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Legal definitions of sexual assault in North Carolina

Avoiding charges of sexual assault or rape in North Carolina becomes much easier when one understands what the legal definitions are in the state.

According to the NC General Statute 14-27 First Degree Rape is defined as vaginal intercourse with a child younger than 13 when the defendant is at least 12 and at least four years older than the victim; and with any other person against their will and by force and:

-- uses a deadly or dangerous weapon;

-- an item that the victim reasonably believes to be a deadly or dangerous weapon;

-- inflicts serious personal injury on the victim or someone else, by one or more people.

The same state statute defines Second Degree Rape as vaginal intercourse with another person against their will and by force if their victim is;

-- Mentally incapacitated, mentally defective or physically helpless, and the one performing this act knows or should reasonably know that the other person is mentally or physically unable to help themselves.

First Degree Sexual Assault occurs when someone engages in a sexual act:

-- with a child under 13 years old if the perpetrator is at least 12 years old and at least four years older than their victim;

-- with anyone else against their will and by force;

-- uses a deadly or dangerous weapon or an item that their victim reasonably believes is a deadly or dangerous weapon;

-- inflicts serious personal injury on the victim or someone else, by one or more people;

-- commits the offense aided and abetted by one or more people.

Under the same criminal statute, charges of Second Degree Sexual Assault can be pressed if one engages in a sexual act against another's will and by using force with:

-- a mentally or physically incapacitated victim, or one with a mental deficiency when the perpetrator knows or reasonably should know of their physical or mental incapacitation.

Under NC General Statute 14-27, charges of Statutory Rape can be levied against someone when they engage in any sex act or vaginal intercourse with a minor aged 13 - 15 when the other person is no fewer than six years older, unless they are legally married to the other person.

Anyone facing such charges should seek advice from a qualified legal professional.

Source: Appalachian State University, "Definitions of Rape and Sexual Assault" Dec. 14, 2014

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