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Compassionate & Understanding Attorneys Providing Highly Skilled Representation

Sex With a Minor in Maryland

Seek Help from a Baltimore Sex Crimes Attorney

It’s against the law for those over the age of 18 to engage in sexual intercourse with a minor, or someone who is below the “age of consent.” The age of consent in Maryland is 16 years old, which means that the law considers those age 16 or older capable of making informed consent to sexual activity. Those 15 and below are deemed unable to make this determination and therefore any sexual activity could be considered sex with a minor, also known as “statutory rape.”

At the Law Offices of James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates, we understand how life-changing accusations of a sex offense can be, particularly one as stigmatized and pressure-loaded as statutory rape. Our team is committed to fighting for you and your best interests, and we become personally invested in your case in order to develop a true desire to see you obtain a successful outcome. We’re proud of our reputation as one of the top law firms in the area, and we can defend you in courts on both the state and federal level all throughout Maryland

Call the Law Offices of James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates today at (443) 720-7419 and schedule a consultation with our team to get started with your defense!

Maryland’s Statutory Rape Laws Explained

To put it more precisely, statutory rape is defined as a sexual relationship where one of the two people involved is under the age of 16. Even if the victim says they wish to engage in the sexual acts and insists they are consensual, they do not legally have this ability to make this determination for themselves. These cases are generally extremely difficult to fight back against as prosecutors can pretty easily prove the age of both people involved and that sexual conduct has taken place between them. As with all other states, how old the victim looks or says they are is not a valid defense against the crime.

Penalties for statutory rape can include the following:

  • If the victim is between the ages of 14 and 15 and defendant is over the age of 21: Statutory rape is a third degree sexual offense, which is a felony that carries up to 10 years in prison.
  • If the victim is between the ages of 14 and 15 and the defendant is more than three years older but younger than 21: Statutory rape is a fourth degree sexual offense, which is a misdemeanor carrying up to one year in prison
  • If the victim is younger than 14 and defendant is more than 3 years older: Statutory rape is considered Second degree rape, which is a felony that carries up to 20 years in prison.

Additionally, all forms of statutory rape may require sex offender registration if you are convicted.

There is an important defense between rape and statutory rape, however. Whereas rape involves a complete absence of consent, statutory rape is charged when a sexual encounter has occurred but one of the partners involved does not have the legal recognition to give their consent. Penalties for statutory rape are usually quite a bit different from rape as a result as well because it’s assumed there is a lack of force or violence.

Romeo & Juliet Exemption

There is an exemption to statutory rape laws, however. Also known as a “close in age exception,” Romeo and Juliet laws are designed to protect teens and young lovers who are close in age to each other from prosecution when one is on the wrong side of the age of consent line. In Maryland, this limit is three years. In other words, an 18 year old cannot be charged with statutory rape for having intercourse with a 15 year old, even though the 15 year old is technically below this age, as long as the intercourse was consensual.

Don’t hesitate to start working with an attorney on your case; contact the Law Offices of James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates online today!

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For Those Accused of Crimes
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    We are one of the few law firms in Maryland who will represent clients who have been accused of sex crimes.

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