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In the development of different relationships, there are many ways in which you may misunderstand someone else, or they might misunderstand you. There are too many times you can act in a way you normally wouldn’t, or times when you or another person may later regret your choices. At Randall & Stump, PLLC, we have seen many individuals face a sexual battery charge because of misunderstandings and/or situations involving alcohol and recreational drug use.

If you are accused of non-consensual sexual contact with another person, you need to call a Charlotte sex crimes lawyer right away. At Randall & Stump, PLLC, we will work hard to defend you and achieve the best possible outcome in your case. Contact us today at (980) 237-4579 to schedule a free and confidential consultation of your case.

North Carolina Sexual Battery Law

Under North Carolina General Statutes (NCGS) § 14-27.33, you can be charged with sexual battery if you, for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse, make sexual contact with another person:

  • Through the use of force and against the will of the other person
  • Who has a mental disability, or who is mentally incapacitated or physically helpless (and you know or should reasonably know about the physical or mental disability)

Sexual battery is charged as a class A1 misdemeanor.

The Elements of a Sexual Battery Charge

In order for you to be convicted of misdemeanor sexual battery, a prosecutor has to prove several elements beyond a reasonable doubt. First, they must prove you engaged in sexual contact with another person. Under NCGS § 14-27.20(5), sexual contact includes:

  • Touching the sexual organ, groin, buttocks, anus, or breast of another person
  • Touching another person with your own sexual organ, groin, buttocks, anus, or breast
  • Ejaculating, emitting, or placing semen, urine, or feces upon another person

Second, once a prosecutor has established that this type of contact took place between you and another person, they must also demonstrate that the contact was for a specific purpose: sexual arousal, gratification, or abuse. The prosecutor may allege your actions were intended for your own arousal or gratification, or the other person’s. Keep in mind, sexual abuse can be performed for many reasons outside of arousal or gratification. It can simply be a form of violence toward another person.

Third, the prosecutor must prove that you performed the sexual contact without the person’s consent and through the use of force, or that you performed the conduct on someone you know or should have known suffered from a mental disability, was mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless at the time.

Penalties for Sexual Battery

For a Class A1 misdemeanor, the highest misdemeanor offense, the potential sentence includes one – 150 days in jail, fines, and collateral consequences that have far-reaching effects on every aspect of your life.

Sex Offender Registration

It also is important to know that sexual battery constitutes a sexually violent offense under North Carolina law. If you are convicted, you must register as a sex offender. Your name, picture, address, conviction information, and other personal facts will be public on the state’s sex offender registry for anyone to see. At a minimum, you will be required to register for 30 years, and you will not have the chance to ask for your name to be removed from the registry for at least 10 years. For at least a decade and possibly more, you will face the stigma of being a convicted sex offender. This can hold you back in your education, career, and personal life. Depending on a number of other factors in the case, you may be subject to lifetime satellite-based monitoring, which you never have the option to petition off of.

Defending Against Sexual Battery

If you are facing charges of sexual battery, your defense may focus on proving the sexual activity or contact never occurred. Your attorney may present evidence that there was a mistake of identity and you are not the culprit, or that the alleged victim is lying altogether.

However, the third element of a sexual battery charge is often the most contested. It is up to the prosecutor to establish one of these facts beyond a reasonable doubt. However, this is often where your defense will focus.

You may argue that the other person explicitly or impliedly agreed to the sexual contact. You may put forth evidence that you did not use force to perform any of the sexual contact. If you believe the other person knowingly participated in the sexual contact, talk with your Charlotte sex crimes attorney about North Carolina’s consent law. Previous court cases that centered on the topic of consent may offer insight into how you can prove that the other person agreed to the contact.

Or, if it comes to light that the other person is mentally disabled, was mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless at the time, your sexual battery defense attorney may seek to prove you were unaware of that fact and could not reasonably be expected to have known.