Commonly Raised Questions and Issues in Forceable Rape Cases

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Forceable rape cases are often very complex and bring up numerous questions. It is imperative that you speak to an experienced and knowledgeable attorney if you have been charged or are being investigated for forceable rape. Some of the most commonly seen issues and questions are:

  1. What is Serious Personal Injury?

In North Carolina, serious personal injury may be proven by showing either mental injury or bodily injury, or a combination of both. Serious physical injury is generally shown by some bruising or other physical visible injury to the person’s body after the forceable rape took place. According to North Carolina case law, State v. Baker, 336 N.C. 58, serious mental injury must extend for some appreciable time beyond the crime itself and must be an injury beyond that normally experienced in every forceable rape or sexual offense.

  1. Voluntary Intoxication as a Defense.

It is important to know that under current North Carolina law, if the victim voluntarily drank or took some controlled substance or consented to being given alcohol or some controlled substance, their state of intoxication will not satisfy the statute for second-degree forceable rape, so long as it does not rise to the level of unconsciousness or physically helpless. This means that the mere mental effects of alcohol or some controlled substance voluntarily ingested will not render the victim mentally incapacitated under N.C.G.S. 14-27.20(2)

  1. Statutes are Gender Neutral.

North Carolina no longer makes forceable rape one-sided when it comes to gender. Under the current statutes it does not matter whether the victim is male or female or whether you are a male or female.

  1. Same-Sex Situations.

While the statute is gender neutral in whether or not the victim is male or female and whether the defendant is male or female, it does require the victim and the defendant to be of the opposite gender. In order to be convicted of rape, the government must prove that vaginal intercourse took place, any other kind of intercourse is defined as a sexual at and would be punished as a forceable sexual offense. Find more information about sexual offenses here.

  1. Attempted Forceable Rape.

If the government cannot prove that a forceable rape took place, but can prove that you attempted to commit the crime of forceable rape, they may still proceed under the crime of attempted forceable rape. If they are successful you would be punished at either a class B2 felony for first-degree, or a class D felony for second-degree cases.

  1. The Rape Shield Rule.

North Carolina Rules of Evidence, Rule 412, otherwise known as the rape shield law, applies to all rape and sexual offense cases in North Carolina. This means that your attorney will have to have a good understanding of this rule and how it applies to your particular case.

  1. Victim Doesn’t Want to Prosecute.

It does not matter if the victim does not want to press charges or prosecute this kind of case in North Carolina, especially after you have been charged and/or arrested. In North Carolina the decision to prosecute or not prosecute any particular charge is left up to the District Attorney’s office in the county in which the crime occurred.

  1. Marsy’s Law, or the Victim’s Right’s Amendment.

Yes, Marsy’s law does come into play when you are charged with forceable rape. This means that the victim will have a right to be heard by the judge during a sentencing hearing, even if you are pleading guilty, as well as be present and potentially heard during other important junctions of your case as it moves through the criminal justice process.

  1. Relationship Status.

Unlike some other forms of rape, see our article on statutory rape, your relationship status with the victim does not matter here. You can be convicted of forceable rape if you were in a relationship or married to the victim, and even if you still are.

  1. Doctrine of Recent Possession.

If you are charged with another kind of crime, for instance a larceny or theft related crime, along with a forceable rape, the fact that you were found in possession of recently stolen property may be considered by the jury as evidence that you committed the rape.


If you have been accused of either first-degree or second-degree forceable rape, it is important that you speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The complexity and severity of forceable rape cases makes it event more important that you speak to an experienced and knowledgeable attorney who can help you navigate this difficult process. The criminal defense team at Jetton and Meredith is ready to help you today, call 704.333.1114 to schedule your free consultation.