Statutory Rape Lawyers in Maine
Legal Representation Serving the Areas of Bangor, Portland, Augusta, Biddeford and Saco
Sex crimes in Maine can include a lot of charges such as sexual assault, indecent exposure, etc. One of the most misunderstood sex crimes is statutory rape. Statutory rape charges arise when an adult is accused of having sexual relations with a minor. Even if the sex is consensual, if the adult is more than 10 years older than the alleged victim, any type of sexual contact is considered a crime. Statutory rape is a term used to describe what is actually a sexual assault charge. When a minor who is under the legal age of consent has sexual relations with an adult, sexual assault charges can result.
Maine Statutory Rape Laws
A statutory rape conviction can lead to serious consequences. For the most minor offenses, you can be sentenced to one to five years in jail. The most serious offenses are considered gross sexual assault and can lead to up to 40 years of jail time. In addition, a conviction can lead to mandatory registration as a sex offender and can affect your child custody status. A sex crime conviction will show up on a background check and may lead to you being passed over for educational and career opportunities. It can even affect where you are allowed to live.
Maine statutory rape laws are complicated and include very specific stipulations. In general, a minor under the age of 16 cannot consent to sexual acts. There are exceptions to this law, however. If the minor is over the age of 14 and the defendant is less than 5 years older, consensual sexual acts between the two are not considered statutory rape. If the minor is at least 14 and the defendant is less than 10 years older, voluntary sexual contact is not considered a crime. If the minor is under 14 years old, sexual contact with a person less than 3 years older and sexual touching with a person 5 years older is not considered statutory rape as long as it is consensual.
The levels of charges in a statutory rape case can vary. The most serious crimes are considered gross sexual assault. You can be charged with gross sexual assault for engaging in a sexual act with someone under the age of 14. You will be charged with unlawful sexual contact if you have sexual contact with someone under 14 and are at least 3 years older than that person. An unlawful sexual touching charge will arise if you are at least 5 years older than the alleged victim and are accused of sexual touching a minor less than 14 years of age. Finally, you will be charged with sexual abuse of a minor in cases where you engage in sexual contact with a minor who is older than 14 but younger than 16 and you are at least 10 years older than the minor.
Mandatory Abuse Reporters
In the State of Maine, certain professionals have an obligation to report child abuse to authorities. This includes statutory rape. It is a very long list and basically includes anyone that a child would interact with on a regular basis. Some of these professionals include:
- Doctors or specialists
- Dentist or dental staff
- Teachers, guidance counselors and school officials
- Social workers or child service officers
- Camp counselors
- Child care professionals
- Law enforcement or firefighter
One way that statutory rape is discovered is when a minor becomes pregnant. This is a clear sign that the minor is sexually active and can be a red flag of sexual abuse.
Statutory Rape Defenses
The good news about statutory rape charges is that you have defense options. With the aid of a criminal defense lawyer, you can fight the charges and protect your reputation and your future. There are several strategies that attorneys can use to defend clients who have been charged with statutory rape. The first is the marriage defense, Maine statutory rape charges only apply to sexual relations outside of marriage. If we can prove that the sexual acts occurred after a marriage took place, the charges will be dismissed. The second defense is that you were unaware of the actual age of the minor. If your defense attorney can prove that you reasonably could have believed that the minor was over the age of 16, than you may be found ‘not guilty'.
As with any type of criminal charge, it is important to get the best legal assistance possible and fight the statutory rape charges against you. Our Maine criminal defense attorneys will stop at nothing to build a strong defense for you. We believe that a good defense can be built for every case. A sex crime conviction can have long term consequences. Don't let your future be damaged by a sex crime charge, call our firm right now.