NC-Statutory-Rape-Laws

Legally reviewed by:
King Law
June 24, 2024

In the State of North Carolina, it is illegal for someone above the age of 18 – an adult, to have sex with someone below the age of 16 – a minor. This is what is known as statutory rape. An individual can be guilty of statutory rape even if this sex was “consensual.” This is the case because anyone below the age of 16 is, by law, too young to give their informed consent to sex. Thus, the name “statutory” rape; even if the minor gave their consent to participate in the sex act, the act is still considered rape based on the age requirement in the statute.

Statutory Rape laws in North Carolina are strict liability statutes. What this means is that you do not have to have intended to commit the crime to be convicted of it. In general, the majority of criminal statutes usually have an intent requirement built into them. The wrongdoer has to possess some level of intent to commit the crime they were charged with to be found guilty of it. Generally, an intent requirement is necessary to prevent placing serious criminal penalties, such as jail time, on individuals who did not even mean to commit a crime. However, some crimes are so serious that the legislature has chosen to remove the intent requirement from the law to deter individuals from committing the crime. Statutory rape is a prime example of this. The legislature saw statutory rape as a crime that required serious deterrence, making it a strict liability crime. As a result, there is no intent requirement written into the NC statutory rape law; an individual does not have to intend to have sex with a minor to commit the crime. For statutory rape, it is simply enough that one intended to have sex.

Consequently, mistake or ignorance, when it comes to the age of a sexual partner, is not an excuse. For example, individuals being charged with statutory rape often assert that they did not know, nor had reason to know, that the individual they engaged in sex with was below the age of 16. Many individuals even claim that the minor lied about their age or told the individual that they were of age. Yet, because statutory rape is a strict liability offense, all that is required is that an individual intended to have sex, and mistake of age is not a defense to this crime. This is true even if that mistake is one a reasonable person would have made. As long as the individual committed the act (had sex with someone below the age of 16), they will most likely be found guilty of statutory rape.

If you find yourself in need of assistance with criminal charges in NC, no matter what they may be, please contact our office. The lawyers at King Law can help you get a better sense of where you stand. We invite you to come in and talk with one of our attorneys in person or over the phone during a consultation. Our number is 888-748-KING.

Legally reviewed by:
King Law
Carolina Attorneys
June 24, 2024

This blog post has been reviewed and verified by legal experts at King Law. Our team is dedicated to providing premium legal services with compassion, innovation, trust, and advocacy. Serving Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina, we offer flexible meeting options and strive to exceed client expectations with high-quality legal representation and exceptional client relationships.

Previous Post
Can You Keep a Gun in Your Car in North Carolina?
Menu