In general, a sex crime is any action that knowingly causes another person to engage in a sexual act he or she did not want to participate in. This could be by means of either force or threat. Depending on the type and severity of the offense, sex crimes may be either misdemeanors or felonies. The following are a few things to consider about sex crimes, their definition and how they get prosecuted:
  • Force is not necessarily an element of every sex crime: Although some specific sex crimes, such as rape, involve force or the threat of force, there are other offenses that are illegal even if no force is involved. Examples include statutory rape, child molestation, possession of child pornography and sexual harassment. A person’s disability could also prevent him or her from being able to consent to sexual acts. Other sex crimes — such as prostitution or incest — are illegal even if all parties involved are consenting adults.
  • Sexting can be a crime in some cases: There is no law against consenting adults sending each other sexual messages or photos, but it is illegal when minors are involved. “Sexting” crimes often fall under the umbrella of felony child pornography.
  • Penalties are often severe: Law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and courts are not easy on people convicted of sex crimes. Penalties may include significant fines, victim restitution and imprisonment. Particularly egregious offenses could result in decades or a lifetime in prison. Certain crimes have mandatory minimum sentences associated with them on the federal level.
  • Some sex offenders must register with local police: After being released from jail, certain sex offenders must register with local police, disclosing their home, place of employment and/or place of schooling. A failure to keep registration information current could result in additional penalties.
Being charged with a sex crime is a serious matter in Maryland. To best protect your constitutional rights, consult a skilled La Plata criminal defense lawyer at Mudd, Mudd & Fitzgerald, P.A.