Statutory Rape in Maryland

A statutory rape charge can happen when an “adult” has sex with a “minor,” unless you’re close enough in age. Generally speaking, the age of consent in Maryland is 16 years old. So, if you’re at least four years older than your partner, and he or she is 14 or 15, you can be charged with statutory rape.

In other words, Maryland law prohibits a person under the age of 14 from having sexual contact with a person who is at least 4 years older than the alleged victim. The possible penalty includes 15 years or more behind bars. In some cases, the court is required to make 15 years the mandatory minimum sentence.

You’d think mistaken age would be a defense. It’s not. Maryland courts have consistently held that even if the underage person lies about his or her age, the law still applies.

A recent landmark case in the Maryland Court of Appeals considered whether under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the Maryland Declaration of Rights a defendant’s due process rights were violated when he was denied the opportunity to present a “reasonable” mistake of age defense to the charge of statutory rape.

Even though the underage victim was willing to testify at trial that she had misled the defendant and told him that she was above the age of statutory consent when they had sex, the Maryland Court of Appeals said that they found no constitutional violation, reasoning that society has an overwhelming interest in protecting children from sexual exploitation.

If a person is willing to take the risk of having sexual contact with a person who could possibly be underage, the court reasoned, the fault rests squarely on the older person’s shoulders, despite a reasonable belief that the person was of legal age.

As a criminal defense attorney in Baltimore, Maryland, who has personally handled many of these cases, the crime boils down to one person saying that sexual contact occurred. Of course, circumstantial and other evidence comes into play to make the determination as to whether sexual contact actually happened or not – but these cases generally boil down to the statements of the individuals.

That’s why it’s extremely important for a person who is being investigated to not speak to detectives or police because the government will try to get a conviction based on what is said. Many times, we have been able to get the charges reduced to a lesser sex offense or have the case dismissed for lack of proof.

If you’re looking for a statutory rape lawyer in Baltimore, MD, consider hiring an attorney at James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates. James Crawford has been defending people against charges like statutory rape since 1992. Defending people accused of crimes has been his priority for his whole career.

If you’re up against federal or state authorities, you need someone who cares about you and your case. Call 443-709-9999 or contact James Crawford online for a free consultation.


Types of Statutory Rape Charges in Maryland

Any kind of sex crime is serious business. Maryland prosecutors want you to be convicted of the charge and punished to the full extent of the law. But you don’t deserve that kind of punishment – especially in a situation where two people in a relationship consented to sex.

Teens accused of statutory rape. Certainly, a teenage kid does not deserve to have his or her life ruined because of a statutory rape charge. But this could happen, for example, to an 18- or 19-year-old boy who has sex with his 14-year-old girlfriend.

Older partners accused of statutory rape. If you’re at least four years older than your partner, and your partner is younger than 16, you can be charged with statutory rape. The criminal penalty increases if you’re 21 or older.

When it comes to statutory rape, consent is a non-issue. It doesn’t matter if your partner consented to sex – you can still be charged.


Finding a Lawyer in Baltimore for Statutory Rape Crimes

Many people believe the 4 year age difference is vastly unjust and the penalties far outweigh the crime. But the devil is in the details. The facts rule as to making that determination. The courts generally look at the age difference as the primary concern. A 28-year-old male who has sex with a 13-year-old female will most likely be seen as one who is preying on a younger child, but an immature 18-year-old male who had sex with a mentally and physically sophisticated 13-year-old female is less likely to be treated harshly.

The key is to show how this could have occurred or not occurred and why it’s unjust to put the defendant in a harsh situation.

Let me help defend you. Call 443-709-9999 or send me an email. I offer free consultations for all potential clients for any criminal offense including sexually motivated crimes such as rape, sexual assault, indecent exposure and inappropriate touching prosecuted in Baltimore or throughout the surrounding areas in Maryland.