North Carolina Sexual Exploitation of a Minor

In North Carolina, sexual exploitation of a minor involves making, distributing, or possessing child pornography. These charges are treated as felonies, and you’ll be charged according to the NC felony sentencing guidelines. Unfortunately, you cannot use mistaking their ages as a defense in a court of law. You’ll still face the law as long as the pornographic material has anyone below 18 years.

Sexual exploitation of a minor is taken as a serious offense, and these cases are harshly punished in the criminal justice system. You’ll also have to register as a sexual offender, which can be damaging to your life in a number of ways. That’s why, at King Law, we have experienced and dedicated criminal defense attorneys ready to fight for your rights. If you’ve been accused of sexually exploiting a minor, it’s best to contact a lawyer right away to discuss your rights and legal options.

Degrees of Sexual Exploitation in NC

In the modern era, you could find yourself committing a sexual exploitation offense on your computer, over the internet, and even on your smartphone. The repercussions of this offense depend on the degree of the crime. Under the NC state and federal laws, there are three degrees of sexual exploitation of minors. These are:

Degrees of Sexual Exploitation in NC

First-Degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor

You’ll be charged with first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor in NC if you knowingly:

  • Use, induce, force, facilitate, or employ a minor to engage in sexual acts for a live performance or to produce a visual representation of this activity
  • Let a child under your custody engage in sexual activity for the purpose of producing child pornography or in live performances
  • Transport or pay for the transportation of a minor to travel across North Carolina to perform or produce child pornography
  • Film, photograph, or copy materials depicting a minor engaging in sexual activity for financial gain

Generally, first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor is committed by anyone who facilitates or is involved in the production and participation of minors in sexual activities. This is a Class C felony in North Carolina that carries a sentence of at least 51 to 64 months for first-time offenders.

Second-Degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor

A person will be charged with second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor if they:

  • Record, photograph, film, develop, or copy any material that has a minor engaging in sexual activity
  • Distribute, transport, sell, receive, solicit, buy, or exchange materials having a minor performing sexual acts

This is a Class E felony, with offenders receiving a possible sentence of 15 to 31 months.

Third-Degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor

To be accused of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, the prosecutor will find you in possession of material containing a visual representation of a minor engaging in sexual activities and are aware of the character and content of the material. This is a Class H felony, punishable with a 4 to 8 month sentence.

Typically, being charged with sexual exploitation attracts a heavy penalty. The penalties are even worse for offenders previously convicted of any sexual offense. Therefore, don’t hesitate to contact King Law lawyers for help if you are accused of any of these crimes.

Registering on the Sex Offender Registry in NC

In addition to a prison sentence, a person convicted of sexually exploiting a minor must register on the North Carolina sex offender registry. Once registered, you’ll remain on the list until a court of law says otherwise. With this registry available to the public, finding yourself on this list could have long-term consequences for your life. Some of these include:

  • Loss of child custody
  • Restricted residency
  • Restricted employment
  • Being branded a threat

Once convicted, you’ll be branded a sexual offender, irrespective of the nature of your case. You can prevent this by hiring a reputable criminal defense lawyer who cares about your well-being.

What to Do if You’re Charged With Sexual Exploitation of a Minor in NC

If you’re being investigated or charged with sexual exploitation of a minor, you should immediately get help from an experienced NC criminal defense attorney who has handled sexual exploitation cases before. They will guide you through the case, saving you from making mistakes that could worsen your situation.

North Carolina law enforcement and prosecutors take sexual exploitation offenses seriously and try their best to inflict the maximum penalties the law allows. Therefore, you’ll need an outstanding criminal lawyer who will not only build a solid defense against your charges, but also ensure your rights are protected. 

Defenses to Charges of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor

Depending on the nature of your case, you could have strong defenses that could help your case. However, you should remember that mistaking age is not a defense. With that said, here are a few possible defenses to the charges you face:

  • The materials were not yours or are not pornographic
  • Mistaken identity; you were falsely accused
  • Your computer was hacked
  • Technical legal defenses if computers and the internet are involved. This includes a violation of your right to protection against unsafe searches.

An experienced sexual exploitation criminal defense attorney at King Law will analyze your case and find the best defense to help ensure you get a favorable outcome.

Contact a North Carolina Criminal Defense Attorney at King Law

When facing sexual exploitation charges in North Carolina, your criminal defense should start as soon as possible. This is because sexual exploitation is a serious crime that could have devastating consequences on your life. Therefore, you’ll need a defense lawyer specializing in defending people accused of sexual exploitation to fight your case.

At King Law, we understand how complicated it is to fight allegations of sexual exploitation. Our experienced lawyers have proven experience and will mount an aggressive defense on your behalf. We are committed to providing you with the best legal representation in your case. Fill out our contact form or call us at (888) 748-5464 or (888) 748-KING for a consultation on how we can fight for you and help you overcome your charges.