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While many outdated laws such as those outlawing sodomy have been repealed, people should be aware of several other activities in Maine that are illegal and can lead to fines, imprisonment, and a criminal record.
Whether the state should be able to regulate sexual activities between two consenting adults has been a bone of contention for some time in U.S. law.
In the past few decades, there has been a move away from prosecuting consensual sexual activity done in privacy. Many of the laws are considered outdated. If laws still exist, they are often considered unenforceable.
A good example is same-sex sodomy. Criminal sodomy laws were repealed in Maine in 1975.
The general view is that adults have a right to liberty and privacy in their own homes and this should not be violated. Furthermore, there should be no discrimination between homosexual and heterosexual couples.
With that said, let’s take a look at some examples of consensual sexual activity that can be prosecuted in Maine.
Statutory rape is sexual activity with a person under the age of 16 (this is the age of consent in Maine).
Some people believe that a consensual sexual relationship with a minor is legal but it’s not. Under Maine law, there can be no consensual sex with a minor because the minor is considered unable to consent. In other words, a child has no legal capacity to consent.
So, such activity is considered non-consensual sexual activity or rape — and it can lead to very harsh penalties.
The “Romeo & Juliet” law does, however, protect young people from making honest mistakes and having to pay a heavy price for them. Sexual partners who are less than five years older than a sexual partner aged 14 or 15 are protected from facing statutory rape charges.
So, an 18-year-old boy who has consensual sex with a 15-year-old-girl cannot be prosecuted for statutory rape. However, an 18-year-old boy who has consensual sex with a 13-year-old-girl is not protected by the “Romeo & Juliet” law.
Apart from statutory rape, several other “consensual” sexual activities can lead to criminal charges in Maine.
These activities can lead to a charge of indecent exposure in Maine. Typically, this is classified as a Class E crime with a jail sentence of up to six months and/or a fine of $1,000.
However, if the defendant has two or more prior convictions, the offense may be elevated to a Class D crime, which carries a sentence of up to one year in jail and/or a $2,000 fine.
Under Maine’s indecent exposure laws, it is a crime to purposefully display one’s genitals in public, causing others to be alarmed or offended.
To achieve a conviction, the prosecution must prove that the defendant deliberately and knowingly bared his/her genitals in public. Generally speaking, if the defendant is wearing underwear (even if it is revealing) but does not bare his/her genitals, he or she cannot be convicted of indecent exposure.
Females may be charged with indecent exposure for baring breasts, except in the case of a mother breastfeeding a baby.
In cases where males claim to have urinated in public (rather than indecently exposing themselves), the defendant may need to show that the act was not done with the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification or to offend another person. The charge usually requires lewd or lascivious behavior for a conviction.
Commercial sexual activities are also prohibited under Maine law. This means that both buying (or offering to buy) and selling sexual acts or sexual contact are illegal in the state.
A sexual act is defined as:
Sexual contact is defined as the touching of the genitals or anus (directly or through clothing), for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire or causing bodily injury or offensive physical contact.
Both prostitution and solicitation of a prostitute (referred to as engaging a prostitute) can lead to criminal charges. Generally, they are prosecuted as Class E crimes, punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
However, if the defendant has one or more prior convictions for engaging in prostitution (or a substantially similar crime) within the last two years, it is elevated to a Class D crime. This is punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000.
Solicitation of prostitution from a person under the age of 18 is a Class C crime.Top of Form
Any crime involving engaging or solicitation of a prostitute generally carries with it a recommendation of jail time, usually no less than 10 days for a first offense.
If you have been charged with a crime related to consensual sexual activity, it is important to understand your legal rights. Contact an attorney at The Maine Criminal Defense Group by call us at 207-571-8146 for an initial consultation today.
If you are facing criminal charges in Maine, the attorneys at The Maine Criminal Defense Group are here to help. Call our office to speak with
one of our team members, who will discuss your case with you and set up a consultation with one of our attorneys
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