What a Sexual Battery Charge Could Mean for YouSexual battery is often a misunderstood and confusing crime in North Carolina. It is treated as a serious offense that comes with long-term consequences, such as a permanent criminal record and being placed on the North Carolina Sex Offender Registry. If you have been arrested for sexual battery, you need to retain an experienced Charlotte criminal defense attorney as soon as possible for assistance in building a strong defense to the charges that you face.

What Is Sexual Battery Under North Carolina Law?

In North Carolina, sexual battery is engaging in sexual contact with the victim against his will or through the use of force for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse. An individual can also be charged with this crime if the victim is physically helpless, mentally incapacitated, or disabled and the accused person knew or should have known this. Sexual contact is defined as:

  • Touching the sex organ, anus, breast, groin, or buttocks of the victim
  • Touching the victim with one’s own sexual organ, anus, breast, groin, or buttocks
  • Ejaculating, emitting, or placing semen, urine, or feces on the victim

Examples of sexual battery include:

  • Touching the victim’s buttocks
  • Forcing a kiss on the victim’s mouth
  • Grabbing the victim’s breast
  • Forcing the victim to touch the perpetrator’s body

Is Sexual Battery the Same as Sexual Assault?

While sexual battery falls within the general category of sexual assault crimes, it is its own separate crime and does not contain some of the same unwanted sexual actions of more serious offenses. For example, first-degree and second-degree sexual offense crimes include unwanted oral sex on a woman’s genitals, sexual stimulation of a man’s penis, and anal intercourse. The crime of rape in North Carolina requires vaginal penetration. In addition, sexual assault crimes are felonies while sexual battery is a misdemeanor.

Penalties You Could Face If Convicted of Sexual Battery

Sexual battery is a Class A1 misdemeanor in North Carolina. If convicted you could be sentenced to up to 150 days of active, intermediate, or community punishment under the state’s sentencing guidelines. If this is your first offense, your sentence would most likely be for one to 60 days. The level of your punishment would be based on your prior criminal history. Here are the possible sentences for each level:

  • Active. The sentence would be primarily jail time, which could be for up to 150 days.
  • Intermediate. An intermediate punishment could consist of some jail time, but may also include supervised probation. Your sentence could also include enrollment in an alcohol abuse program, community service, and house arrest.
  • Community. A community punishment sentence could include supervised or unsupervised probation, a fine, and other requirements, such as house arrest and community service.

Will You Be Placed on the Sex Offender Registry?

Another harsh penalty of being convicted of sexual battery is that your name would be placed on the North Carolina Sex Offender Registry for between 10 and 30 years. In order to get your name removed from the registry after 10 years, you may have to file a special petition with the court. There is no guarantee that your request would be granted.

Are You Looking for a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Charlotte, NC?

If you are facing criminal charges, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Charlotte office directly at 980.207.3355 to schedule your free consultation.


C. Todd Browning
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Charlotte Criminal Defense and DWI Lawyer