If you want to easily find housing, a job, or receive federal assistance, you need to stay off the North Carolina sex offender registry.
The sex offender registry is a public list that will follow you and for the rest of your life. It includes the names, addresses, and criminal history of anyone who has been convicted of a sex crime – especially those who have been involved with minors.
But what exactly are sex crimes? Some of what are state considers a sex crime is probably obvious – but not everything.
Below we’re going to review the different types of sex crimes in North Carolina and what can be used as a possible defense strategy if you have been charged.
If you attempt to engage in sexual contact with another person against their will or by use of force, you can be charged with sexual battery. You can also be charged by engaging in sexual contact with someone who is mentally handicapped or considered physically helpless.
A sexual battery conviction is considered an A1 misdemeanor. You could face up to one year in jail.
Second Degree Rape/Sexual Offense
If sexual battery involves vaginal intercourse, it is considered rape. All other forms of unwanted penetration are considered “sexual offenses.”
At the least violent level and without any aggravating factors, rape is charged as second degree rape, also referred to as second degree sexual offense.
Second-degree rape is classified as a Class C felony. You could face 58-73 months in prison.
First Degree Rape/Sexual Offense
If you engage in vaginal intercourse by the threat of a deadly weapon, or you cause serious bodily harm, you can be charged with first-degree rape. Statutory rape is also charged as first degree rape. This offense occurs when the victim is 13, 14, or 15 and they are raped by someone at least four years older. These are the most serious of North Carolina’s sex crimes.
First-degree rape is classified as a B1 felony. You could face 192-240 months in prison.
Images or video that display minors engaged in sexual acts are considered child pornography. Possession, distribution, and production of child pornography are all considered felonies. If the pornography in question features violence or abuse, sentences can be harsher. The following sentences are given to first-time offenders. Repeat offenders will also receive harsher sentences.
- Third Degree: Possession or seeking access to child pornography can be charged with third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor. This is a Class H felony; you could face 4-8 months in prison.
- Second Degree: Copying or distributing child pornography is considered second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor. This is a Class E felony; you could face 15-31 months in prison.
- First Degree: Production of child pornography is considered first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor. This also includes persuading, coercing, or allowing a child to be filmed or photographed for child pornography. This is a Class C felony; you could face 44-92 months in jail.
Kidnapping of a minor in any circumstance is considered a sex crime and will require the defendant to register on the sex offender registry (if convicted). If the victim is abducted to be used as ransom, or if the defendant intends to inflict bodily harm, rape, or force the minor into sex work, the defendant is guilty of kidnapping.
- Second Degree: If a victim was returned safely and did not suffer any injury or sexual assault, you may be charged with second degree kidnapping. This is a Class E felony; you could face 15-31 months in jail.
- First Degree: If the victim was not returned safely, or suffered violence and/or sexual assault, you may be charged with first degree kidnapping. This is a Class C felony; you could face 44-92 months in jail.
There are ways to defend against sex crime charges. In the case of sexual battery, assault, or kidnapping, you must prove your innocence, or show that the act was consensual. Mental illness, insanity, or in rare cases, intoxication, may also help your defense.
In the case of sexual exploitation of a minor, not knowing the age of the minors involved is not a defense.
If you have been charged with a sex crime, you want to use an aggressive defense to keep you out of jail and off of the state’s sex offender registry. For a free consultation, contact a North Carolina sex crimes lawyer immediately.
About the Author:
Attorney Mike Schlosser represents victims of personal injury, those charged with a crime, as well as those facing traffic charges. A former Guilford County, North Carolina District Attorney, Schlosser has been in private practice at the Law Firm of Schlosser & Pritchett since 1983 and has been a member of the North Carolina State Bar since 1973.