There are many crimes that may sound similar on their face, but once you dig a little deeper into the law, you see that they are very different. In North Carolina, sexual assault and assault on a female are two of those crimes.
While these crimes may sound alike, the truth is that there are major differences – both in the elements of the crimes and the penalties that can result in being found guilty of them.
Here is what you need to know about the difference between sexual assault and assault on a female in North Carolina and the penalties that can be faced if convicted.
Sexual Assault in North Carolina
There are different classifications of sexual assault laws in North Carolina. In the state, sexual assault is perpetrated when one person subjects another to offensive or unwanted sexual acts. This can include acts ranging from groping someone to forced vaginal penetration.
There are two degrees of rape in the state, which are:
In this degree of rape, there is forced vaginal intercourse without consent and a weapon present.
This degree required forced vaginal intercourse without consent or with a victim known to be physically helpless, mentally disabled, or incapacitated.
The other type of sexual assault in North Carolina is a sexual offense. There are also two degrees. They are:
This degree of sexual offense involves sexual acts that do not involve vaginal intercourse, done without consent and with a weapon in proximity.
This degree involves sexual offenses perpetrated by force and without consent or with a victim known to be physically helpless, mentally disabled, or incapacitated.
All four of these offenses are felonies in North Carolina. First-degree rape and first-degree sexual offenses are Class B1 felonies. They are punishable by a sentence of lifetime incarceration, with a minimum sentence of 12 years. Second-degree rape or second-degree sexual offense is considered a Class C felony, which is punishable by up to 15 years behind bars, with a 44-month minimum sentence.
Assault on a Female in North Carolina
In North Carolina, assault on a female is a very specific crime. It is perpetrated when a male over 18 commits battery, affray, or assault against a female.
Assault is defined as an intentional attempt to hurt another person through the use of violence or threatening another with bodily harm. Battery is when the perpetrator physically contacts another, intentionally touching them or offending them without their consent. Finally, affray is the legal term that describes a fight between two people in a public place that causes others to be fearful.
This crime is a misdemeanor crime, but that doesn’t mean it’s not serious. If a person is charged with this crime, they face the highest level of a misdemeanor in the state, a Class A 1 misdemeanor. That is punishable by up to 150 days in jail, probation, or community service – depending on your previous criminal history.
Sexual Assault and Assault on a Female in North Carolina: What’s the Distinction?
It seems clear that sexual assault and assault on a female are two very different crimes in the state. The main distinctions between them are: that sexual assault or rape involves unwanted sexual contact, whereas assault on a female does not involve any type of sexual contact. Sexual assault is also a felony crime, while assault on a female is considered a misdemeanor crime.
Perhaps one of the biggest differences between the two is that assault on a female requires the victim to be a female, whereas sexual assault charges can have male victims, making an assault on a female something only a male can be charged with. In sexual assault cases, either sex can be the perpetrator.
Contact an Expert Attorney Today
The bottom line is that neither sexual assault nor assault on a female is something someone wants on their criminal record. That’s why, if you’re facing any of these charges, no matter how minor you believe them to be, you need appropriate representation by an attorney familiar with these types of cases.
An experienced attorney can ensure you understand the gravity of the charges against you, how they can impact your future, and keep your rights upheld in the process. So, don’t delay in contacting an attorney when facing these types of criminal charges.