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What Is Maryland's 4th Degree Sex Offense Charge?

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Sex offense of the fourth degree is one of the most common sex crime charges in Maryland. It’s also one of the few sex crime charges that is a misdemeanor. However, a misdemeanor sex offense charge still has massive ramifications for the accused. For instance, even if the case is dropped, a defendant may find their reputation irreparably harmed, their career destroyed, and their personal relationships broken or strained.

If you’re being investigated for a fourth degree sex offense, do not delay—speak with an attorney as soon as possible. As a Prince George’s County sex crime defense firm, Gracia & Mintz provides the aggressive and immediate legal defense you’ll need. Read below to learn more about fourth degree sex offenses.

Fourth Degree Sex Charges & Positions of Power

Fourth degree sex offenses involve someone in a position of power and authority who is accused of committing non-felony sexual acts with someone who is at least four years older than the alleged underage victim. This sex charge mostly involves teachers and school administrators who are at least 21 years old.

The idea behind this charge is that even if a student allegedly consented, the power and authority of the perpetrator’s position would make true, legal consent impossible to give. The Maryland Penal Code also has a law that says it is a crime for anyone in a position of authority at a school, public or private, to have any kind of sexual contact with a student.

The Problem with Fourth Degree Sex Offense Charges

Unfortunately, what often happens is the police will arrest an alleged perpetrator without sufficient evidence. As you can imagine, the arrest of a school teacher or principal for alleged sex crimes can have far-reaching consequences, even if the accusations end up being groundless.

The penalties for conviction include a year of jail, but the effects of conviction will last for a lifetime. In most cases, school employees who have been convicted of a fourth degree sex offense are unable to work in education ever again.

At Gracia & Mintz, our attorneys include a former prosecutor and a former police officer. Together, we understand the criminal justice system from all sides, as both enforcers of the law and defenders of the accused. If you’re facing misdemeanor sex charges, you need to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Any delay could result in you losing your job, your relationships, and your freedom.

Call (301) 842-8584 today for a free consultation to discuss your defense options.