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What may be 'young love' may actually be a crime in Maryland


Many adults in Maryland have May-December romances, and even young love can blossom into a meaningful long-term relationship lasting well into adulthood. However, there are instances in which even consensual sexual contact, sexual acts or vaginal intercourse between two individuals is illegal. This is known as "statutory rape," as the reported victims in such cases are legally deemed incapable of consent.

An individual in Maryland cannot engage in sexual contact with another individual if the other individual is under 14-years-old, and the individual performing the sexual contact is four or more years older than the other individual. For example, if an individual is 17-years-old and engages in sexual contact with a 13-year-old, the 17-year-old will have violated this law.

In addition, an individual in Maryland cannot engage in a sexual act with another individual if the other individual is age 14 or 15 and the individual performing the sexual act is age 21 or above. For example, if an individual is 21-years-old and engages in a sexual act with a 15-year-old, the 21-year-old will have violated this law.

Also, an individual in Maryland cannot have vaginal intercourse with another individual if the other individual is age 14 or 15, and the individual performing the act is age 21 or above. For example, if an individual is 21-years-old and has vaginal intercourse with a 15-year-old, the 21-year-old will have violated this law.

A violation of any of these laws in Maryland will be considered felony third-degree sexual offense. If convicted, the person may be imprisoned for up to 10 years. Therefore, while a six-year age difference may not mean too much between two adults when it comes to consensual sexual intercourse, a six-year age difference can mean a prison sentence if one party is 15-years-old or younger. Young love may be one thing, and many older individuals have May-December romances, but Maryland residents should keep in mind these laws. If a person unknowingly violated one of these laws, and is now facing sexual assault charges, he or she may want to seek the help of a criminal defense attorney.

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