If you are under investigation or have already been charged with a sexual offense in Maryland, now is the time to consult with an experienced Maryland sex crimes attorney. Such cases often present inherent challenges for defense attorneys, and also present potentially severe consequences if they are not handled properly. If you are now in the process of seeking legal counsel, take your time and thoroughly vet each prospective lawyer.
Choosing the attorney who is going to stand between you and the prosecutor in charge of your case is one of the most impactful decisions you will ever make. Also known as “state’s attorneys,” the Maryland prosecutors who will be assigned to your case likely routinely handle cases involving alleged sex crimes. Therefore, their experience and team approach will present a formidable challenge to any defense attorney.
Meet Attorney Tom Pavlinic
Attorney Tom Pavlinic is an experienced criminal defense attorney with over 40 years of experience, and for the last 20+ years has devoted his career to defending clients charged with sex crimes. He resides locally in Annapolis, Maryland where he began focusing solely upon cases of this nature in the mid 90’s.
Because Tom has the ability to be admitted as pro hac vice counsel in any state in the U.S., he has represented individuals throughout the county. However, he is licensed to practice law in Maryland where he regularly defends individuals accused of committing sex-related crimes, particularly those involving children.
Depending upon his clients’ preference, Tom can be the sole defense lawyer in their representation, or can work jointly with a local Group attorney, or other attorney who serves as co-counsel. Whether working independently or via the “team approach,” Tom is always the lead defense attorney throughout each case, including at trial should one be necessary.
Maryland’s Sexual Offenses
Each of Maryland’s sex offense statutes has a unique set of elements that distinguish it from every other statute. For example, for a person to be convicted of Rape, the prosecution would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that this person engaged in a non-consensual act of sexual intercourse involving penetration. Beyond this, the prosecution would have to further prove other elements that would distinguish the 1st-degree offense from the 2nd-degree offense, which include several aggravating circumstances such as the use of a dangerous weapon or the infliction of serious physical injury.
This same concept applies to every other Maryland sexual offense. Certain provisions of Sexual offense in third degree and Sexual offense in fourth degree prohibit (among other things) intentional, non-consensual sexual contact for sexual arousal or gratification, but are distinguished by elements such as the age difference between the persons as well the circumstances under which the conduct was committed. It is the requirement that each and every element of a sex offense be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that allows an experienced sex crimes attorney to launch a technical defense by casting doubt upon each element.
Maryland’s Sex Offense Statutes
|§ 3-303. Rape in the first degree||§ 3-304. Rape in the second degree|
|§ 3-307. Sexual offense in the third degree||§ 3-308. Sexual offense in the fourth degree|
|§ 3-315. Continuing course of conduct with child||§ 3-602. Sexual abuse of a minor|
|§ 3-324. Sexual solicitation of minors||§ 3-323. Incest|
The Importance of Hiring an Attorney Experienced With Cases Involving Alleged Sex Crimes
As with any other specific type of case, sex crimes cases present inherent challenges to attorneys, especially those involving child complainants. Over the course of Tom’s career of representing individuals charged with sexual offenses, he has learned firsthand that it is important to have thorough understanding, and ability to overcome, the obstacles that make such cases so challenging.
Among the obstacles that such cases present is Maryland’s law, which contains numerous statutes that are prevalently used in cases involving crimes of a sexual nature (particularly those involving minors). These laws are prosecutors’ most powerful weapons.
Such laws in Maryland’s law include:
- the ‘Rape Shield Law’ (§ 3-319) which can shield evidence of an alleged victim’s prior sexual conduct (including misconduct);
- the ‘Sexual Propensity Exception’ (Rule 5-404(b) which can permit evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts committed by a defendant (see also Thompson v. State, 412 Md. 497);
- the ‘Child Hearsay Exception’ (§ 11-304) which can permit into evidence out-of-court statements (otherwise considered hearsay) by children;
- the “Prompt Complaint of Sexually Assaultive Behavior” exception (Rule 5-802.1(d)) which can permit into evidence prompt complaints of sexually assaultive behavior (otherwise considered hearsay); and,
- the ‘Expanded Indictment Exception’ (see Harmony v. State, 88 Md. App. 306) which provides that prosecutors are not required to prove that a certain act happened on a specific date, when the alleged victim is a child.
CONTACT US FOR A FREE CONSULTATION
Whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor sex offense in Maryland such as Sexual offense in the 4th degree, or have been charged with a serious felony offense such as Rape, Sexual abuse of a minor, or Continuing course of conduct with child, a conviction for any of these offenses could carry a lengthy prison sentence as well as sex offender registration requirements.
Please do not hesitate to contact Tom. The earlier you act, the sooner he will be able to begin planning and preparing your defense. Call for a free consultation at 800-993-0632, or send an email to schedule one.