Sex Crimes

Fighting Sex Crime Charges in North Carolina

The penalties for sex crime convictions in Charlotte and the surrounding areas are significant. Under North Carolina criminal law, sex crimes include forcible sex offenses, rape, possession of prohibited sexual materials, among other crimes. As in other states, North Carolina criminal law imposes harsh penalties for sex offenses. Defendants convicted of sex felony sex crimes in North Carolina may face decades in prison.

Those convicted of most sex crimes will be placed on the North Carolina sex offender registry for at least 10 years, but often longer depending on the crime. Finally, convicted sex offenders will have to cope with a permanent criminal record showing their conviction. While imposing strict penalties is important, in some instances, defendants who are completely innocent are falsely accused of sex crimes.

Fighting Rape Charges in North Carolina

North Carolina prosecutors can bring rape charges under one of several statutes. First-degree forcible rape is the most serious rape crime in North Carolina. Prosecutors must prove that the defendant engaged in vaginal intercourse with a person by force against the person’s will. Additionally, prosecutors must prove one of the following:

  • The defendant used, threatened to use, or displayed a dangerous or deadly weapon
  • The defendant inflicted serious bodily injury on the victim, or
  • Another person or other persons aided and abetted the defendant during the crime

Conviction of first-degree forcible rape is extremely serious as a Class B1 felony. Defendants convicted of Class B1 Felonies face maximum sentences of life in prison without parole. Notably, forcible rape is different than statutory rape. Prosecutors do not need to prove that statutory rape was an assault. Both parties can consent to sexual conduct and one party can still be charged with statutory rape. Statutory rape of a child under the age of 13 by an adult 18 years or older is also a Class B1 Felony.

Innocence is an Important Defense to Sexual Crimes

One of the most important and basic defenses to sexual assault charges is to claim innocence. At Arnold & Smith, PLLC we conduct thorough investigations into all of our clients’ cases. We gather evidence in order to demonstrate our client’s innocence at trial. In some instances, we argue that our clients have an alibi and were not in the geographic location of the sex crime when it occurred. Often, receipts from meals, movie or event tickets, credit card bills, or witness testimony prove that our clients could not have committed the crime.

Another key defense to sex crime charges is to argue that law enforcement officers incorrectly identified the defendant. In many cases, DNA evidence can reliably establish whether or not the defendant was physically at the sex crime scene. When prosecutors claim to have DNA evidence linking defendant to the crime scene, our lawyers may still be able to challenge the DNA evidence. For example, North Carolina lab technicians can make mistakes when analyzing crime scene DNA samples.

In order to secure a conviction, sex crimes prosecutors must prove that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. At Arnold & Smith, PLLC our lawyers know how to find evidence that works to raise a reasonable doubt as to whether or not our client committed the sex crime in question.

The Defense of Consent

One of the necessary elements of rape and sexual assault charges is that the sexual conduct happened against the victim’s will. If the victim gave consent, the prosecutors will not be able to prove every element of the crime and receive a conviction from the jury. Proving that the victim consented to the sexual act can be challenging. In many cases, whether or not a victim gave consent comes down to one person’s word against another person’s word. However, sometimes evidence exists that the victim did actually consent to the sexual act. Telephone records and text messages are often times extremely important in showing that consent. While an alleged victim claiming to be the victim of a sex crime may claim that they did not consent to sexual contact, text messages between the parties may suggest otherwise. The criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith PLLC will do everything they can to get these records so that they can analyze them for inconsistencies.

The Defense of Mental Incapacity or Insanity

Finally, defendants facing sex crime charges can make the defense of mental incapacity or insanity defense. When a criminal defendant uses insanity as a defense, he or she must prove that although he or she committed the act, insanity makes the defendant not culpable for the act. The defendant must prove that he or she had a mental defect at the time of the crime, that the mental illness made him or her unable to understand that the sex crime was wrong.

Our Sex Crime Defense Lawyers Can Help

If you are facing sex crime charges, hiring a skilled lawyer is of the utmost importance. At Arnold & Smith, PLLC we have helped many clients successfully defend themselves against sex crimes charges. Contact our criminal defense law firm today to learn how we can help you fight for your rights.