In order to legally have sex, both partners must give consent and be old enough to legally give consent. The age of consent for sex is 16 years old in North Carolina. If at least one of the partners is under the age of 16, then the partner who is older may be guilty of committing a statutory sexual offense or statutory rape.
Statutory rape in North Carolina is the crime of engaging in vaginal intercourse with a minor under the age of 16. There are actually three separate crimes for statutory rape in North Carolina, with the main differences between the crimes being the ages of both the perpetrator and the victim.
Statutory rape only deals only with vaginal intercourse with a minor. A statutory sexual offense is the crime of engaging in a sexual act other than vaginal intercourse with a child under 16 years old. That sexual act can be:
- Sexual organ penetration by an object for a non-medical purpose
Just as there are three different statutory rape crimes, there are three difference statutory sexual offense crimes. They are statutory sexual offense with a child by an adult, first-degree statutory sexual offense, and statutory sexual offense with a person who is 15 years of age or younger.
A first-degree statutory sexual offense is the crime of engaging in a sexual act with a minor who is under the age of 13. To be charged with this crime, the perpetrator must be at least 12 years old and at least four years older than the minor.
A first-degree statutory sexual offense is a Class B1 felony. The punishment for a first conviction for a Class B1 felony is 192 to 240 months in prison.
Legal representation is necessary if you wish to properly defend yourself against this crime. You need a North Carolina criminal lawyer to understand your legal rights and available defenses.