Sexual 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.
Contact Our Charlotte Office for Assistance Today
If you have been charged with sexual battery, you cannot afford to just plead guilty. Besides the harsh punishments you face, a conviction could have long-term consequences on your ability to obtain employment, housing, professional license, loans, and much more. You may have constitutional, procedural, and other substantive defenses to the charges—even if you believe that you are guilty.
You need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney who can build a strong defense for you so that the charges are dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense with less severe punishments. At Browning & Long, PLLC, our skilled lawyers have the added advantage of being former prosecutors and understand the tactics that the prosecutor could employ in your case. We will aggressively fight to achieve the best outcome for you given your circumstances. Call our office or start an online chat today schedule your free consultation to get your questions answered and learn what you can expect in your criminal case.