If you’re facing sex crime charges, or think that you could be facing charges, you’re likely concerned about your future and have many questions running through your mind.
We’ve put together a guide covering some of the most common questions we hear from our clients facing sex crime charges.
Do I Need an Attorney to Fight North Carolina Sex Charges?
Answer: We can’t remember when a client didn’t benefit from professional legal counsel on a sex crime charge in North Carolina.
If you’ve been charged with a sex crime, we advise that you seek legal counsel as soon as possible to protect your reputation and future. In the meantime, learn more here.
Do I Have to Register as a Sex Offender in North Carolina?
Answer: That depends on the charge you are faced with and whether you are convicted. One of the most devastating consequences of a sex crime conviction is the possible requirement to register as a sex offender, which is humiliating, damaging to your reputation, and compromises your future.
The following crimes will land you on the North Carolina sex offender registry:
- First-degree rape
- Second-degree rape
- First and second-degree sexual offenses (usually sex acts committed without consent and the use of force)
- Sexual battery
- Sexual servitude
- Sexual offenses committed by an adult against a child
- Promoting, patronizing, or otherwise pandering prostitution of a minor
- Indecent exposure under certain circumstances
The following sex crimes do not require sex offender registration:
- Adult prostitution
- Child abuse
- Contributing to the delinquency of a minor
- Indecent liberties against a child committed by a juvenile offender
- Crimes against nature
If you have any questions at all about whether you need to maintain registration on the NC sex offender registry reach out to an experienced North Carolina criminal defense attorney who can review your case and advise.
Can My NC Teen Be Charged with a Crime for Sexting with Another Teen?
Answer: Sexting is increasingly popular in all age groups. The act refers to sending sexually explicit images over text messaging or mobile apps. Unfortunately, explicit images of a minor child are considered to be child pornography, regardless of the context under which they are sent or who is doing the sending.
In North Carolina, even sexts sent between two consenting minors can still be considered child pornography, which is a Class H felony with required sex offender registration.
If I Never Left North Carolina, Why Am I Being Charged with a Federal Sex Crime?
Answer: Most sex crimes are prosecuted by North Carolina state courts. However, those that cross state lines – even over the internet – can be prosecuted federally.
A common example of such offenses is child pornography, which is frequently distributed over the internet and across state lines. Another one is child luring, also frequently committed using the internet.
(When sex trafficking offenses involve the transport of victims over state or international borders, they are usually tried in federal courts, too.)
What’s the Difference Between North Carolina State Court and Federal Court?
Answer: Federal prosecution is quite serious. Federal prosecutors are likely to seek a longer sentence, and federal inmates are ineligible for parole. That means, that if convicted, you will spend the entirety of your sentence behind bars, possibly in a sex offender treatment program.
How Can I Defend Myself against NC Sex Crime Charges?
Answer: Fortunately, a sex crime charge does not equate to a conviction, and there are many potential defense strategies that can be used to fight back and beat or reduce the charges against you.
Common sex crime defenses include:
- Actual innocence: The defendant did not actually commit the crime, which is usually supported by an alibi proving that the defendant was elsewhere at the time of the alleged offense.
- Consent: The alleged victim consented to the sex acts in question at the time of the alleged offense.
- Witness credibility: Sex crimes are often based heavily on witness testimony. Your attorney can call the credibility of any witnesses under question.
- Challenging forensic evidence: In some cases, it is possible to hire your own experts to cast doubt on the validity of any forensic evidence against you.
However you fight back, act fast. The earlier you start working with an experienced North Carolina criminal lawyer, the more likely you are to receive the best possible outcome.