Age of Consent

Categories :: Criminal, Youth Law > Criminal Law

Under Maryland law, certain sexual behaviors are not allowed, simply based on the ages of the people involved, whether or not the people agree to the behavior.

Regardless of the specific sexual behavior, the general pattern is that you can be convicted if the victim is under 16 and is 4 or more years younger than you.

For simplicity, this table only considers vaginal intercourse, and only considers the simplest cases.  The crimes related to “sexual act” and “sexual contact” are listed below the table.  The crimes and penalties may be harsher if the victim did not consent, if the victim was physically or mentally handicapped, or in other specific cases. Read the Law: MD Code, Crim Law § 3-301 - § 3-315

Age of Consent in Maryland

  Age of Partner (Defendants Age)
Age of Patient
(Victims Age)
  12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21+
12 No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime
2nd
Degree
Rape
2nd
Degree
Rape
2nd
Degree
Rape
2nd
Degree
Rape
2nd
Degree
Rape
2nd
Degree
Rape
13 No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime
2nd
Degree
Rape
2nd
Degree
Rape
2nd
Degree
Rape
2nd
Degree
Rape
2nd
Degree
Rape
14 No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime
4th
Degree
Sexual
Offense
4th
Degree
Sexual
Offense
4th
Degree
Sexual
Offense
3rd
Degree
Sexual
Offense
15 No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime
4th
Degree
Sexual
Offense
4th
Degree
Sexual
Offense
3rd
Degree
Sexual
Offense
16 No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime
17 No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime
18+ No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime
No
Crime

No
Crime

Vaginal intercourse

See legal definition at MD Code, Criminal Law 3-301(g)

Victim under 14, Defendant four years older than victim - It is second degree rape (a felony, for which you can go to prison for up to 20 years) to have vaginal intercourse with someone under the age of 14, if you are at least 4 years older than the victim. Read the Law: MD Code, Criminal Law 3-304

Victim age 14-15, Defendant age 21 or older - It is third degree sexual offense (a felony, for which you can go to prison for up to 10 years) to engage in vaginal intercourse with someone who is 14 or 15, if you are 21 or older. Read the Law: MD Code, Criminal Law 3-307

Victim age 14-15, Defendant four years older than victim, but under 21 - It is a fourth degree sexual offense (a misdemeanor, for which you can go to prison for up to 1 year and be fined up to $1,000) to have vaginal intercourse with someone who is 14 or 15, if you are at least 4 years older than the victim, but not yet 21. Read the Law: MD Code, Criminal Law 3-308

“Sexual Act” (Includes oral and anal sex)

See legal definition at MD Code, Criminal Law 3-301(e)

Victim under 14, Defendant four years older than victim - It is second degree sexual offense (a felony, for which you can go to prison for up to 20 years) to engage in a sexual act with someone under the age of 14, if you are at least 4 years older than the victim.  Read the Law: MD Code, Criminal Law 3-306

Victim age 14-15, Defendant age 21 or older - It is third degree sexual offense (a felony, for which you can go to prison for up to 10 years) to engage in a sexual act with someone who is 14 or 15, if you are 21 or older. Read the Law: MD Code, Criminal Law 3-307

Victim age 14-15, Defendant four years older than victim, but under 21 - It is a fourth degree sexual offense (a misdemeanor, for which you can go to prison for up to 1 year and be fined up to $1,000) to engage in a sexual act with someone who is 14 or 15, if you are at least 4 years older than the victim, but not yet 21. Read the Law: MD Code, Criminal Law 3-308

“Sexual Contact” (Intentional touching of intimate areas for sexual pleasure or for abuse)

See legal definition at MD Code, Criminal Law 3-301(f)

Victim under 14, Defendant four years older than victim - It is third degree sexual offense (a felony, for which you can go to prison for up to 10 years) to engage in sexual contact with someone under the age of 14, if you are at least 4 years older than the victim.  Read the Law: MD Code, Criminal Law 3-307

Source: 

Table created by: Hope Tipton; updated by Dave Pantzer

Escape Now Button: 

No
Is this legal advice?

This site offers legal information, not legal advice.  We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information and to clearly explain your options.  However we do not provide legal advice - the application of the law to your individual circumstances. For legal advice, you should consult an attorney.  The Maryland State Law Library, a court-related agency of the Maryland Judiciary, sponsors this site.  In the absence of file-specific attribution or copyright, the Maryland State Law Library may hold the copyright to parts of this website. You are free to copy the information for your own use or for other non-commercial purposes with the following language “Source: Maryland's People’s Law Library – www.peoples-law.org. © Maryland State Law Library, 2016.”

Note: documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view, download Adobe Acrobat Reader.