Forcible rape is one of the most serious sexual offenses in North Carolina. It is generally defined as engaging in vaginal intercourse with another person without their consent. Here, we discuss the two charges of forcible rape in North Carolina in more detail: first-degree and second-degree.
First-Degree Forcible Rape
The most serious of the forcible rape crimes is first-degree forcible rape. Under N.C.G.L. § 14-27.21, first-degree forcible rape is when a person engages in vaginal intercourse with another person by force and against their will while doing any of the following:
- Using, threatening to use, or displaying a dangerous or deadly weapon or something the victim believes to be a dangerous or deadly weapon;
- Inflicting serious personal injury upon the victim or another person; or
- Committing the offense aided and abetted by one or more others.
First-degree forcible rape is a Class B1 felony, and those found guilty will be punished with at least twelve years in prison and up to life without parole.
Second-Degree Forcible Rape
While slightly less severe than a first-degree charge, second-degree forcible rape is still an extremely serious crime in North Carolina. Under N.C.G.L. § 14-27.22, second-degree forcible rape is when a person engages in vaginal intercourse:
- With another person by force and against the will of the other person; or
- With a person who has a mental disability or who is mentally incapacitated or physically helpless. (The person performing the act must either know or should reasonably know of the victim’s mental disability or incapacity.)
Examples of second-degree forcible rape include forced vaginal intercourse with an unconscious victim or a mentally disabled one.
Second-degree forcible rape is a Class C1 felony, and those found guilty will be punished with forty-four months to possibly fifteen years or more in prison.
As the punishments for both types of forcible rape crimes are severe, reach out to an experienced North Carolina criminal defense attorney if you’re facing a charge.