Rape and Sexual Assault Laws in North Carolina

In North Carolina, sexual assault is prosecuted as first- or second-degree rape, first- or second-degree sexual offense, or sexual battery. Specific legal information is provided below.

 

NC General Statute 14-27 delineates the following:

First degree rape:

A person is guilty of rape in the first degree if the person engages in vaginal intercourse:

  1. With a victim who is a child under the age of 13 years and the defendant is at least 12 years old and is at least four years older than the victim; or
  2. With another person by force and against the will of the other person, and:
    1. Employs or displays a dangerous or deadly weapon or an article which the other person reasonably believes to be a dangerous or deadly weapon; or
    2. Inflicts serious personal injury upon the victim or another person; or
    3. The person commits the offense aided and abetted by one or more other persons.

Second-degree rape

A person is guilty of rape in the second degree if the person engages in vaginal intercourse with another person:

  1. By force and against the will of the other person; or
  2. Who is mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless, and the person performing the act knows or should reasonably know the other person is mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless.

First-degree sexual offense

A person is guilty of a sexual offense in the first degree if the person engages in a sexual act:

  1. With a victim who is a child under the age of 13 years and the defendant is at least 12 years old and is at least four years older than the victim; or
  2. With another person by force and against the will of the other person, and:
    1. Employs or displays a dangerous or deadly weapon or an article which the other person reasonably believes to be a dangerous or deadly weapon; or
    2. Inflicts serious personal injury upon the victim or another person; or
    3. The person commits the offense aided and abetted by one or more other persons.

Second-degree sexual offense

A person is guilty of a sexual offense in the second degree if the person engages in a sexual act with another person:

  1. By force and against the will of the other person; or
  2. Who is mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless, and the person performing the act knows or should reasonably know that the other person is mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless.

 

Sexual battery

A person is guilty of sexual battery if the person, for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse, engages in sexual contact with another person:

  1. By force and against the will of the other person; or
  2. Who is mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless, and the person performing the act knows or should reasonably know that the other person is mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless.
*14-27.8- A person may be prosecuted whether or not the victim is the person's legal spouse at the time of the commission of the alleged rape or sexual offense.
*14-27.10- The offense shall be completed upon proof of penetration. Penetration, however slight, is vaginal intercourse or anal intercourse.