Sexual battery in North Carolina is the crime of engaging in sexual contact with a victim without their consent and for the purpose of sexual gratification, sexual abuse, or sexual arousal. Under North Carolina law, sexual contact refers to touching a victim’s groin, buttocks, anus, or breast; having one’s own groin, anus, buttocks, or breast touch the victim; or the placing, ejaculating, or emitting of feces, semen, or urine upon the victim’s body. If a person’s actions go beyond just sexual contact, then they may be guilty of rape or a sexual offense.

What Is a Sexual Offense in North Carolina?

According to North Carolina law, a sexual offense is the crime of engaging in a sexual act, not including vaginal intercourse, with a victim who did not or could not provide consent to engage in the sexual act. Actions that constitute a sexual act include cunnilingus, fellatio, analingus, sodomy, and the penetration of the victim’s genital or anal opening with an object. If the sexual act is done to a person under the age of 16, then the perpetrator may be guilty of a statutory sexual offense with a person who is 15 years of age or younger.

How Can a Person Commit a Statutory Sexual Offense with a Person Who Is 15 Years of Age or Younger?

A person is guilty of committing a statutory sexual offense with a person who is 15 years of age or younger if:

  • The perpetrator is at least 12 years old
  • There is at least a four-year age difference between the victim and the perpetrator
  • The victim is 15 years old or younger
  • A sexual act other than vaginal intercourse occurred between the perpetrator and minor
  • The perpetrator and the victim were not legally married to one another at the time that the crime was committed

Can I Be Charged with This Crime If the Alleged Victim Consented to the Sexual Act?

Yes. The age of consent is 16 years old in North Carolina. Anyone under the age of consent cannot legally give consent to engage in any type of sexual act with an adult. It does not matter if the minor pretended to be older or told the adult they were of consenting age.

What Is the Punishment for This Criminal Offense?

The punishment that a person will face for this crime depends on the age gap between them and their victim. If the person is between four to six years older than the minor, then the crime is a Class C felony. For a firs conviction of a Class C felony, they will receive a punishment of 58 to 73 months in prison. However, if the victim is 6 or more years younger than the perpetrator, then the perpetrator is guilty of a Class B1 felony. In North Carolina, a Class B1 felony first-time conviction carries a prison sentence of 192 to 240 months.

Should I Contact a Lawyer about My Case?

If you are accused or charged with committing any type of sexual offense, contact a North Carolina criminal lawyer immediately. They can explain your rights to you and help you in putting together a defense strategy for your case.