How Is A Sex Crime Defined In North Carolina?

There are different types of sex crimes. The lowest level is called Sexual Battery, which is a misdemeanor. Sexual battery is unwanted sexual conduct. It does not have to include genital penetration. In fact, sexual battery arises most often when someone touches another person in a way that does not constitute a sexual offense, like grabbing a woman’s breasts or buttocks outside her clothes. The state has to prove the sexual conduct was for sexual gratification.

The most harshly punished sex crimes are first-degree sexual offense and first-degree rape. These offenses include statutory offenses against children and forcible rape with a weapon. Convictions for these offenses result in substantial, mandatory prison sentences.

Other crimes, such as taking indecent liberties with children and exploitation of children, are between the misdemeanor and most serious offenses. These offenses include sexual conduct with children without touching the child, possessing child pornography, or soliciting children for sexual acts.

Any sexual involvement between a school employee and a student in an elementary, middle, or secondary school is a felony, even if the relationship is consensual.

What Are The Most Common Type Of Sex Offenses That You See?

In recent years, I represented numerous people accused of possessing child pornography and student’s accused of sexual assaults. The cases with students include defenses in criminal court and investigations and hearings on university campuses.

What Are Title IX Cases In North Carolina?

Title IX of the Education Amendments in 1972 to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. A few years ago, Title IX brought to mind women’s sports because that is the provision interpreted to require equal opportunities for women to participate in collegiate sports. In recent years, the provision has been used to require universities receiving federal funds to create a policy to prohibit sexual harassment and assaults on campuses. The policies create procedures separate from criminal cases, different definitions for prohibited conduct, and proof by a lower standard.

Title IX covers conduct by staff, faculty and students. As a result, we represent a wide range of people accused of sexual harassment or sexual assault, including professors, students, and administrators.

The definitions of sexual harassment and sexual assault under Title IX are not the same as criminal cases. The federal government establishes certain guidelines, but the universities define the conduct, or the prohibited conduct and the procedures for adjudicating the allegations. Many times, conduct alleged to have violated the university policy does not rise to the level of criminal conduct. A person can violate the student code without committing a sexual offense as defined by a criminal statute.

How Are Title IX Cases Handled In North Carolina?

While the government establishes certain standards, each university sets its own policy and procedures for dealing with the allegations. As a result, the procedures in place at the University of North Carolina are different from the procedures at Duke, which is nine miles away. One distinction is that North Carolina law requires public universities to allow lawyers to represent the accused in these proceedings. That law does not apply to private universities, and some prevent lawyers from participating.

The procedures are in writing and established by each university’s policy on prohibited discrimination, including sexual harassment and related misconduct. In general, a person is notified that he or she is accused of some violation and invited to a meeting with an investigator. The accused should contact counsel before responding.

The allegations range from repeated unwanted contact to rape. All allegations of sexual harassment or sexual assault between faculty, staff, and students at the same institution are investigated and resolved under the university’s Title IX procedure.

While provisions of the university’s policy define violations more broadly than the criminal statutes, the allegations of some cases include allegations of criminal conduct. That means, the university investigation may expose the student to criminal liability. Either way, no one should participate in these proceedings without a lawyer experienced in representing people accused in criminal court and university proceedings.

For more information on Sex Crimes In North Carolina, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (919) 967-0504 today.

Use of Deadly Force

Several years ago, I was driving my son home from a basketball practice. We pulled off an exit ramp and passed a couple women attempting to change a tire. Something struck me, and I pulled over to help. My preteen son’s response: “what are you doing? don’t you know how it ends?”

Now, I’m no hero. Over the years, I have driven past plenty of people stopped on the side of the road. It’s easy to rationalize: “I’m late, help is on the way, stopping isn’t safe, or everyone has a cell phone.” Those reasons are valid much of the time.

That night, though, it took me fifteen minutes to replace the damaged tire with a spare. Whatever my motivation, it had more to do with impulse than any well-considered altruism.

Over the last few months, I have had a number of reasons to consider how we respond to people in crisis or facing real or imagined danger.

The issues are relevant following the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd. I wonder about the thoughts of people, civilian and professional, who witnessed these events live. What influenced their decisions? Why did they act or fail to act? How would I defend them?

In February, I tried a first-degree murder case that raised similar questions. My client was accused of killing his sister’s boyfriend. She testified that he killed her boyfriend without any justification. My client testified that he saw the boyfriend choking his sister.

The sister conceded, however, that her boyfriend did not want her to leave the house and took steps to stop her. While reviewing John Rubin’s book, The Law of Self-Defense in North Carolina, we decided that testimony could justify an instruction on the crime prevention privilege. Although rarely applied, the defense is supported by good law.

With some reservations, our judge submitted an instruction he drafted. I am including portions of the instructions in the attached practice guide. I hope the information is helpful to you. I certainly believe the instruction on the privilege played a part in my client’s acquittal.

Please call if we can ever assist you around Chapel Hill or in Federal Court.