Rape is a criminal offense that is usually categorized as a violent felony. Every state in the United States has laws governing rape which define the act.
It is important to note that the wording of the definition may vary slightly by state. Rape is defined as unlawful sexual intercourse without the consent of an individual, regardless of their gender.
There are numerous different circumstances in which an offender may be charged with rape, which may include:
- When a perpetrator engages in sexual intercourse against another individual’s will or does so without their consent by using:
- fear; or
- When an individuals is too intoxicated to consent and another individual engages in sexual conduct with them;
- When an individual engages in sexual conduct with another individual who suffers from a mental or physical disability which prevents them from being able to consent to the sexual conduct; or
- When an individual engages in sexual conduct with another individual who is incapacitated, which means that the victim was unaware that they are engaging in a sexual act. For example, if the individual is asleep.
What are Some Different Categories of Rape?
There are different categories of rape. An offense may fall into one category depending upon the factors which are present, which may include the ages and relationship of the individuals involved.
Different categories of rape charges may include:
Statutory rape is defined as unlawful sexual intercourse with an individual who is younger than the age of consent, regardless of whether or not the sexual act was consensual. It is important to note that the age of consent varies by state, from 16 to 18 years of age.
An individual may face statutory rape charges in certain cases even when the parties are close in age. For example, if an individual is 19 years of age and have sexual intercourse with another individual who is 2 years younger if the age of consent in that state is 18.
Date rape occurs when a perpetrator engages in unlawful sexual intercourse during a social engagement between the two parties. Date rape may also occur when the victim has been unknowingly drugged and the perpetrator has sexual intercourse with them.
Marital rape is rape which occurs during a marriage. This form of rape occurs when one spouse forces a sexual act on the other spouse without their consent.
This has not always been recognized as a criminal offense. It is now, however, considered to be a serious crime where a defendant is not permitted to use the marriage as a defense to rape charges.
It is important to note that rape is a criminal offense which may occur in many different scenarios if certain criteria are met, not just in the circumstances discussed above. Additionally, certain states categorize rape into degrees based upon the seriousness of the offense.
First degree rape may involve severe physical injuries and carries harsher punishments than second degree rape. Second degree rape may not involve a victim suffering physical injuries beyond the incident itself.
How Does North Carolina Define Rape?
In the State of North Carolina, rape is defined as a criminal act that involves forced vaginal penetration without the consent of the victim. Every other form of sexual penetration is categorized as a forcible sexual offense.
A Class A felony is the most serious category of felony in North Carolina. First degree forcible rape is classified as a Class B1 felony.
If an individual is convicted of a Class B1 felony, they may be imprisoned for a minimum of 12 years up to life without parole. In North Carolina, second degree forcible rape is categorized as a Class C felony.
If a defendant is convicted of a Class C felony in North Carolina, they face 3.5 years, or 44 months, imprisonment up to 15 years imprisonment. In North Carolina, 1st and 2nd degree forcible rape are considered sexually violent offenses.
This means that, if an individual is convicted of these offenses, they are required to register and maintain that registration in the North Carolina publix sex offender registry after their incarceration term has ended.
A defendant is required to register immediately after they obtain a place to live and they must update this every 90 days. The defendant must register for a minimum of 30 years and some are required to register for the rest of their lives.
The sex offender registry database is available online and in public. An individual can identify convicted sex offenders and find out where they are residing.
A register sex offender in North Carolina facts various residency restrictions as well. For example, they are not permitted to knowingly reside within 1,000 feet of a childcare center or a school.
In addition, a child cannot reside at or be cared for at an individual’s residence if they are on the sex offender registry. Any address changes are required to be reported.
If the sex offender leaves the state of North Carolina, even temporarily, they may be required to register in the new state. In certain cases, a sex offender may be subject to court-ordered satellite-based continuous monitoring.
A registered sex offender in North Carolina may also face certain employment restrictions. For example, they are not permitted to hold a commercial driver’s license which permits them to drive a vehicle for passengers or a school bus.
What is a Forcible Sexual Offense?
Pursuant to North Carolina law, forcible sexual offenses are sexual acts that are committed against an individual’s will or with an adult who is not capable of providing consent. In North Carolina, the definition of sexual acts include oral sex as well as penetration of an individual’s genital or anal opening with an object.
What is a Second Degree Forcible Sexual Offense in North Carolina?
An individual commits a second degree forcible sexual offense if they engage in a sexual act with a victim either against their will or by force. It may also be committed when a perpetrator engages in a sexual act with a victim that they knew or should have known is:
- Mentally disabled;
- Physically helpless; or
- Mentally incapacitated.
Is a Second Degree Forcible Sexual Offense Just Sexual Battery in North Carolina?
No, a second degree forcible sexual offense is not just sexual battery in North Carolina. Sexual battery involves unwanted touching or other contact with a victim that is engaged in for:
- Sexual gratification;
- Sexual abuse; or
- Sexual arousal.
Sexual battery does not involve any penetration of a sexual nature, nor does it include any form of oral sex.
Is Second Degree Forcible Sexual Offense a Lesser Charge than First Degree Forcible Sexual Offense?
Yes, a second degree forcible sexual offense is a lesser charge than a first degree forcible sexual offense. A first degree forcible sexual offense is a forcible sexual offense involving:
- The use or display of a dangerous or deadly weapon or an item that the victim reasonably thought was a deadly or dangerous weapon;
- Inflicting a serious physical injury upon a victim or another individual; or
- Assistance provided by one or more individuals when committing the crime.
Is Second Degree Forcible Sexual Offense a Misdemeanor?
No, second degree forcible sexual offenses is a felony offense. Specifically, a second degree forcible sexual offense is a Class C felony.
What is the Punishment for a Class C Felony?
The first conviction of a Class C felony in North Carolina is punishable by 58 to 73 months in prison. If an individual has prior felony convictions, their prison sentence may be as long as 146 months.
Should I Get Help for My Forcible Sexual Offense Case?
If you have been charged with a forcible sexual offense, it is important to consult with a North Carolina criminal lawyer. Your lawyer will advise you regarding possible available defenses for your case.
In addition, your lawyer may be able to negotiate with the prosecution for a lesser sentence, reduced charges, or a plea deal. Your attorney will also represent you in court when you have to appear.