Raleigh Statutory Rape Attorney
Statutory rape is a very serious crime defined by sexual engagement between an adult (someone 18 or older) and a minor (someone 16 or younger). As such, the age of consent in North Carolina is 16 years old, and individuals older than 16 are considered to be legally old enough to consent to participation in sexual activity. Even if the sexual activity was consensual, individuals 15 and younger are not legally able to consent to sexual activity.
It is important to note that statutory rape laws in North Carolina can be somewhat contentious. If you or a loved one was charged with statutory rape, it is critical to call a Raleigh sex crimes attorney as soon as possible. With the help of criminal defense attorney Dewey P. Brinkley, we’ll make sure that your side of the case is heard, and we’ll do everything under North Carolina law to prove your innocence and keep you out of jail. To discuss your case, call our Raleigh law office today at 919-832-0307 for a free, no-obligation consultation.
North Carolina Statutory Rape Laws
The law governing statutory rape in North Carolina is G.S. § 14-27.25 – Statutory rape of a person who is 15 years of age or younger. According to this law, there are two levels of statutory rape, including:
- “A defendant is guilty of a Class B1 felony if the 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 at least six years older than the person, except when the defendant is lawfully married to the person.”
- “Unless the conduct is covered under some other provision of law providing greater punishment, a defendant is guilty of a Class C felony if the 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 but less than six years older than the person, except when the defendant is lawfully married to the person.”
The wording in these statutes can be quite convoluted. Essentially, a person is guilty of the B1 felony if he/she is at least 6 years older than the minor; a person is guilty of the C felony if he/she is between 4 to 6 years older than the minor.
However, what about two minor, yet hormonal teenagers? It’s definitely naive to think that consensual intercourse doesn’t ever occur between two 15-year-olds. What about a 15-year-old and a 14-year-old, or a 16-year-old and a 14-year-old? There is a hugely important clause in North Carolina law called the “Romeo and Juliet clause.” This clause protects lovebirds of comparable ages who partake in physical intimacy. As such, if a 15-year-old and a 19-year-old get together, then that 4-year difference could make the 19-year-old eligible for a statutory rape charge.
Penalties for Statutory Rape
The penalty for a statutory rape charge can result in years behind bars. For instance, if charged with the B1 felony (the defendant is 6 or more years older than the minor), the defendant could be looking at a minimum sentence of 25 years imprisonment. If the victim is 12 and younger, the defendant may be looking at life in prison without parole. If charged with the class C felony (the defendant is between 4 and 6 years older than the minor), the defendant could be looking at 44 to 182 months imprisonment.
Contact the Law Office of Dewey P. Brinkley Today
If you been charged with statutory rape, remember that a criminal defense attorney experienced in sex crimes can help. Statutory rape cases often include a myriad of circumstances, and it takes a skilled defense lawyer to see (and use) some of these circumstances to present a strong defense. At the Law Office of Dewey P. Brinkley, we’ll use the full extent of North Carolina laws to prove your innocence, get the charges dropped, or, in a worst-case scenario, achieve reduced or alternative sentencing.
For a free consultation with criminal defense attorney Dewey Brinkley, call our Raleigh law office today at 919-832-0307.