In North Carolina, taking indecent liberties with a minor is a criminal act. If you get charged with this or any other sex crime, your best move is to seek the help of an experienced attorney to help defend you.
Sex crimes in the state, particularly those involving minors, can ruin your reputation and be something you spend the rest of your life paying for. Not only do you face imprisonment, fines, and probation, but also registration as a sex offender, something that can impact all aspects of your life for many years after you’re done your time or paid your fines.
Here’s what you need to know about taking indecent liberties with a child in North Carolina and the move you need to make if charged with a serious crime like this.
Indecent Liberties with a Minor in North Carolina
There are three ways a person can take indecent liberties with a minor.
According to NC law, an adult who takes indecent liberties with a child can get charged, as can a child who takes indecent liberties with another child. Additionally, teachers who take indecent liberties with students can face this charge.
The elements of this crime include:
- Attempting to take or taking willfully immoral or indecent actions with a child under 16 to gratify yourself sexually or arouse you
- Attempting to commit or willfully committing a lewd act on the body of a child under the age of 16
To be charged with this Class F felony, the perpetrator must be at least 18 years old and at least five years older than the victim. Think the wording of the law is somewhat vague? You’re not alone. Lawmakers purposefully used vague language to criminalize a wider range of behaviors.
However, state courts have ruled that the act must serve an offensive sexual desire. In fact, a key element of this crime is the intention of the accused to take action against the child that demonstrates sexual desire. This includes things such as touching the genitals of a child or touching breasts.
Does This Crime Have to Include Touching?
One important point about this crime is that it doesn’t require a person to touch a child. People have gotten convicted of this crime for masturbating in front of a child or even simply having conversations with children that are sexually graphic. Bottom line? Touching does not have to be part of the equation.
Indecent Liberties Between Children in North Carolina
If the defendant is also a child, the case becomes more complicated. If the perpetrator is under age 16 when the act occurs, they can get charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. However, those over 16 during the act can receive the same Class F felony as adults.
Indecent Liberties with a Student
For teachers and other educational professionals charged with this crime, it’s considered a Class 1 felony. Educators include administrators, coaches, teachers, and any school employee with authority over the victims.
Penalties for Indecent Liberties in North Carolina
If you are convicted of a Class F felony for taking indecent liberties with a minor in North Carolina, you face up to 59 months in prison. If you get convicted of a Class 1 felony, you can serve up to two years behind bars.
Time in prison is only one aspect of the penalties for this crime. You can also receive house arrest for GPS location monitoring, be fined, and have to register as a sex offender once released from prison or probation.
Registration as a sex offender means you must give all identifying information to local law enforcement so they can add it to a state-wide database. This database is open to the public, so anyone can find you on it – including prospective employers and landlords.
Being a registered sex offender can impact where you live – since you aren’t allowed to live within a certain distance from schools and parks – and can affect employment. You have to register each year, or each time you move, and failure to do so will result in separate criminal charges.
If you’re facing a serious criminal charge such as this in North Carolina, contact an experienced attorney right away.