, knowledge, identity, or absence of mistake or accident.
Under Maryland Rule 5-403, although relevant, evidence may be excluded if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, or misleading the jury or by considerations of undue delay, waste of time, or needless presentation of cumulative evidence.
Maryland’s Registered Sex Offender Website – Visit the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services to find information about the sex offender registration laws in the state of Maryland. Find registered sex offenders living and working near you and be notified when the registered sex offender moves. Search or download the registry listings and find answers to frequently asked questions. Find a criminal procedure article about the registration law in section 11-701.
Finding a Sex Offense Lawyer in Baltimore, MD
It’s extremely important in our country and in Maryland that individuals who have been charged with offenses, including sex offenses, have legal counsel to help guide them through the potholes of our justice system.
As a criminal defense attorney, I wholeheartedly believe that the foundation of our legal system rests on the willingness of defense lawyers to stand up, protect, and represent people who’ve been accused of serious offenses.
A person who has been arrested and is about to be charged with a sex crime finds themselves at one of the lowest points in their life. Very often, family members, spouses, friends, and employers will shun a person simply because that person has been accused, because of the stigma attached to sex offenses.
Managing Attorney James E. Crawford has always believed that there’s nothing is more important than helping someone who is at the lowest point in their life by vigorously defending and guiding them through this situation. That’s the essence of being a defense lawyer – showing compassion and zeal and understanding that just because someone has been accused of a crime doesn’t mean they’re guilty.
Call James Crawford, an experienced attorney for sexually motivated offenses in Maryland. For your convenience, we have offices located in Catonsville and Arbutus. The initial consultation is free so call 443-709-9999 today.