Crimes Against Marriage
Maryland law considers adultery and bigamy as “crimes against marriage.” Although these acts occur privately within a marriage, they can be prosecuted as criminal offenses and are punishable criminal acts in Maryland.
Read the Law: Md. Code, Criminal Law, Title 10, Subtitle 5
Maryland law prohibits adultery. Adultery is a misdemeanor offense punishable by a $10 fine; however, prosecutions for adultery are rare. Maryland law does not provide an exact definition for adultery. Generally, adultery is defined as voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person other than that person's husband or wife.
Read the Law: Md. Code, Criminal Law § 10-501
Maryland law prohibits bigamy. Bigamy is entering into a marriage while already lawfully married to a living person. In Maryland, the bigamy law does NOT apply if:
- A person's previous lawful spouse has been absent from them for a continuous period of 7 years; AND
- The person does not know where their previous lawful spouse is living at the time of the subsequent marriage ceremony.
Bigamy is a felony punishable by imprisonment for up to 9 years.
Read the law: Md. Code, Criminal Law § 10-502