In addition to heavy penalties, any crime involving sex carries a deep stigma. This stigma can be hard to escape. North Carolina maintains a public database of people who have been convicted of sex offenses called the North Carolina Sex Offender Registry. If pleading or found guilty, your picture and information will be placed on the internet for all to see and could quite possibly haunt you for the rest of your life.
Raleigh Sex-Offense Lawyer
District attorneys aggressively prosecute sex crimes. If you face charges, having the services of an experienced, aggressive Wake County criminal defense attorney will be critical. At the Coolidge Law Firm, we understand every nuance of sex crimes and we take the time to focus on every detail of your case. We recognize the bias that society has for people accused of sex crimes.
We will start by building a strong relationship with you. We may be the only people that believe your side of the story. We will painstakingly review every aspect of the prosecutor’s case and challenge them to prove every detail beyond a reasonable doubt. If you are being investigated or already arrested for a sex crime, contact us immediately before answering any questions. We will build a defense strategy for your case to seek the best possible result. Contact a skilled Raleigh sex-offense lawyer today by calling (919) 239-8448 to set up a free consultation.
We represent clients both in state and federal court in Wake County, including Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Morrisville, Garner, Fuquay-Varina, Wake Forest, Apex, Wendell, Zebulon, and Knightdale.
Sex Crime Information Center
- Rape, Sexual Offense, and Sexual Battery
- Indecent Acts
- Federal and State Child Pornography Charges
- Sex Offender Registration
Chapter 14, Article 7A of the North Carolina General Statutes defines many of the most recognizable sex offenses. These offenses include two degrees of rape, two degrees of a felony called sexual offense, and a misdemeanor called sexual battery.
The offenses involve sexual acts and sexual contact without consent. They differ on the type of contact, whether force was used, the seriousness of the alleged force and whether injury resulted, whether there was more than one defendant, and the ability of the defendant to give consent.
First-Degree Rape and Other Class B1 Felonies
If the victim was younger than 13 and the defendant was at least 12 years old and is at least four years older than the victim, then the victim cannot consent under the law. Vaginal intercourse in this circumstance is always considered first-degree rape. Any other sexual act, defined as anal sex, oral sex, analingus or penetration of the anus or genitals by an object for nonmedical purposes, under these circumstances constitutes a first-degree sexual offense.
If the victim was younger than 13 and the suspect was 18 or older, prosecutors may pursue a separate charge under N.C.G.S. § 14-27.2A, “Rape of a child; adult offender.”
First-degree rape, first-degree sexual offense, and rape of a child are Class B1 felonies. Only first-degree murder is a more serious charge. Rape of a child carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 300 months in prison with a lifetime sentence of satellite-based monitoring. It carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Statutory rape means vaginal intercourse or a sexual act with a person 13 to 15 years old. If the defendant is six years or more older, the law classifies the crime as a Class B1 felony. If the defendant is between four and six years older, the law classifies the crime as a Class C felony.
Additionally, N.C.G.S. § 14-27.2 defines first-degree rape as vaginal intercourse by force and against the will of the victim in which the accused:
- Used or displayed a dangerous or deadly weapon or an object the victim reasonably believed was one;
- Inflicted serious personal injury; or
- Committed the rape aided and abetted by one or more other people. (This may apply to cases involving gang rape.)
N.C.G.S. § 14-27.4 defines a first-degree sexual offense as a sexual act that meets the above criteria.
All people convicted of sex offenses involving minors, including statutory rape, must register as a sex offender.
Second-Degree Rape or Sexual Offense
Second-degree rape and second-degree sexual offense are Class C felonies. A person may face these charges if the vaginal intercourse or sexual act was performed by force and against the will of the victim or the victim was mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless and the accused knew or should have known that fact.
Sexual battery means the accused, for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification, or abuse, engaged in sexual contact by force or against the will of the victim or the victim was mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless. The law defines sexual contact as:
- The accused touching the victim’s sexual organs, anus, breast, groin, or buttocks;
- The accused using his or her sexual organs, anus, breast, groin, or buttocks to touch the victim; or
- The accused ejaculating, emitting, or placing semen, urine, or feces on the victim.
Sexual battery is a Class A1 misdemeanor. Convictions of sexual battery under certain circumstances result in mandatory sex offender registration.
Chapter 14, Article 26 of the North Carolina General Statutes contains multiple offenses against public morals and decency that may be considered sex offenses.
Taking Indecent Liberties With Children
This offense, defined in N.C.G.S. § 14-202.1, involves acting in a manner deemed immoral, improper, or indecent or committing a lewd and lascivious act with a child for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire if the defendant is 16 or older and is five years older or more than the child. For instance, if the victim is 12 and the suspect is 17, the suspect may be charged with this offense.
Taking indecent liberties with children is a Class F felony.
Willfully exposing private parts in the presence of another is a Class 2 misdemeanor under section 14-190.9 of the North Carolina General Statutes. However, if accused of exposing oneself to gratify sexual desires in the presence of a person younger than 16, charges rise to a Class H felony.
Under section 14-202 of the North Carolina General Statues, a person commits the crime of secretly peeping if the person secretly looks into a room, including a bedroom, bathroom, or shower that is occupied by another or surreptitiously peeps under or through another person’s clothing. A first offense is a Class 1 misdemeanor unless the accused possessed a photographic device, which is a Class A 1 misdemeanor, or took photos or video, which is a Class I felony.
A second or subsequent offense elevates the offense to a Class A1 misdemeanor, a Class I felony, or a Class H felony.
Possessing, recording, producing, transporting, or selling any material featuring minors engaged in sexual activity is a crime. This includes live performances, but photographs and videotapes are more common.
North Carolina defines three degrees of sexual exploitation of a minor:
- First degree sexual exploitation of a minor defined as producing, filming, or recording child pornography for financial gain or employing a minor or allowing a minor in the defendant’s custody to participate in child pornography and classified as a Class C felony.
- Second degree sexual exploitation involves recording, photographing, filming, developing, duplicating, distributing, transporting, selling, purchasing, or receiving child pornography and is a Class E felony.
- Third degree sexual exploitation of a minor defined under North Carolina law as the possession of material depicting a minor engaged in sexual activity and classified as a Class H felony.
The federal government also prohibits the possession, creation, and transmittal of child pornography. Federal charges can include mandatory minimum sentences. The federal sentencing guidelines carry lengthy prison terms for these charges. You need an attorney to represent you immediately. Be very careful because even though you may face state charges first, the feds may decide to indict you in the federal system. An experienced federal defense attorney can sometimes persuade the federal government to leave your case in state court or negotiate a plea before they ever indict you. This can save you years of prison. I
Facing child pornography charges or currently under investigation by the state of federal government. Call our experienced sexual crimes defense attorneys today. At Coolidge Law Firm, we understand the importance of time; the earlier you contact us, the better the chances of us being able to prevent federal involvement, minimize the impact of these charges in your life, or even prevent formal charges all together.
People who have been convicted of certain offenses must register as a sex offender under North Carolina law. These offenses include most of the ones discussed on this page. If you move from another state into the Raleigh area and have a past conviction in your former state, you may also be required to register.
The state maintains a database of registered sex offenders, which is available to anyone with Internet access. On the database, people can search by name, address, or longitude and latitude to find registered offenders.
People required to register as a sex offender also face certain restrictions relating to residency and what kind of jobs they make take.
If 10 years have passed since your registration, you may petition the court to remove the requirement to register. We can help you with that procedure. But remember, you only get one chance per year to request removal. Do not attempt to handle this delicate procedure on your own. Sex crimes defense lawyer David Coolidge has helped remove numerous registered sex offenders from the North Carolina sex offender registry.
Finding the Best Wake County Attorney for a Sex Crime Charge
The consequences of a sex crime conviction can be devastating. Do not hesitate to act. A Raleigh sex-offense lawyer from the Coolidge Law Firm has the skills to fight for the best possible result for you. If you face charges of a sexually motivated offense, call us today at (919) 239-8448. We represent clients in state and federal court in Wake County, including Raleigh, Cary, Morrisville, Apex, Holly Springs, Garner, Wendell, Wake Forest, Rolesville, and Knightdale.