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North Carolina Court Records

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North Carolina Sex Offenses and Why They are Different

Sexually motivated offenses in North Carolina are classified as a felony or misdemeanor depending on the severity. These crimes are construed to be different because they threaten public safety, decency, and privacy. Defendants charged in North Carolina Courts and subsequently convicted of a sex crime may face grievous penalties, including registering as sex offenders and losing various civil rights and privileges.

What is a North Carolina Sex Crime?

North Carolina laws specified illegal conduct that constitutes “sex crimes.” Chapter 14, Article 7 of North Carolina General Statutes defines sex crimes according to their severity and associated punishments. These crimes generally comprise acts involving unlawful sexual contact of another person, against the person’s will, and for sexual gratification, arousal, or abuse. The state has also modified its sex laws to feature sexual crimes in relation to age, consent, intoxication, and inebriation.

Most sex-related crimes in North Carolina are considered felonies under state laws. However, some less grievous sexual violations are classified as misdemeanors.

What are the Different Types of Sex Offenses?

The different types of sex offenses, their severity, and penalties as stated under the North Carolina General Statutes include:

First Degree Forcible Rape

This sex offense is defined under N.C Gen. Statute Ann. § 14–27.21 as forcefully engaging in vaginal intercourse with another person and against their will, and does any of the following:

  • Uses, threaten to use, or displays a deadly or dangerous weapon or an article that the other person reasonably believes to be a deadly or dangerous weapon;
  • Causes serious bodily or personal harm on the victim or another person; or
  • Commits the offense with the aid and abet of one or more other persons.

Severity: Anyone who commits an offense described in §14–27.21 is guilty of Class B1 felony.

Penalty: Prison/jail time is between 144 months and life imprisonment without parole. The length of sentence depends on the offender’s criminal history.

Second Degree Forcible Rape

This type of sexual offense occurs when someone engages in vaginal intercourse with another person with the use of force and against the other person’s will. As contained in G.S §14–27.22, this offense also pertains to vaginal intercourse with someone who is mentally disabled, incapacitated, or physically helpless, and the person performing the act reasonably knows that the mental or physical condition of the other person.

Severity: Class C felony

Penalty: Sentence between 44 months and 182 months depending on offender’s previous criminal history as dictated by §15A–1340.17.

Statutory Rape of a Child by an Adult

As dictated in N.C G. S. §14–27.23, this offense occurs when someone who is up to 18 years of age engages in vaginal intercourse with a child victim under the age of 13 years.

Severity: Class B1 felony

Penalty: Persons guilty of the above offense risks up to 300 months to life in custody without parole. The punishment and length of time as stated in §15A–1340.17 is based on the offender’s past criminal history.

First Degree Statutory Rape

N.C G.S §14–27.24 defined this crime as vaginal intercourse with a child under the age of 13 years by a defendant that is at least 12 years of age and is at least 4 years older than the victim.

Severity: Class B1 felony

Penalty: 144 months to life imprisonment without parole.

Statutory Rape of a Person who is 15 Years of Age or Younger

As stated in N.C G.S §14–27.25, this offense is classified as a Class B1 felony if the accused engages in vaginal intercourse with another person who is up to or younger than 15 years of age and the accused is at least 12 years old and at least six years older than the victim, except when the accused is legally married to the person.

On the other hand, this crime is classified as Class C felony if the defendant is at least 12 years old, and more than four but less than six years older than the victim, unless the conduct is covered under some other provision of law providing a greater penalty.

Severity and Penalty: 144 months to life in prison without parole for Class B1 felony version.

Class C felony version is between 44 and 182 months in custody.

First-Degree Forcible Sexual Offense

This crime is defined under §14–27.26 as the process of engaging in a sexual act with another person by force and against the will of the other person and:

  • Uses, threaten to use, or displays a deadly or dangerous weapon or an article that the other person reasonably believes to be a deadly or dangerous weapon;
  • Causes serious bodily or personal harm on the victim or another person; or
  • Commits the offense with the aid and abet of one or more other persons.

Severity: Class B1 felony.

Penalty: 144 months to life in prison, without parole.

Second Degree Forcible Sexual Offense

This type of sexual offense occurs when someone engages in a sexual act with another person with the use of force and against the other person’s will. As contained in G.S §14–27.27, this offense also pertains to a sexual act with someone who is mentally disabled, incapacitated, or physically helpless, and the person performing the act reasonably knows that the mental or physical condition of the other person.

Severity: Class C felony

Penalty: 44 months to 182 months

Statutory Sexual Offense with a Child by an Adult

Occurs when someone who is at least 18 years sexually engages a child who is under 10 years of age as stated in N. C. G.C §14–27.28.

Severity: Class B1 felony

Penalty: 300 months to life depending on prior criminal history

First Degree Statutory Sexual Offense

Occurs when a person engages in a sexual act with a victim who is a child under 13 years of age and the defendant is at least 12 years old and is at least four years older than the person.

Severity: Class B1 felony

Penalty: 144 months to life imprisonment without parole.

Statutory Sexual Offense of a Person who is 15 Years of Age or Younger

This offense is classified into two, based on the age of the defendant. The offense is classified as a B1 felony if the accused engages in a sexual act with another person who is up to or younger than 15 years of age and the accused is at least 12 years old and at least six years older than the victim, except when the accused is legally married to the person.

This offense is classified as a Class C felony if the defendant is at least 12 years old, and more than four but less than six years older than the victim, unless the conduct is covered under some other provision of law providing a greater penalty.

Severity and Penalty: 144 months to life in prison without parole for Class B1 felony version.

Class C felony version is between 44 and 182 months in custody.

Sexual Battery

As defined under N.C G.C §14–27.33, sexual battery or sexual assault is the act of sexually engaging with another person for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse:

  • By force or against the will of the other person; or
  • With someone who is mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless for which the person engaging in the act knows or is reasonably aware.

Severity: Class A1 felony

Penalty: Punishment, as stated in §14–27.23, is from 1 day to 150 days in jail, as well as a fine determined at the court’s discretion

Sexual Activity by a Substitute Parent of Custodian

As defined under N. C. G.C Ann. §14–27.31, this offense occurs when a person who has assumed the position of a parent in the home of a minor victim engages in vaginal intercourse or a sexual act with a minor residing in the home. It can also be defined as a person having custody of a victim of any age or a person who is an employee or agent of any person, or institution having custody of a victim of any age engages in vaginal intercourse with such victims.

Severity: Class E felony

Penalty: 15 months to 63 months in prison

Sexual Activity with a Student

This occurs when an authority figure engages in sexual conduct, lewd contact, or romantic relationship with a student in an educational institution.

Severity: Class G felony or Class 1 felony depending on the level of the defendant’s authority as stated in N.C G.S Ann. §14–27.32.

Penalty: 3 months to 12 months in prison

Crime Against Nature (Sodomy)

These are sexual crimes against nature, with mankind or beast.

Severity: Class 1 felony

Penalty: 3 months to 12 months in prison

Sex Offender Levels of Classification in North Carolina

North Carolina is non-compliant with the Federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) which sorts sex offenses into three tiers. Instead, the state classifies sexual offenders into:

Sexual Predators, Aggravated, Non-Aggravated, and Recidivists. Even then, the tier-level crimes may still be considered in the state’s courts. Below are the categories of sexual misconduct in each tier:

TIER–1 Offenders

Defined in 42 U.S Congress §16911(2) as sex offenders other than Tier II or Tier III sex offenders. That is, if a crime does not fit into Tier II or III, it is Tier I by default. These low-risk offenders are required to stay on the registry for 15 years but may be reducible to 10 years with a clean record. Examples of crimes that fall under the umbrella of Tier 1 offenses include:

  • Sexual battery/assault (misdemeanor)
  • Indecent liberties
  • Peeping (all variants)
  • Human trafficking
  • Sexual activity with a student older than 18 years
  • Incest with victims older than 18 years
  • Indecent exposure
  • Third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor
  • Indecent liberties with children, student,
  • Abduction of children
  • Sale of a child

Tier II Offenders

Offenders are classified as Tier II if they are guilty of offenses punishable by more than 1 year in prison as stated in 42 U.S Congress §16911(3). Such offenders are typically required to be on the registry for at least 25 years. Examples of North Carolina crimes under Tier II offenses include:

  • Sex trafficking under 18 U.S.C §1591
  • Coercion and enticement as defined in 18 U.S.C §2422(b)
  • Abusive sexual contact committed against a minor 13 years or older
  • Transportation with intent to engage in criminal activity as dictated in 18 U.S.C §2423(a)
  • Use of a minor in a sexual performance
  • Sexual servitude
  • Production and distribution of child pornography
  • Offenses that occurred after the offender becomes a Tier I offender
  • Solicitation of a minor to practice prostitution

Tier III Offenders

Tier III offenders are high-risk offenders that are required to register for a lifetime. As defined in 42 U.S.C §16911(4), Tier 3 sex offenses are those punishable by more than 1 year and are deemed aggravated sexual offenses. Some sex crimes that fall under this category include;

  • Kidnapping of a minor (unless committed by a parent or guardian)
  • Crimes that occurred after an offender becomes a Tier II offender
  • First and second-degree forcible rape (G. S. 14–27.21 and G.S 14–27.22)
  • Statutory rape of a minor by an adult
  • First and second-degree forcible sexual offense

In North Carolina, tier III offenders are referred to as aggravated offenders, recidivists, and sexual predators.

How Do I Find A Sex Offender Near Me in North Carolina?

The North Carolina General Assembly created the North Carolina Sex Offender and Public Protection Registry to help protect and inform the public about sex offenders in the state. Interested persons can find sex offenders living near their residential areas online, by email, or in person.

How to Find Sex Offenders Living in my Neighborhood Online

The NC State Bureau of Investigation maintains an online North Carolina Sex Offender and Public Protection Registry on their website. This registry allows residents to find sex offenders and predators living in their streets, cities, and zip codes. It is also possible to search by name, age, offender status, and even sex registration number.

Residents are also advised to sign up to the NC Offender Subscription Service Website to be able to receive email reports when sex offenders move within 1, 3, or 5 miles of any registered location. Alternatively, call (877) 627–2826 to receive notifications by phone.

How to Find Sex Offenders Living Near my Neighbourhood in Person

To search for and view sex offender information in person, visit the applicable County Sheriff’s Office. Contact the office beforehand to ascertain if there are any viewing guidelines and associated costs.

North Carolina Sex Offender Registry

The North Carolina Sex Offender Registry Program was enacted in 1996 to assist law enforcement agencies with registering and monitoring certain sex offenders living in the state. The registry is frequently updated to include all “reportable sex convictions” such as offense against minors and sexually violent offenses. In accordance with G.S § 14–208.6A, aggravated offenders, recidivists, and sexually violent predators are subject to more strict registration rules. Registered offenders are mandated to report to the law enforcement within a time-period and also notify the officials when they change their home addresses. Failure to comply with the registry comes with additional penalties. Note that although juvenile sex offenders are required to register with the sheriff, their registration information is not public.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

What are the Sex Offender Restrictions in North Carolina?

North Carolina laws placed the following restrictions on sex offenders living and working in the state:

  • Residential restrictions: Sex offenders are not allowed to live within 1,000 feet of any public or non-public school or child care center (G.S § 14–208.16)
  • Employment and Volunteer restrictions: Offenders in the state are not required to work or volunteer at any place where a minor is present (G.S §14–208–17(a)
  • Babysitting restrictions: N.C registered offenders are prohibited from babysitting, work as babysitters, or live at a place where a babysitting service resides (G.S §14–321.1)
  • Commercial driver’s license restrictions: Offenders are automatically disqualified from driving commercial motor vehicles that require licenses with P or S endorsements (G.S §§ 14–208.19, 20–17.9, 20–27.1, 20–37.14A)
  • Registered offenders are statutorily restricted from renewing their emergency medical services credentials (G.S § 131E–159)
  • Sex offenders convicted of “sexual offense against minors” are not qualified for any license by the North Carolina Board of Funeral Services (G.S § 90–210.25B)
  • Sex offenders are prohibited from obtaining legal name changes (G.S § 14–202.6)
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