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Taking Indecent Liberties With a Minor in North Carolina

Taking indecent liberties with a minor is a criminal act under North Carolina law. Defendants charged with any sex crime should take the charges extremely seriously. Sex crimes that involve children can ruin a defendant’s reputation. Defendants convicted of taking indecent liberties with a minor face jail time, fines, probation, and mandatory registration as a sex offender in North Carolina.

North Carolina recognizes three different types of taking indecent liberties with a child. The law criminalizes adults who take indecent liberties with a child. The North Carolina legislature created a separate crime for children taking indecent liberties with another child. Finally, teachers who take indecent liberties with students can face criminal charges. If you are facing criminal charges for taking indecent liberties with a minor child, hiring an aggressive and skilled lawyer is advisable. At Arnold & Smith, PLLC our criminal defense attorneys fight hard on behalf of our clients.

What Constitutes Taking Indecent Liberties With a Minor?

In North Carolina, the crime of taking indecent liberties is a class F Felony. Defendants must be at least 16 years of age when the crime took place. Defendants must also be at least five years older than the child victim. The crime includes the following:

  • Willfully taking or attempting to take indecent or immoral actions with any child under the age of 16 to arouse or gratify sexual desire, or
  • Willfully committing or attempting to commit a lewd act or acts upon or with the body of a child who is under the age of 16

The wording of North Carolina’s taking indecent liberties statute is purposefully vague and can be confusing. Defining immoral, improper, or indecent liberties can be somewhat subjective. Lawmakers intentionally made the wording of the statute vague so it would criminalize a broad range of behavior.

The action taken by the defendant must be lewd, sexual, or lascivious in nature. North Carolina courts have held that the act most reveals some sort of offensive sexual desire. One of the key elements of this crime requires the defendant to intend to take an action demonstrates offensive sexual desire toward the child. The intentional conduct varies, but could include:

  • Touching the sexual or genital body parts of a child
  • Touching the female breasts of a child
Does Taking Indecent Liberties Have to Include Touching?

No, a defendant does not need to touch the victim to be convicted of taking indecent liberties with a child. North Carolina courts have convicted defendants of the crime who engaged in sexually graphic conversations with minors under the age of 16. Courts have also convicted defendants for masturbating in the presence of a child under the age of 16.

Taking Indecent Liberties Between Children in North Carolina

What happens when the defendant is also a child and takes indecent liberties with another child? North Carolina law recognizes the crime of taking indecent liberties between children in North Carolina. When the defendant is under the age of 16 when the alleged indecent act took place, prosecutors will charge him with this crime. Convicted defendants are charged with a class 1 misdemeanor, which involves less harsh penalties than adults. Defendants over age 16 face a Class F felony charge, which is much more serious.

Taking Indecent Liberties with a Student in North Carolina

Educational professionals who engage in sexual contact with students at their school can face criminal charges. Taking indecent liberties with a student is a Class 1 felony in North Carolina. The defendant must be at least four years older than the victim. The following educational professionals can face charges in North Carolina:

  • Teachers
  • Administrators
  • Coaches
  • School personnel in a position of authority
Penalties for Taking Indecent Liberties with a Child

Defendants convicted of taking indecent liberties with a child are guilty of a Class F felony. A Class F felony is serious in North Carolina. Those convicted should expect to be sentenced to jail, probation, house arrest, or GPS location monitoring. North Carolina judges consider aggravating factors, mitigating factors, and the prior record of the defendant when determining a prison sentence. Ultimately, depending upon your prior record level, defendants convicted of a Class F felony in North Carolina can expect to receive a prison sentence between 10 and 59 months. Defendants convicted of a Class 1 felony can expect to receive a prison sentence between three months and two years.

We Can Help

If you are facing a charge of taking indecent liberties with a child, our experienced criminal defense attorneys can help. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today to schedule your free initial consultation and learn how we can fight for you.