Statutory rape is generally defined as engaging in sexual intercourse with a minor, who is a person too young to legally give consent. A minor is anyone under the legal age of consent, which is an age that varies from state to state. In North Carolina, the age of consent is 16 years old.
How Does North Carolina Define Statutory Rape?
North Carolina has three separate statutory rape criminal statutes. All three criminal statutes focus solely on vaginal intercourse, and do not include any other sexual acts. The differences between the crimes are the ages of the victims and of the perpetrators.
Is There Any Difference between Statutory Rape and a Statutory Sexual Offense in North Carolina?
Yes. In North Carolina, all statutory rape crimes involve only vaginal intercourse. If a person commits a different kind of sexual act than vaginal intercourse with a minor, then they are guilty of committing a statutory sexual offense. Under North Carolina law, a sexual act other than vaginal intercourse is:
- Anal intercourse
- Penetration of the genital or anal opening of a body by an object for a non-medical purpose
What Is a Statutory Sexual Offense with a Child by an Adult in North Carolina?
The crime of a statutory sexual offense with a child by an adult occurs when a person engages in a sexual act other than vaginal intercourse with a minor who is under 13 years old. The perpetrator must be at least 18 years old.
Will I Be Charged with a Statutory Sexual Offense If I Only Touched the Victim?
No. A statutory sexual offense involves a sexual act with a minor. If the perpetrator merely touches victim without their consent, then the action is sexual battery, not a statutory sexual offense. The crime of sexual battery is physical contact involving a person’s anus, sexual organ, groin area, breast, or buttocks done for sexual gratification or arousal or the emitting or placing semen, urine, or feces upon a person.
What Is the Punishment for Commission of a Sexual Offense with a Child by an Adult?
The crime of a sexual offense with a child by an adult is a Class B1 felony. However, the punishment for this particular crime is harsher than a typical Class B1 felony, as the minimum punishment for this crime is 300 months in prison. If the court finds that there were aggravating factors present during the commission of the crime, such as mutilation of the victim or infliction of pain on the victim, then the perpetrator will face a maximum punishment of life in prison without parole. After serving the prison sentence, the person will be monitored by the state for life.
Do I Need a Criminal Lawyer?
A conviction of a statutory sexual offense with a child by an adult will impact the rest of your life, which is why it is important to get legal representation to assist you in fighting the charge. A North Carolina criminal lawyer will help you determine the best defenses and options to get the case dismissed or reduced.