Crime Against Nature


North Carolina’s sex offense laws and statutes are constantly changing. This makes it extremely difficult to determine whether or not you could be charged with rape or many of other serious sex crimes. Considerably, North Carolina sex cases are extremely complex and involve heavy penalties. If you find yourself in a situation in which you are being investigated or charged with a sexual-related offense, it is vital that you speak to the criminal defense team at Jetton and Meredith. The skilled and experienced attorneys on our criminal defense team are here to preserve everything that you have worked so hard to build. Most importantly, the team at Jetton and Meredith have decades of experience dealing with hundreds of sex crime cases. Let us stop the mayhem and call our defense team today at 704.333.1114 to schedule your free consultation.

North Carolina General Statute § 14-177

Under North Carolina law, N.C.G.S. § 14-177, a person can be punished as a Class I felon if that person committed or shall commit the crime against nature, with mankind or beast.

In order to be convicted of this charge, penetration by or of a sexual organ is an essential element that must be proven beyond all reasonable doubt.

Additionally, the offense is interpreted broadly to include all forms of oral and anal sex, as well as unnatural acts with animals.

A class I felony (depending on a person’s prior criminal history) can carry a prison sentence between 3 and 12 months. Additionally, a conviction of a class I felony causes a person’s prior criminal history to rise to a level II.

What are some examples of a crime against nature?

  1. The inserting, by a male, of his sexual organ into the mouth or anus of another male or a female.
  2. The receiving, by a male or a female, of the sexual organ of a male into his or her mount or anus.
  3. Fellatio (oral stimulation of the male sexual organ).
  4. Cunnilingus (penetration of the female sexual organ by the tongue).
  5. Analingus (penetration of the anus by the tongue).
  6. The inserting of an object into a person’s genital opening.

Can I be charged with this crime after having sex with another person?

Yes, but it depends on the factual scenario that surrounds your charges. Pursuant to the United States Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas, the state cannot prosecute a crime against nature charge when adults of the same or opposite sex consensually commit one of the sex acts referenced above in private. The key word there is in private because the state could then prosecute under this charge if the conduct occurred in a public place. This would violate an individual’s liberty and interests protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

However, the North Carolina courts have held that the crime against nature statute is not unconstitutional on its face. Along with conduct occurring in a public place (sex act is not committed in a private residence or other private places), the state can prosecute a crime against nature charge when:

  • One of the parties is a minor;
  • One of the parties is an adult who had a mental disability or was incapacitated or physically helpless so as to be incapable of properly consenting;
  • One of the parties offers to commit or commits the sex act for money or other valuable consideration; or
  • One of the parties to the sex act is coerced into committing the act.

What is classified as a “public place” under this statute?

To clarify, the statute does not define what a public place is. Under these circumstances, North Carolina courts have interpreted a public place to be open or available for all to use, share, or enjoy. For example, a parking lot is available for all to use and is thus a public place. Additionally, a public place is a place that is viewable from any location open to the view of the public at large.

If I am convicted of this charge, do I have to register as a sex offender?

Under North Carolina law, this offense does not trigger the statutory requirements for registering as a sex offender.