Personal Injury, Criminal Law, Traffic Violations, and Family Law & Divorce

Maryland no longer allows spousal defense for rape

On Behalf of | Nov 16, 2023 | Domestic Violence

It used to be that there was no such crime as spousal or marital rape. That has changed, state by state, over the years. Now most states recognize that a person can be raped by their spouse.

Maryland was one of the few holdouts. Our state allowed a “spousal defense” for rape and other sexual assault charges unless a person was accused of threatening or using force.

That changed this year when Gov. Wes Moore signed a law that ended that spousal defense. The new law took effect on Oct. 1.

Legislators and advocates intent on changing the law didn’t have an easy time of it. It took several years. One of the lawmakers behind the change said part of the issue was that there was a lot of fear that “familiar touching within relationships might be prosecutable, which was never the case.”

Things can get stressful for couples this time of year

Certainly things that get complicated in all relationships. We’re coming into the holiday season, where domestic violence arrests often spike. A combination of increased alcohol and drug use, stress, spouses being at home (or elsewhere) together rather than at work and having to put up a façade of a happy couple at social gatherings can all lead to problems.

If you’ve been charged with rape, sexual assault or any kind of violence against your spouse, it’s crucial to take the matter seriously. Don’t assume that it will just blow over. Once police have gotten involved, the charges aren’t likely to be dropped without good reason. Having experienced legal guidance is crucial to help protect your rights and your future.