Sex Crime Attorney in Jacksonville, NC
Sex Crime Defense Attorney Serving Jacksonville, Wilmington, and Surrounding Areas
NC Sex Crime Attorney
No other crime in the criminal justice system carries the stigma of a sex crime accusation, whether it is for rape, sexual assault, prostitution, or any other offense. In addition, sex crimes are often very emotionally charged, and the accused is generally assumed guilty in the court of public opinion before a verdict is even reached. As a result, you’ll need the help of an experienced North Carolina sex crime attorney to make it through these serious charges.
Sex crime charges are typically very difficult to navigate, as the accuser and alleged perpetrator are often the only ones who know what really happened. Unfortunately, there are several people who use these accusations as weapons out of spite, revenge, or to gain leverage. For example, sex crime accusations are often used to gain an advantage in child custody cases or otherwise used as a form of retaliation for something as simple as a hurt ego. These accusers know that once these claims are made, it can be impossible for the defendant to completely restore their reputation.
Regardless of why you were accused of sexual misconduct, you face serious consequences if you are charged with committing a sex crime in North Carolina. To protect your freedom and future, you must craft the strongest possible defense strategy to fight against your charges. A Jacksonville criminal defense attorney like Aden Wilkie can help you determine which strategy is most effective in your case. If you would like to speak with our experienced NC sex crimes attorney about your case, call the Wilkie Law Firm at 910-333-9626 today.
What Constitutes a Sex Crime?
In criminal sexual acts, a person is forced or does not give consent to engage in physical intimacy with another person. This involves penetration, however slight, or other forms of sexual contact, such as groping of a person’s private body parts. Engaging in sexual acts with someone who is unable to consent, like a minor or someone without the physical or mental capacity to consent, is also illegal.
Types of Sex Crimes
North Carolina sex crimes as covered by laws that encompass a wide range of illegal activities. Among these crimes are sexual assault and abuse; child molestation, luring, and pornography; and statutory rape. Below are the different types of sex crimes in North Carolina:
The definition of sexual assault is any sexual action that occurs without all participants’ explicit and uncoerced consent. Every state considers sexual assault to be a crime, and criminal laws prohibit sexual interaction with anyone who is unable to consent for any reason. Mentally disabled people, those under the age of eighteen, and those who are inebriated are all regarded incapable of consenting to sexual activity.
Sexual assault in North Carolina is classified as one of four categories, each of which constitutes a felony:
- First-degree rape – The use or threat of using a deadly weapon, inflicting substantial injury, or enlisting the help of another person to forcefully penetrate a victim’s vaginal cavity without their consent is considered rape in North Carolina.
- Second-degree rape – Forcibly engaging in vaginal intercourse without consent or with a victim who is known to be mentally impaired, incompetent, or physically defenseless.
- First-degree sexual offense – Engaging in a non-consensual sexual act other than vaginal penetration by force, with the use or threat of using a dangerous weapon, by inflicting serious injury, or with the assistance of another person.
- Second-degree sexual offense – Engaging in a non-consensual sexual act other than vaginal penetration with a victim who is known to be intellectually incompetent, incapable, or physically helpless.
If you face charges for any of these offenses, contact a NC sex crime attorney immediately. Your freedom and future are at stake.
Any sexual act with the goal of abusing, humiliating, harassing, and/or degrading another person without their agreement is considered sexual abuse. When a person threatens or makes someone fearful or engages in a sexual act with another person who is physically incapable of saying no to such an act, they commit sexual abuse.
State laws regarding criminal sexual abuse differ depending on whether the victim is an adult or a minor. Adult sexual abuse is often referred to as rape or aggravated sexual assault, whereas child sexual abuse is commonly referred to as child molestation.
If an adult has sex with a child aged 12 or younger, they may be prosecuted for statutory rape. If the victim is at least 12 years old and the perpetrator is four years older than the alleged victim, they may also be charged with statutory rape. If you or a loved one has received this sex crime charge, speak with a Jacksonville statutory rape defense lawyer today.
Under North Carolina law, child molestation and sexual abuse are defined as “taking indecent liberties with a kid.” The accused must be at least 16 years old and a minimum of five years older than the victim. They must willfully commit or attempt to commit any “immoral, improper, or indecent liberties” with the child for arousal or sexual gratification or commit or attempt to commit “lewd or lascivious” acts upon the child. In these instances, the accused may be charged with child molestation.
Producing, transporting, sharing, receiving, or possessing pornographic images of children is against state and federal law in North Carolina. Images or videos depicting someone younger than 18 years old are considered child pornography, also known as sexual exploitation of children.
When someone over 16 uses a computer or electronic device to coerce, order, or command a younger person to meet, they are committing a sex crime. This person has committed the crime of solicitation of a child by computer in violation of North Carolina G.S.14-202.3. If the alleged offender believes the other person is underage, even if this is not the case, a crime is committed.
“Lewd conduct” or “public indecency” may be other terms used to describe indecent exposure. Under North Carolina law, indecent exposure is defined as exposing one’s intimate or “private” parts in a public place in the presence of others, unless such exposure is otherwise permissible (for example, in a locker room). A person’s intimate parts refers to the genitalia and anus rather than their breasts or buttocks. As such, breastfeeding in any public or private setting where a woman is authorized would not be an act of indecent exposure.
Helping someone commit this act is also illegal, as is administering property for the purpose of such an act without a lawful permit from the proper local authority.
If you perform, offer, or otherwise promise to conduct any sexual act for money or other favors, you could be charged with the crime of prostitution. The solicitation of prostitution, which refers to those hiring a prostitute, is also illegal. Both are classified as Class 1 misdemeanors.
Failure to Register
It is a serious crime to fail to register as a sex offender when required by law. In fact, failure to register is classified as a Class F felony in North Carolina.
Any person convicted of a sexual offense is required to put their name on the sex offender registry and can be penalized for a variety of reasons, including:
- Failure to notify the sheriff of a change of address
- Failure to respond to a message demanding confirmation of your address
- Forging a verification notification or providing false information for the purpose of registration
Sex Crimes Defense Strategy
As sex offenses are often the most difficult to dispute, it takes a thorough defense strategy put together by an experienced sex crime lawyer to reach a favorable solution for your case. North Carolina sex crimes attorney Aden Wilkie will examine every piece of evidence the prosecution intends to use against his clients in every case he accepts. With a thorough understanding of each case, he works to achieve the best possible result, whether that means persuading the state to dismiss or reduce the charges against his clients or putting up a strong trial defense.
Some of the possible defenses include providing evidence that someone else committed the crime, claiming the accusation or witness testimony is false, faulty forensic testing, and bias among witnesses, the prosecution, or the police, among others.
In many sex crime trials, it comes down to who has the most credible account of events. As a result, if the state’s charges are found to be unreliable or insufficient, they may be dismissed.
Penalties for Sex Crimes in North Carolina
In North Carolina, sexual assault is a violent offense that carries severe consequences. The type of sexual assault accusations you face, your criminal history, and the strength of your defense determine the potential penalties. However, there are guidelines for average sentence lengths for certain crimes, including:
- First-Degree Rape – sentence ranging from 144 months to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
- Second-Degree Rape – sentence ranging from 44 months to 182 months imprisonment.
- First-Degree Sexual Offense – sentence ranging from 144 months to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
- Second-Degree Sexual Offense – sentence ranging from 44 months to 182 months imprisonment.
- Statutory Rape of a Child by an Adult – sentence ranging from 300 months to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
- First Degree Statutory Rape – sentence ranging from 144 months to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
In addition, a sex crime conviction almost always results in the requirement to register with the national sex offender registry. Being listed in this database may affect your ability to find work, apply for housing, or even travel to some places.
If you face sex crime charges, you are legally presumed innocent by authorities until the state can prove the charges against you, even if the same cannot be said for the general public. Our North Carolina criminal defense law firm at Wilkie Law Firm thoroughly examines any evidence and challenges the charges against you.
Can Sex Crimes be Expunged?
Certain crimes can be expunged from your criminal record in North Carolina. The process of expungement gives you a clean slate because it essentially erases the crime from public record so that no one knows it ever happened. If you meet the following criteria, you may be eligible for a criminal record expungement in North Carolina:
- Were apprehended but not charged
- Appeared in court and were found not guilty
- Your identity was stolen and you were wrongfully accused of the crime
- A judge dismissed your case
- Were convicted of specific misdemeanors
- Were convicted of nonviolent Class H or Class I felonies
Only non-violent offenses are eligible for expungement, meaning if you were convicted of a violent crime in North Carolina, this process is not applicable to you. The same goes for those found guilty of sex-related offenses. Most all sex crimes that require the perpetrator to appear on the sex offender registry are not eligible for expungement.
Call Jacksonville Sex Crimes Defense Attorney Aden Wilkie Today
If you’ve been accused or charged with a sex crime in North Carolina, it is imperative that you retain a qualified sex crimes lawyer as soon as possible. Jacksonville criminal defense attorney Aden Wilkie understands the complexities of criminal law in North Carolina and knows what it takes to successfully defend against sex crimes and other criminal offenses. To schedule a consultation with an experienced NC sex crimes attorney at Wilkie Law Firm, call 910-333-9626 or use the online contact form below.