Charges of Rape, Statutory Rape, Date Rape

Sexual offenses involving rape are taken very seriously all over the country, and North Carolina is no exception. In North Carolina, most sex crimes are classified as serious felonies.  If you being charged with or investigated for a sex crime involving rape, it is critical that you immediately contact an attorney to represent your interest. Being accused of a sexual offense can not only humiliate you, but it can quickly tarnish your reputation in the community and cause immense stress to your well-being.  

What are Sexual Offenses? 

Sex crimes can be based on non-consensual acts or consensual acts and certain offenses are classified as crimes based solely on the age, mental or physical state of the victim. Being convicted of a sex crime can result in severe punishments of imprisonment, probation, large fines, court-mandated rehabilitative services and registration on a sex offender lists. There are five general categories of sexual offenses involving rape that you can be charged with depending on the circumstances. These include:

  • First-Degree Forcible Rape

First-degree forcible rape occurs when a person engages in vaginal intercourse with another person by force and against the will of the other person, and does any of the following: (1) uses, threatens to use or displays a dangerous weapon; (2) inflicts serious personal injury upon the victim or another person; or (3) the person commits the offense is aided and abetted by one or more persons. First-degree forcible rape is a Class B1 Felony.

  • Second-Degree Forcible Rape 

Second-degree forcible rape Occurs when a person engages in vaginal intercourse with another person either: (1) by force and against the will of the other person; or (2) against a person who has a mental disability or who is mentally incapacitated or physically helpless, and the person performing the act knows or should know the alleged victim has a mental disability or is mentally incapacitated or physically helpless. Second-degree forcible rape is a Class C Felony.

SecondDegree Forcible Rape includes Date Rape. Date Rape can occur because the consent of the victim is in question due to the use of impairing substances. This includes substances commonly referred to as “date rape drugs,” like rohypnol, GHB, or Ketamine, as well as other types of drugs or alcohol that impair someone’s ability to knowingly consent.  

  • Statutory Rape of a Child by an Adult

A person commits statutory rape of a child by an adult if the person is at least 18 years of age and engages in vaginal intercourse with a victim who is a child under the age of 13 years. In North Carolina a minor lacks the ability to consent to any sexual act, and not being aware of the minor’s age is not a defense. Statutory Rape of a Child by an Adult is a Class B1 Felony.

  • First Degree Statutory Rape

A person commits this offense if the person engages in vaginal intercourse with a victim who is a child under the age of 13 years and the defendant is at least 12 years old and is at least four years older than the victim. This is a Class B1 Felony.

  1. Statutory Rape of a Person who is 15 Years of Age or Younger

There are two types of statutory rape of a person who is 15 years of age or younger. The first type occurs when a defendant engages in vaginal intercourse with another person who is 15 years or age or younger and the defendant is at least 12 years old and at least six years older than the victim, unless the defendant is lawfully married to the victim. This is a Class B1 Felony. The second type occurs when a defendant engages in vaginal intercourse with another person who is 15 years of age or younger and the defendant is at least 12 years old and more than four years but less than six years older than the victim, unless the defendant is lawfully married to the victim. This is a Class C Felony.

What to do if you are charged with a Sex Crime involving Rape 

If you are faced with any sex crime, it is imperative that you immediately contact an attorney to evaluate your case and begin crafting a defense. If you are under investigation, it is never too soon to contact an attorney, especially before speaking with investigators. Attempting to explain the situation to law enforcement without the guidance of an attorney can be a costly mistake. A knowledgeable attorney understands the sensitive nature of these cases and can build a defense that challenges the evidence against you. Defenses may include:  

  • False allegations and testimony from witnesses and/or victims 
  • Mistaken identity of a suspect
  • Challenges to the chain of custody for any evidence gathered, such as DNA evidence 
  • Misleading witnesses 
  • Bias from law enforcement or prosecutors based on sexual orientation, gender, race or social status   

The attorneys at DeMent Askew Johnson & Marshall are accomplished criminal defense attorneys who understand the severity and stigma of being accused of sexual offenses. Our team of criminal attorneys is committed to swiftly and aggressively examining every aspect of the crime you have been accused of to build the best possible defense. Our attorneys are skilled negotiators who have extensive experience in dealing with the prosecution; however, first and foremost we are dedicated trial lawyers who will fight to protect your reputation in a courtroom when necessary. If you are faced with a sex crime in or around Wake and Carteret County, contact us today for a consultation at 919-833-5555.

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