This is because North Carolina has a marital exemption to the state’s statutory rape laws.However, if Tony were to rape Jen (force her to have sex against her will), he would have no protection under the law even if the two are married.Thus, a 14 year old and a 17 year old can consent to have sexual activity without fear of prosecution.
Penalties depend on the ages of the defendant and victim, and the conduct that occurred, as described below.
First degree rape includes vaginal intercourse between a minor who is 12 or younger, and a defendant who is 12 or older at least four years older than the victim.
Named after Shakespeare’s young lovers, “Romeo and Juliet” exceptions are intended to prevent serious criminal charges against teenagers who engage in consensual sex with others close to their own age.
In North Carolina, there is a Romeo and Juliet exemption for consensual sex between a minor of any age and someone who is no more than four years older than the minor.
Minors are legally incapable of giving consent to having sex; so for example, if Jen, a 15 year old willingly has sex with Tony, her 23 year old boyfriend, Tony can be charged with rape, since Jen is not legally capable of giving consent in the first place.
But if Jen and Tony are and living in Alaska, Tony need not fear criminal charges for having consensual sex with Jen.Defendants accused of statutory rape often claim that they had no reason to know that their partner was underage.They may argue that the victim herself represented that she was older than she was, and that a reasonable person would have believed her.Those who break the law have committed statutory rape.Statutory rape laws are premised on the assumption that minors are incapable of giving informed consent to sexual activities.But as in most states, in North Carolina even a reasonable mistake of age is not a defense to statutory rape.