In North Carolina most crimes that are categorized as sex crimes are felonies. Crimes like rape, sexual offense, indecent liberties, and indecent exposure are very easy to understand by the general public. One North Carolina sex crime that is not often mentioned or understood is sexual battery, which by contrast is a misdemeanor. Sexual Battery is a crime that covers a wide range of activities, some of which some would not realize they could be prosecuted for. In this Blog, we will explore what sexual battery is, the consequences of that conviction, and some examples of behavior that would constitute this charge. To read about forcible rape and forcible sex offense in North Carolina, click here.
Sexual Battery is governed by North Carolina General Statute 14-27.33
In order for the state to prove sexual battery, it must show that, for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse, the defendant engaged in sexual contact with another person, in one of the following manners:
- By force and against the will of the other person or
- The victim was mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless, and the person performing the act knows or should reasonable know that the other person is mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless.
Sexual contact can involve a wide range of behaviors:
- It can be the touching of sexual organ, anus, breast, groin, or buttocks of any person.
- It can be touching another person with one’s own sexual organ, anus, breast, groin, or buttocks.
- It can be ejaculating, emitting, or placing semen, urine, or feces on another person.
This illustrates how much territory this crime covers. It is a very broad state, encompassing a wide array of activities. It can be something as simple as grabbing someone’s butt without their consent, which, unfortunately, is something that is very common. It would be safe to say that most people not in the legal profession are not fully aware of this crime or its specifics, and therefore, it is possible that they are not aware when they are committing this crime. However, as is often said, “ignorance of the law is not an excuse.”
- This crime is punished as a Class Al misdemeanor, which is the highest level of misdemeanor in North Carolina and follows the North Carolina misdemeanor sentencing guidelines.
- Currently, conviction of this crime requires placing the defendants name on the sexual offender registry for a period of up to 30 years.
Sexual Battery is a serious crime that is very easily charged. The consequences of this conviction can be severe and very long lasting. If you have been charged with Sexual Battery or any other sex crime in North Carolina or South Carolina, contact us. A criminal defense attorney can help you through a criminal case, explain your options, and help you get the best result possible.