Sexual Assault Charge in North Carolina: Defense Options Available to You

rape and sexual abuse conceptYou may or may not have a twisted mind, but whatever it is, getting into trouble with the law can come from a cruel twist of fate. And if you can’t do anything about the situation, it can drastically alter your life for the worse.

Being arrested is tough enough, primarily if your family depends on you for financial support or if you’re innocent of the crime you’re charged with. Now, if the charge is sexual assault and you were arrested in North Carolina, it can get more stringent. It’s important to know the laws governing sexual assault in this state and what you can do if you find yourself charged with the crime.

Legal facts about sexual assault in NC

If you were arrested for sexual assault, it’s critical, first of all, that you or a loved one get in touch with a company that offers bail bonds in NC, so you can discuss bail bond arrangements if you don’t have the money.

Secondly, you need to consult a lawyer so you will understand the charge filed against you. North Carolina’s sexual assault laws are identical to rape laws. The only difference is that rape involves vaginal penetration. Everything else outside of that falls under the classification of sexual assault. Despite this, sexual assault penalties are the same as rape penalties.

A sexual assault or rape charge may be filed against you if you force another person into doing a sexual act without his or her consent. Examples of this include unwanted fondling, kissing, or bodily contact, and using body parts or objects to penetrate an orifice forcefully. If found guilty of the crime, you can be imprisoned for at least 44 months up to a lifetime.

If you believe that the plaintiff allowed you to carry out these actions or expressed consent to do so, you have a case to prove your innocence in court. Thinking of a defense strategy with your legal counsel, however, can be difficult when you’re in jail, as you’re worried about your family, too. Working with a bail bondsman in Wake County and other areas in NC allows you to work on your defense outside of jail.

Sexual harrassment

Consent: Your absolute defense against a sexual assault charge

Consent or approval is a strong defense against sexual assault charges because force is the primary factor that made the act a criminal offense. The presence of consent means the absence of force. The court will recognize consent as a defense if your actions didn’t result in any serious physical injury, or if the plaintiff benefitted from your actions. You may also use consent as a defense if you do not have any mental condition that prevents you from accurately recognizing consent or approval. The court will not accept consent as a defense if the plaintiff is a minor or mentally challenged. Moreover, consent cannot be used as a defense strategy in crimes other than sexual assault.

If the court is not convinced of your consent defense, you may use another strategy in the appellate court to prove that you’re innocent. If you manage to get additional evidence to support your innocence, you may file an “actual innocence” claim. By doing so, your lawyer gets to present new evidence not shown in the initial trial, allowing the court to validate your conviction. In this critical situation, it’s essential that you enlist the help of a criminal defense lawyer experienced in handling sexual assault cases. Examples of actual innocence claims include alibi (being in another place at the time of the crime), mistaken identity (questionable credibility or memory of witnesses), and frameup (falsification of evidence by law enforcers or coercion).

Facing a sexual assault charge is difficult, primarily if you’re held in custody and have no means to post bail. In North Carolina, any act of sexual violence apart from vaginal penetration is sexual assault and can be slapped with the same penalties as rape. There are defense options available, but you need to work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to protect your rights as a suspect or to prove your innocence in court.