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Understanding the different types of sexual assault

On Behalf of | Mar 14, 2024 | Sexual Assault

Being accused of sexual assault can result in long-lasting effects on an individual’s personal and professional life, regardless of their innocence or guilt. Since sexual assault can take one of many forms, it is important to be aware of what each type entails in order to better understand specific kinds of accusations and their potential impacts.

Sexual assault, also known as a sexual offense in Maryland, is a wide spectrum of behaviors that encompass non-consensual sexual contact or activity other than rape. These offenses can occur in various contexts, such as intimate relationships, acquaintanceships or stranger encounters.

Sexual offense in the first-degree

A first-degree sexual offense is where the victim claims a sexual act, other than vaginal intercourse, happened without their consent. They may also allege that consent occurred under force or threat. Penalties for first-degree sexual offenses may include up to 25 years in prison without parole for offenders of underage victims and life imprisonment for repeat offenders.

Second-degree sex offense

This is where the victim claims that a sexual act happened by force or threat and that it happened with a handicapped or otherwise incapacitated victim. Second-degree sex offenses carry serious penalties as well, with potential imprisonment ranging between 15 years to life, especially if the offender is an adult with a victim under 13 years of age.

Third and fourth-degree sexual offenses

Third-degree sexual offenses are considered felonies and typically involve sexual contact without consent, such as groping or touching intimate body parts without permission. Fourth-degree sexual offenses are misdemeanors and may include acts like indecent exposure or inappropriate touching. While the penalties for these offenses are less severe compared to first and second-degree offenses, they still carry significant consequences, including imprisonment and registration as a sex offender.

If you are accused of a sex offense, it is crucial to take the accusation seriously and seek legal counsel immediately. Regardless of your innocence or guilt, navigating the legal process as successfully as possible requires careful attention and a thorough understanding of your rights.