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Our office continues to operate during our regular business hours, which are 8:30 am - 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday, but you can call the office 24 hours a day. We continue to follow all recommendations and requirements of the State of Emergency Stay at Home Order. Consultations are available via telephone or by video conference. The safety of our clients and employees is of the utmost importance and, therefore, in-person meetings are not available at this time except for emergencies or absolutely essential legal services.

Defense Lawyers for Charlotte Statutory Rape

Under North Carolina law, the age of consent to sexual intercourse is 16. Anyone under the age of 16 cannot legally consent to sexual intercourse. Even if the child under the age of 16 willingly consents to sexual intercourse, the older party may face serious criminal penalties for engaging in a sexual act. This rule applies even when both parties are engaged in a romantic relationship. In other words, an older boyfriend who has consensual, sexual relationship with his girlfriend under the age of 16 can face statutory rape charges.

Our Skilled Charlotte Criminal Defense Lawyers can Help

At Arnold & Smith Attorneys at Law, we have seen many defendants who have been surprised that they are facing statutory rape charges for what they assumed to be consensual sex. If you are facing charges for statutory rape, it is essential that you hire a skilled lawyer to be on your side. There is too much at stake to not hire an experienced attorney. At our law firm, we understand that everyone is innocent until proven guilty.    Contact Arnold & Smith Attorneys at Law today to schedule your free consultation.

What Constitutes Statutory Rape in North Carolina?

The consequences for statutory rape charges depend on the age of the minor as well as other circumstances. Those who have sex with a minor under the age of 13 will face first-degree felony charges. If the defendant had sex with a minor between the ages of 13 and 15, and he or she is not married to the individual, he or she could face felony criminal penalties. For felony criminal penalties to be brought, the prosecutor must also prove that the defendant was at least four years older than the victim.

  • Sex with a minor between ages 13 and 15 when there is at least a six-year age gap can result in a Class B1 felony charge.
  • Sex with a minor between ages 13-15 is a Class C felony charge when there is at least a four year age gap between the victim and the alleged statutory rapist

Class C felony charges come with a prison sentence between 44 and 182 months in North Carolina. Class B1 felony charges come with a prison sentence of 144 months in prison to life in prison.

The Romeo and Juliet Exception to Statutory Rape Charges

As with other states, North Carolina recognizes a "Romeo and Juliet"exception to statutory rape charges. The Romeo and Juliet exception permits minors who are both under the age of 16 to engage in sexual intercourse. The exception only applies when the younger person is four years younger or less than the older person.

For example, a 15-year-old can have consensual sex with someone who is 18 as long as they are both in a relationship. The lawyers at Arnold & Smith Attorneys at Law can help you determine whether or not this exception applies in your case and can serve as a defense to your statutory rape charges.

Consequences of a Statutory Rape Conviction

If you are convicted of statutory rape in North Carolina, you will serve jail time. Sentences for statutory rape come with sentences between 44 months and life, depending on the severity of the charge. In addition to serving time in prison, you will need to register as a sex offender. Doing so has serious long-term consequences.

Registering as a sex offender will negatively affect your personal life for a long time. It will also affect your professional life. You may not qualify for loans, financial aid, or jobs because of your status as a sex offender. You should promptly consult a Charlotte statutory rape defense attorney as soon as possible to develop your strategic legal defense.

Effective Defenses to Statutory Rape

Claiming that you did not know the age of the alleged victim is not a defense to statutory rape. In other words, you cannot claim that the alleged victim told you a false age. Even when the alleged victim looks much older, or you made an honest mistake, this is technically not a defense under the current state of the law.

Nonetheless, you may be able to raise defenses related to the legal process. When law enforcement violates your constitutional rights, a North Carolina court will throw out evidence gained in the process. If you are facing North Carolina statutory rape charges, our lawyers can help. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC, to receive a case review. Call our lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, at (704) 370-2828 to evaluate your options or fill out our contact form. Now taking cases throughout North Carolina with offices in Uptown Charlotte, Mooresville and Monroe.