Few criminal accusations carry as much weight in North Carolina as sex offenses. The terms of imprisonment that may result are severe. But the sentence of a person convicted of a sex offense does not end when he or she leaves the prison cell. That person's punishment includes lengthy, possibly lifelong, periods of public shaming that will badly damage his or her future.
Sex offenses can often arise from misunderstanding or allegations that are exaggerated and even false. For a vigorous defense, it's of immense value to have someone on your side who will fight for case dismissal and fight to show the flaws in the prosecution's argument.
If you are accused of a sex offense Pollenz Law will stand by you during this difficult time. We will challenge the prosecution's evidence, seeking to have your charges reduced or dismissed. We will work to expose the flaws in the case against you, showing the reasonable doubt.
Rape: Rape involves the offender forcing another person to have vaginal intercourse against her or his will. There are two "degrees" of rape. First degree rape is when the alleged offense involved a dangerous or deadly weapon, if the victim or another person suffered a serious injury, or if another person aided and abetted the rape. It is also first degree rape if the defendant is 12 or older and is four or more years older than the victim, if the victim is younger than 13, and if the allegation does not meet the circumstances of "statutory rape" below. First degree rape is a Class B1 felony.
Any "sexual act," defined as penetration, which meets the same criteria as first degree rape but is not vaginal intercourse, such as forced anal or oral sex, is called a first degree sexual offense, which carries the same penalties as first degree rape.
If the rape does not qualify as first degree rape, or if the person could not legally give consent because she or he was mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless, meaning she or he could not physically give consent, the charge is second-degree rape, which is a Class C felony.
If a sexual act other than vaginal intercourse occurs under the same circumstances, it is a second degree sexual offense, which carries the same penalties as second degree rape.
Statutory Rape: If the alleged victim was younger than 13, then she or he cannot legally give consent to sex. If the suspect is 18 or older, then any vaginal intercourse is, by law, rape. Many refer to this charge as "statutory rape," although the law refers to it as "rape of a child" or "sexual offense with a child."
It is a Class B1 felony, but carries additional punishments. The minimum sentence is 300 months, and after being released, a person convicted is monitored via satellite for the rest of his or her life. Aggravating factors, like brutality, can elevate the charge to life imprisonment without parole.
Under North Carolina law, "statutory rape" refers to vaginal intercourse or a sexual act involving penetration with a person who is age 13 to 15 by a defendant who is six years or more older, which is a Class B1 felony, or four to six years older, which is a Class C felony.
Sexual Battery: If there is unconsented sexual contact, such as the touching of sexual organs, the anus, breast, groin or buttocks, without penetration being alleged, the accused may face sexual battery charges. Under sexual battery charges, the defendant must have performed the acts for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification or abuse. It is a Class A1 misdemeanor.
Prostitution: The act of taking compensation for sexual acts, requesting compensation for sexual acts, paying compensation for sexual acts or offering compensation for sexual acts is called prostitution, and it is illegal in North Carolina. If accused of prostitution, you will face a Class 1 misdemeanor charge.
However, if the person being solicited is a minor, then the charge becomes much more serious. Participating in prostitution of a minor is a Class F felony.
Sexual Exploitation of a Minor: These charges usually pertain to child pornography. If you are accused of using a child engaged in sexual activity for a live performance, permitting a child to participate in such a performance or recording, filming or photographing sexual activity of a child for sale, it is a Class C felony. Recording, filming or photographing a representation of a minor engaged in sexual activity that is not for sale, or distributing or soliciting such material is a Class E felony. Possessing such material is a Class H felony.
Indecent Exposure: It is a Class 2 misdemeanor to expose private parts in public. If the exposure was done in the presence of a person younger than 16 for the purpose of sexual gratification, the offense is a Class H felony.
Punishment for North Carolina Sex Offenses
North Carolina uses a structured sentencing system. If you have any prior convictions, your potential sentences goes up. The following are the ranges for a first offense:
- Class B1 felony: 192-240 months
- Class C felony: 58-73 months
- Class F felony: 13-16 months
- Class H felony: 5-6 months
- Class A1 misdemeanor: 1-60 days
- Class 1 misdemeanor: 1-45 days
- Class 2 misdemeanor: 1-30 days
Registering as a Sex Offender in North Carolina
Sexual offenses carry more penalties than jail time and possible fines. If convicted of a sexual offense, not including soliciting or engaging in prostitution if only adults were involved, you are required to register as a sex offender. When you register, you are entered into a public database.
The public database will list your name, physical description, address, your offense, when the offense occurred, the victim's age and your sentence, and is accompanied by three photos of you. It is accessible to anyone with the internet. The length of your registration depends on your offense, but for many offenses, you remained registered for life.
Being in the public database could severely impact your opportunities for jobs, housing and loans. It can also severely impact your relationships with family, friends and neighbors.
Other restrictions exist. For instance, you will not be able to live within 1,000 feet of a school or child care center. You will not be able to receive or renew a commercial driver's license. The consequences of a conviction are drastic. It is in your best interests to hire a criminal defense lawyer if accused of a sex offense.
Contact Pollenz Law
If you've been accused of a sex crime, your future is at stake. You could face years behind bars, only to be released to public ridicule and ostracism. It is vital that you retain the immediate representation of Pollenz Law. We will fight for your rights. We will look for flaws and weaknesses in the case against you. We will seek to get your charges reduced or dismissed, and we will stand by you throughout the proceedings. The right attorney may make all the difference in the outcome of your case. Make the smart choice – contact Pollenz Law today.