The age of consent, or the age in which a person is legally considered old enough to engage in consensual sexual activity, varies from state to state. In Maryland, the current age of consent is 16 years old.
However, there are a few exceptions to the rule that you should be aware of to avoid criminal charges, excessive fines, and imprisonment. Keep reading to learn more about the age of consent in Maryland and finding the best criminal defense lawyer if you are suspected of statutory rape (cases of sexual intercourse with a minor, especially under the age of consent).
The age of consent in Maryland may also vary if the older partner is in a position of authority over the minor, such as an employer, teacher, church leader, or sports coach. In these situations, the age of consent may be argued as 18 or 21 years old, depending on the local jurisdiction.
Penalties Surrounding Violating the Age of Consent
A statutory rape charge is considered rape in the second degree, a felony that can result in up to 20 years in prison. Persons who are convicted a second time of statutorys rape may be penalized with a lifetime sentence.
Third degree sexual offenses are also considered felonies and may result in up to 10 years in prison. Fourth degree sexual offenses against a minor, however, are misdemeanors and may be penalized with a year imprisonment and a $1,000 fine.
In addition to fines and imprisonment penalties, the charged individual will still be required to register as a sex offender. This requires regular updates to local law enforcement officers, generally for a period of 15 years or more.
Avoiding Sex Offense Charges
Even if the minor initiates, encourages, or consents to sexual activity with an older individual, based on age that individual could still be charged with statutory rape. Be cautious even if a partner appears to give consent or lies about their age. There still may be room for criminal liability.
If you find yourself facing sex crime charges in Ocean City or another Maryland location, work with one of the best criminal defense attornies, C. Gregory Coburn. His three decades of experience as a criminal defense lawyer are invaluable in such cases. Contact him to schedule a free consultation is you suspect that you may be liable for statutory rape or another sexual offense.