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What is the Age of Consent in NC?

Age of Consent Statutory Rape charges in North Carolina are subject to something Raleigh criminal defense lawyers may refer to as the, "Age of Consent."

Ordinarily, a "minor" is someone who has not reached the age of "majority." That means the minor hasn’t yet turned 18 years old.

At the same time, minors may, in certain circumstances, "consent" to some things that might otherwise be reasonably considered an "adult decision."

For example, as it pertains to sexual intercourse, the age of consent in North Carolina is 16 years old.

Once the minor reaches the age of 16, she may consent to vaginal intercourse (sexual intercourse). The NC Statutory Rape Laws are inapplicable.

If you are sexually active with someone who is 15 years old or younger, that potentially places you at risk for criminal prosecution for statutory sex offenses, including statutory rape, indecent liberties with a minor, and even contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Many sex offenses in North Carolina are subject to possible long-term prison sentences and registration as a sex offender.

Registration as a sexual predator carries substantial, consequential penalties in addition to prison, court costs, fines, and probation.

NC Age of Consent Laws

The Age of Consent Laws in North Carolina can be confusing and in some instances contradictory.

If the alleged victim consents to having sex (sexual intercourse), the Defendant may still be charged with serious felony charges in NC depending on the individual facts and circumstances of the sexual activity.

That’s also true if the parents or guardians consent to the relationship, including sexual intercourse.

The team of Raleigh criminal attorneys at the Fanney Law Firm work hard to provide thoughtful, focused legal defenses to sex offenses and statutory rape charges in Wake County, N.C. and the surrounding judicial districts in Johnston County, Smithfield, and Clayton.

Our entire staff is dedicated to hard-nosed, professional assertion of your constitutional rights, including Due Process of Law and Equal Protection Under the Law.

How are the Age of Consent Laws in NC Different than Other States?

The official age of consent in North Carolina is 16 years old.

That does not mean the "minor" consenting to sexual intercourse in North Carolina necessarily qualifies to vote, purchase alcohol, or register for the draft.

The age of "majority" under the US Code (federal laws) and other NC state laws remain in full force and effect.

The age of consent, relative to the legal ability to consent to sexual intercourse, varies nationwide. For example, in some states the Age of Consent is 15 years old. In other states it’s 17 years old.

There also may be legal defenses to sex offense charges when the sexual activities take place between minors.

In those instances, the age difference between the defendant (the person accused of criminal charges) and the alleged victim are considered in determining whether an indictment is appropriate.

Can I Date Someone Under the Age of 16?

In North Carolina, it’s not illegal to date someone under the age of 16. That doesn’t necessarily mean that’s a good idea or advisable.

As feelings develop between people, it’s easy to fall into a sexual relationship that, even in completely consensual, may subject the Defendant to an arrest and criminal prosecution for extremely serious felony charges in North Carolina.

There are also other sexual acts, separate and apart from sexual intercourse (vaginal intercourse) that can subject you to substantial prison sentences.

  1. If the victim is a minor aged between 13 and 15 years old, and the Defendant is more than four years in age older (yet less than 6 years older), that may be designated as a Class C Felony charge
  2. Vaginal Intercourse with a minor aged between 13 and 15 years old, when the Defendant is 6 or more years older, may be classified as a B1 Felony offense
  3. Sexual intercourse with someone less than 13 years old, if the accused is 18 years or old, is also classified as a B1 Felony and mandates an active prison term of no less than 25 years (300 months)

As you might imagine, careful thought must be given to the difference in ages between the defendant and victim.

Even just one day can mean the difference between a lifetime designation of a sexual predator (sex offender status) and legal sexual activity.

Who May Report Statutory Rape in NC?

Parents, legal guardians, family, and friends may report allegations of statutory rape in North Carolina to law enforcement.

In certain circumstances, the sexual predator laws in North Carolina may require reporting sex offenses to the proper authorities.

Pastors, clergy, teachers, doctors, nurses, DSS workers, and mental health professionals may be required to report possible instances of sexual misconduct.

Consent or parental approval of sexual conduct is not a defense to statutory rape charges in NC.

Legal Issues in North Carolina

  1. What does Raise the Age mean?
  2. Should I talk to the police?
  3. What is an Indictment?
  4. Criminal Defense for Sex Offenses in Raleigh, NC
Fanney Law Firm: Raleigh Criminal Attorneys

Raleigh Criminal Allegations of sex crimes and statutory rape charges in North Carolina carry long term consequences.

Prosecutors, Judges, law enforcement, and defense attorneys in Raleigh all take such matters seriously.

You should too.

If you stand accused of sexual offenses, it’s imperative to begin your legal defense without delay.

Do NOT speak with law enforcement or participate in a criminal investigation, even when it appears informal or to "just answer some questions."

Politely request to speak with a lawyer.

Do not discuss anything about you, your relationship, prior sexual acts, or your case with anyone other than your criminal defense attorney.

Do not wait, call John Fanney today at 919-617-7009

You may also email John Fanney at John@FanneyLaw.com

Our criminal defense lawyers in Raleigh charge nothing for legal consultations.

Everything you share with our team of lawyers and legal support staff is strictly confidential.

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