Determined Raleigh Lawyers Defend Clients in Sexual Offense Cases
Experienced Wake County attorneys are ready to fight your sex-related charge
At Hatch, Little & Bunn, L.L.P., attorneys James Little, Aaron Goforth and Bill Young leverage 40 combined years of experience practicing criminal law to defend clients against sex-related charges, including rape, forcible rape, statutory rape, sexual battery, indecent exposure and indecent liberties with a minor. We can help you investigate the facts of your case and interface with law enforcement and provide you with a rigorous defense no matter the severity of your charges.
Steadfast advocates help those accused of forcible rape
If you are facing a rape charge, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney who has successfully handled these types of cases. North Carolina law categorizes forcible rape as follows:
- First-degree forcible rape — This is defined as engaging in vaginal intercourse by force and against the other person’s will. However, one of three aggravating factors must also apply for you to be charged with this crime: using, threatening to use or displaying a weapon that either is deadly or is perceived by the other person to be deadly; causing the person serious injury; or committing the act with someone else’s assistance. A convicted defendant could face life in prison without parole. If convicted, a defendant could face up to 15 years in prison.
- Second-degree forcible rape — This also is defined as engaging in vaginal intercourse by force and against the other person’s will but without any of the aggravating factors that would make it a first-degree crime.
For both degrees, force and lack of consent are presumed where the defendant knows the victim is mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless.
With such enormous consequences of conviction, having a law firm with the resources to thoroughly examine your case is essential to mounting a strong defense.
Knowledgeable counsel looks into the circumstances of statutory rape charges
Statutory rape is another serious charge that carries lengthy prison sentences. It is defined as engaging in vaginal intercourse with a victim under a certain age by a defendant who is at least 12 years old and at least 4 years older than the victim. As the age range between the perpetrator and the victim increase, so will the level of punishment. In statutory rape cases, it’s important to understand that:
- Proof of force is not required.
- Consent is not a defense.
- Mistake of age is not a defense.
- The age of consent to intercourse is 16.
- Marriage is a defense to statutory rape only.
The criminal defense team of James Little, Aaron Goforth and Bill Young are experienced in this area and can provide valuable guidance for those accused of statutory rape.
Taking on accusations of indecent liberties with a minor
In North Carolina, indecent liberties with a minor applies to acts with a child 15 years of age or younger and is a felony punishable by more than four years in prison. Courts have interpreted the crime to include taking pictures of minors in suggestive poses, exposing a nude body to a child, engaging in intercourse in front of a child, and watching pornography in front of a child, in addition to committing any “lewd or lascivious act upon or with the body or any part or member of the body.” However, the alleged perpetrator must also be at least 16 years of age and at least five years older than the alleged victim. If you have been accused of taking indecent liberties with a minor, we may be able to prove that you did not perform the act because of sexual desire, which is a required element of this crime.
Defending against sexual battery and indecent exposure charges
The crimes of sexual battery and indecent exposure are misdemeanors in North Carolina.
Sexual battery is engaging in sexual contact with another person, by force and against their will, for the purpose of arousal, gratification or abuse. Contact may consist of touching the other person’s sexual genitalia or certain other body parts or conversely using one’s own sexual organs to touch another. Where the defendant knows the victim is mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless, force and lack of consent are presumed. Sexual battery is punishable by up to 150 days in jail.
Indecent exposure is exposing one’s sexual organs in a public place where others are present. A public place can be anywhere that is open to the view of the public at large, which includes a car in a parking lot or even the open window of a home. Indecent exposure carries a penalty of up to 60 days in jail. It is one of the only sex offenses that does not require registration with the NC Sex Offender Registry.
Representation by a skilled defense lawyer may be critical to avoiding the long-term consequences of pleading guilty to or being convicted of these offenses.
Contact a seasoned criminal defense team for a free consultation
If you have been charged with a sexual offense, including rape, contact Hatch, Little & Bunn, L.L.P. in Raleigh, North Carolina for experienced criminal defense representation. Call us at 919-714-4306 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.