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If you are being accused of committing a sex offense involving rape, you need to contact a rape defense lawyer immediately. Few criminal allegations need to be addressed as swiftly and aggressively as those involving rape, statutory rape, sexual battery, child sex offense, and child pornography. If you are convicted of a sexual offense, you face harsh consequences, including decades or life in prison and sex offender registration, which can lead to a lifetime of stigma.

The best way to defend yourself against a sex offense conviction and the penalties is to work with a Charlotte sex crime lawyer. To schedule a free and confidential consultation of your case, contact Randall & Stump, PLLC at (980) 237-4579.

North Carolina Rape Laws

If you have been charged with rape in or around Charlotte, North Carolina, you should speak with a rape defense attorney about the law that applies to your case. North Carolina has several statutes that you can be charged under, including:

First-Degree Forcible Rape (North Carolina General Statutes (NCGS § 14-27.21)

You can be charged with first-degree forcible rape if you engage in vaginal intercourse with another person by force and against the will of the victim, and you use, threaten to use, or display a dangerous or deadly weapon; inflict serious personal injury upon the victim or another person; or you are aided and abetted by one or more persons. The charge of first-degree forcible rape is a class B1 felony.

Second-Degree Forcible Rape (NCGS § 14-27.22)

If a prosecutor does not have evidence for each element of first-degree rape, then you may be charged with second-degree rape. This law states you can face a second-degree rape charge if you engage in vaginal intercourse with another person by force and against the will of another party, or the victim has a mental disability, is mentally incapacitated or physically helpless, and you knew or should have reasonably known this. The charge of second-degree forcible rape is a class C felony.

Other Sexual Assault Offenses

First and second-degree forcible rape charges are based on non-consensual vaginal intercourse. Many other rape charges involve different types of sexual acts. You can also be charged with committing first-degree forcible sexual offense (NCGS § 14-27.26), second-degree forcible sexual offense (NCGS § 14-27.27), or sexual battery (NCGS § 14-27.33), depending on the allegations made by the victim in your case.

If you are accused of one of these sex offenses in Charlotte, NC, contact Randall & Stump, PLLC to speak with a rape defense attorney. While sexual battery charge may be the only sex crime not punished as a felony, it still needs to be taken very seriously due to the collateral consequences of a conviction.

Forcible Rape Differs From Statutory Rape

For certain sex offenses, whether the sexual activity was consensual or not is not an element of the crime. If you are accused of committing a sex crime against a minor, which is based on age alone, call a rape defense lawyer at Randall & Stump, PLLC right away.

If the alleged victim was a minor, you could be charged with:

  • Statutory rape of a child by an adult (NCGS § 14-27.23)
  • First-degree statutory rape (NCGS § 14-27.24)
  • Statutory rape of a person 15 years of age or younger (NCGS § 14-27.25)
  • Statutory sexual offense with a child by an adult (NCGS § 14-27.28)
  • First-degree statutory sexual offense (NCGS § 14-27.29)
  • Statutory sexual offense with a person 15 years of age or younger (NCGS § 14-27.30)

These offenses focus on the fact that the alleged victim is a minor, and therefore, cannot legally consent to sexual intercourse or other sexual activity. Under North Carolina’s consent law, a person must be at least 16-years-old to agree to sex. It is also important to understand that mistake of age is not a defense to statutory rape or statutory sex offense charges.

Rape Penalties in NC

North Carolina has a complicated sentencing process. If you are convicted of a felony, then the judge will base your sentence of North Carolina’s Felony Punishment Chart. If you are convicted of first-degree forcible rape – a class B1 felony – you face a prison sentence of 144 up to life in prison without parole. For second-degree forcible rape – a class C felony – you can be sentenced to a prison term of 44 to 182 months.

In addition to a term of imprisonment for a sex crime, your name and information will be placed on North Carolina’s sex offender registry, which is a harsh and punitive penalty. Your name, picture, address, and conviction information are available to the public the entire time you are required to register. Depending on a number of factors in your case, you may be required to register for lifetime satellite-based monitoring or for at least 30 years, which means you may face a lifetime of stigma. Sex offender registration can make a number of things in life difficult, such as finding a place to live and obtaining and keeping employment.

What to Do During a Rape Investigation

If you are facing allegations of rape, or any sex crime, the best thing you can do for yourself is invoke your right to remain silent when questioned by the police and contact a rape defense lawyer. You should never speak to law enforcement without a lawyer present. They will do everything they can within the law to get you to confess to a crime or inappropriate behavior. They will try and get you to provide inconsistent answers that can be used to make you look guilty.

If you are arrested due to allegations of committing a sex crime, tell the police politely but clearly that you are invoking your right to remain silent, and that you will not answer questions without an attorney present. Following this, contact an experienced rape defense lawyer immediately.