If you’ve been charged with a sex crime in Morehead City, your future and freedom may be in jeopardy. The jail sentences for sex crimes are severe and do not end after the convicted individual leaves the prison cell. Being accused of a sex crime can result in lengthy, if not lengthy, public shaming that can make finding employment and housing difficult.
Attorney Joel Hancock of Hancock Law Firm, PLLC understands that sex offense charges often arise from false allegations or misunderstandings. If you’ve been charged with a sex offense in Morehead City, you’ll benefit from hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney. Joel Hancock is prepared to carefully investigate the circumstances of the charges you’re facing and develop an effective, persuasive legal defense.
Defending Against Rape Charges in Morehead City
Under North Carolina law, rape is defined as forcing another person to have vaginal intercourse against her will. There are two degrees of rape. First-degree rape is a more serious charge that involves forced intercourse involving a dangerous or deadly weapon, or if the alleged victim or another person suffered a serious injury, or another person aided and abetted the rape.
Prosecutors can also bring first-degree rape charges when the defendant is 12 or older and is four or more years older than a victim who is younger than 13 when the allegation doesn’t meet the criteria of “statutory rape.” In North Carolina, first-degree rape is considered a Class B1 felony.
When the rape doesn’t qualify as first-degree rape, or the alleged victim couldn’t legally give consent due to being mentally or physically incapacitated or helpless, or mentally disabled, prosecutors can bring second-degree rape charges. These charges are considered a Class C felony.
First-Degree Sexual Act
Any sexual act which meets the criteria as first-degree rape but isn’t vaginal intercourse is called a first-degree sexual offense. A sexual act is defined as non-vaginal penetration, such as forced anal or oral sex. This crime carries the same penalties as first-degree rape. When a sexual act other than vaginal intercourse occurs under the same circumstances as a second-degree rape, the defendant can be charged with a second-degree sexual offense.
Statutory rape occurs when a victim is younger than 13 and thus can’t provide legal consent to sex. When a suspect is 18 or older, any vaginal intercourse is considered rape by law. Statutory rape is a class B1 felony in North Carolina but can carry additional penalties. The minimum jail sentence is 300 months.
Sexual Exploitation of a Minor
Generally, sexual exploitation of a minor involves child pornography. If you’re accused of the following acts, you will likely face Class C felony charges:
- Using a child to engage in sexual activity for a live performance
- Permitting a child to participate in a sexual performance or recording
- Filming or photographing the sexual activity of a child for sale
The following acts are considered Class E felony charges:
- Recording, filming, or photographic a minor engaging in a sexual activity that isn’t for sale
- Distributing or requesting such material
Possession of child pornography is considered a Class H felony.
Unconsented sexual contact, such as touching the breast, anus, genitals, groin, or buttocks, is considered sexual battery. Prosecutors must prove the defendant performed the acts for the purpose of sexual gratification, arousal, or abuse. In North Carolina, sexual battery is a Class A1 misdemeanor.
Indecent exposure occurs when a person exposes his or her private parts in public. Generally, this crime is charged as a Class 2 misdemeanor. When the exposure occurs in the presence of a child younger than 16 for sexual gratification, the crime is considered a Class H felony.
Registering As a Sex Offender in Morehead City
Those convicted of specific types of sex crimes in North Carolina are required to register as sex offenders. Registered sex offenders are subject to significant limitations on freedoms, such as not being allowed to live in certain neighborhoods and work in specific occupations. There is also a social stigma associated with registered sex offenders that can strain personal and professional relationships. If you’re facing a sex crime charge or are already on the sex offender registry, attorney Joel Hancock can help you understand your rights.
Legal Defenses Against Sex Crime Charges
When facing allegations of a sex crime, the case scenario is for the court to dismiss the charges against you or to avoid facing charges altogether. Joel Hancock will immediately begin pursuing the best outcome possible in your case after you hire him. He will investigate the accusations against you and your relationship with the alleged victim. During the investigation, he will speak to any alleged witnesses and mutual friends and investigate all available evidence, including text messages, videos, emails, photos, social media content, direct messages, and more.
He will also carefully look into the police investigation against you. If the police violated your Constitutional rights, he may be able to successfully petition the court to dismiss evidence gathered from the unconstitutional search or seizure. After thoroughly investigating your case, we will develop a legal defense strategy tailored to the facts of your unique case. The defense strategy may depend on mistaken identity, a constitutional violation, or the fact that the alleged victim consents to the sexual act. We may be able to prove the accuser lacks credibility or had an ulterior motive for accusing you.
Discuss Your Case with a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney
Attorney Joel Hancock has the skill and experience to fight serious state and felony sex crime charges for clients in Morehead City and throughout North Carolina. He has extensive experience defending against sexual battery, sexual assault, child pornography, and other sex crimes in North Carolina. He will work diligently to help you avoid the lasting consequences of a sex crime conviction. Don’t hesitate to contact Hancock Law Firm, PLLC to schedule a complimentary case evaluation with a skilled attorney.