In general, rape is sexual penetration done against a victim’s will. There are numernous types of rape, including statutory rape, same sex rape, and material rape. North Carolina’s definition of rape is more specific than this definition.

What Is North Carolina’s Definition of Rape?

Under North Carolina law, rape is known as forcible rape. It is the criminal act of engaging in vaginal intercourse with a victim by force without their consent. North Carolina has two different degrees of forcible rape.

How Is First-Degree Forcible Rape Defined in North Carolina?

A person can be accused of first-degree forcible rape if they have nonconsensual vaginal intercourse with a person through the use of force and they also do one of the following during the commission of the rape:

  • Use a deadly or dangerous weapon or any item that the victim reasonably believed was a deadly or dangerous weapon
  • Inflict serious bodily harm on the victim or another person
  • Receive aid from other people to commit the rape

What Constitutes Serious Bodily Harm?

Serious bodily harm is defined as a physical injury that significantly impairs a victim’s health or physical comfort. Examples of serious bodily injury include:

  • Broken arm
  • Serious cuts
  • Significant burns
  • Major disfigurement

Is First-Degree Forcible Rape a Misdemeanor or Felony in North Carolina?

In North Carolina, both degrees of forcible rape are felonies. First-degree forcible rape is a Class B1 felony.

What Is the Punishment for a First-Degree Forcible Rape Conviction?

A person convicted of a Class B1 felony for the first time will receive a prison sentence of 192 to 240 months. However, if the person has been convicted of committing felonies in the past, then they may face up to 483 months in prison.

Should I Contact a Lawyer?

Yes. Contact a North Carolina criminal lawyer if you are accused of rape. A lawyer will advise you of all your legal rights and of any defenses that you may be able to use.