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Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws in Maine

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Mar 29, 2022

Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws in Maine

Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws in Maine

Most people think of criminal sexual conduct as sexual assault, rape or another non-consensual activity.

However, not all sex crimes concern non-consensual sexual activity in Maine. Certain consensual activities are prohibited in the state.

While many outdated laws such as those outlawing sodomy have been repealed, people should be aware of several other activities in Maine that are illegal and can lead to fines, imprisonment, and a criminal record.

Can sexual activity be regulated according to the U.S. constitution?

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 Many of the laws are considered outdated.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 Criminal sodomy laws were repealed in Maine in 1975.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 in Maine

Prohibited Consensual Sex crimes with a minor in MaineStatutory 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.

Which other consensual sexual activities can lead to criminal charges in Maine?

Apart from statutory rape, several other “consensual” sexual activities can lead to criminal charges in Maine.

These are:

  • Engaging in a sexual act in a public place
  • Exposing genitals in circumstances likely to alarm others
  • Exposing genitals in a private place where they can be seen in a public place (e.g., from the sidewalk) or another private place (such as a neighbor’s home)

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.

Indecent exposure: What does this mean in Maine?

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.

Prostitution and solicitation laws in Maine

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:

  • Any act between two people involving direct physical contact between the genitals of one person and the mouth, anus, or genitals of the other
  • Any act between a person and an animal involving direct physical contact between the genitals of one and the mouth, anus, or genitals of the other, or
  • Any act involving direct physical contact between the genitals or anus of one and an instrument manipulated by another for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire, or for the purpose of causing bodily injury or offensive physical contact

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.

Contact a consensual sexual activity lawyer in Maine

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 for an initial consultation.

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