In general, battery is the crime of intentionally touching a victim in a harmful or offensive manner without their consent. Sexual battery is a specific form of battery, wherein the harmful or offensive touching is of a sexual nature or done for sexual gratification.

Are Sexual Battery and Sexual Assault the Same Crime?

All activities that constitute sexual battery fall under the broad definition of sexual assault. However, sexual assault also includes all other forms of unwanted sexual contact that are not included in rape, such as penetration of a sexual organ with an object and fellatio. North Carolina has chosen to separate sexual battery from other forms of sexual assault and make it into its own crime.

How Does North Carolina Define Sexual Battery?

Under North Carolina law, sexual battery is the crime of engaging in sexual contact with a victim against their will or by force for the purpose of sexual gratification or arousal. A person can also be charged with this crime if the victim is physically helpless, mentally incapacitated, or mentally disabled and the perpetrator knew or should have reasonably known that the victim was mentally incapacitated, physically helpless, or mentally disabled.

What Is Sexual Contact?

In North Carolina, sexual contact is any touching of the sexual organ, groin, anus, breast, or buttocks of a person or using any other aforementioned body parts to touch another person. Sexual contact is also achieves by emitting, ejaculating, or placing urine, feces, or semen on any part of another person.

Will I Go to Prison for Sexual Battery in North Carolina?

No. Sexual battery is a Class A1 misdemeanor crime, which means that a person can only be convicted to jail time at worst. A conviction for a Class A1 misdemeanor can result in an active punishment, an intermediate punishment, or a community punishment. If this is the first time that the defendant has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime, then their sentence will only last for one to 60 days, but if they have received other misdemeanor convictions in the past, then they may be subjected to a maximum of 150 days.

What Is the Difference Between the Three Different Kinds of Punishment?

The main difference between the three different forms of punishment for a Class A1 misdemeanor is whether a person will receive jail time or probation. For an active punishment, the sentence will consist entirely of time in jail. An intermediate punishment can involve jail time alongside supervised probation, or it can exclusively be supervised probation. A sentence of intermediate punishment can also include other forms of alternative punishment on top of the supervised probation, such as enrollment in a court drug treatment program, community service, and house arrest. A person who is sentenced to a community punishment will face either supervised probation or unsupervised probation, and they may also be required to pay a fine, participate in community service, undergo house arrest, or a number of other alternative punishments.

Do I Need a Lawyer for My Sexual Battery Case?

Being accused of any sex crime can have a significant negative impact on your life, and a conviction can be even more devastating. Contact a North Carolina criminal lawyer immediately if you are charged with sexual battery in North Carolina.