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Sex Crimes Attorney

If you have been accused of a sex offense in North Carolina, or have already been arrested, the best thing you can do is contact a seasoned sex crimes defense lawyer. These are serious accusations that you need to address immediately. Sex offender registration, prison time, and irreparable damage to your reputation are all on the line but do not assume these allegations mean a conviction. You are innocent until proven guilty, and there are steps you can take to protect yourself.

With decades of experience and an impressive trial record in North Carolina, Wilmington criminal defense attorney Thom Goolsby can preserve your rights, investigate what happened, and fight to clear your name. As soon as you become aware of a sex crime investigation, contact Attorney Thom Goolsby. He offers free initial consultations, where he will listen to what happened, walk you through the process, and explain what comes next.

Call (910) 763–3339, send a text or contact us online.

How to Fight Sex Offense Accusations

Never Speak to the Police Without Your Lawyer

You should not talk to the police on your own, whether you have been arrested or not. You might think that if you talk to the officer, you can clear up the misunderstanding. This is seldom the case. Sex crime detectives many times hear what they wish to hear, know how to manipulate your answers and can misrepresent the evidence they claim to have. Answering police questions without an attorney is the dumbest thing you can do. It leads to more problems than benefits.

If the police contact you about a sex crime allegation against you, tell them you are happy to cooperate, but you must speak with a lawyer first. Get the officer’s name and contact information and tell them your attorney will reach out.

If you are arrested, you can and should invoke your right to remain silent. However, this requires telling an officer you are invoking your right to remain silent. If you simply do not speak, an officer can keep peppering you with questions. Tell the officer clearly and politely that you are invoking your right to remain silent, and you wish to contact a lawyer.

Sex Crimes in North Carolina

Sex crimes in North Carolina are among the most aggressively pursued and emotionally charged offenses out there. The punishments are harsh, and even the allegation can take a toll on your life. If you are accused of any of the following, call a sex crimes attorney right away:

Sexual Battery

Under N.C. Gen. Stat. §14-27.33, you can be charged with a Class A1 misdemeanor for sexual battery if, for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification, or abuse, you engaged in sexual contact with another person by force and against that person’s will or who has a mental disability or was mentally or physically helpless, and you knew or reasonably should have known.

Sexual Assault

In North Carolina, the laws for sexual assault and rape are virtually identical. You can be charged with first- or second-degree forcible rape (NCGS §14-27.21 and §14-27.22) or first- or second-degree forcible sexual offense(NCGS §14-27.26 and §14-27.27). Forcible rape involves non-consensual vaginal intercourse and charged as a Class B1 or C felony, depending on the circumstances. Forcible sexual offense charges refer to any other non-consensual penetration or sex act, such as oral or anal sex. This is also either a Class B1 or C felony and can be against an adult or a child.

Statutory Rape

You will be charged with statutory rape if you are an adult and have sexual contact or intercourse with a minor. Statutory rape does not depend on force or consent, age is the only factor. The age of consent in North Carolina is 16 years old. Therefore, minors under the law are typically 15 or younger, though there are exceptions.

You may be charged with statutory rape of a child by an adult (NCGS §14-27.23), first-degree statutory rape (§14-27.24), statutory rape of a person who is 15 or younger (§14-27.25), statutory sexual offense with a child by an adult (§14-27.28), or statutory sexual offense with a person who is 15 or younger (§14-27.30). Depending on the victim’s age and other factors, statutory rape in NC is charged as either a Class B1 or C felony.

Child Pornography

Depending on the circumstances, you can face charges for possession of child pornography, a Class H felony known as third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor (§14-190.17A), copying or distributing child pornography, a Class E felony known as second-degree exploitation of a minor (§14-190.17), or production of child pornography, which is the Class C felony first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor (§14-190.16).


This is the transmission of sexually explicit text messages, usually involving nude photos of the participants. While adults are free to send such materials to other consenting adults, if minors are involved in the sending or receiving of explicit conduct, it can lead to criminal charges for disseminating harmful material to minors under the state’s child pornography statutes.


“I lost my carry concealed permit due to the misapplication of the law by law enforcement. My guns were taken from my home, and my permit was suspended. Thank you Thom Goolsby for standing up for the Second Amendment and my gun rights. You corrected the mistake of law enforcement, and I got my permit back. I appreciate your skill and advocacy.”

- Criminal Defense Client

“Thank you for walking me through the process for getting my open container and underage possession of alcohol charges dismissed. You arranged for a very simple deferred prosecution. It was easy to comply, and my record is now clean. I appreciate your excellent help!”

- Criminal Defense Client

I am so happy I hired him. I was charged with drug and paraphernalia possession. As a college student, I could not have these convictions on my record. I am so thankful I had Senator Goolsby representing me. He went into court, worked out a wonderful solution, and my charges were dropped.

- Criminal Defense Client

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Penalties for North Carolina Sex Offenses

A sex crime’s severity is heavily dependent on if it is considered a misdemeanor or a felony.


Misdemeanor Sex Crimes

North Carolina misdemeanors are classed as A1, 1, 2, or 3. Your possible sentence is based on the North Carolina Misdemeanor Punishment Chart, which imposes a range of penalties based on the seriousness of the offense and your prior conviction level (I, II, or III).

The class and prior conviction level dictate the possible active, intermediate, or community punishment a judge can sentence you to. Class A1 misdemeanors are the most serious. In cases of an A1 sexual battery charge, if convicted, you can be fined and jailed for up to 60, 75, or 150 days, depending on your prior conviction level.


Felony Sex Crimes

Felonies fall into 10 classes—A, B1, B2, C, D, E, F, G, H, and I. Class I felonies are the lowest category. Class A felonies are the highest and most harshly punished. If convicted, your sentence is based on North Carolina’s Felony Punishment Chart, which considers the class and your prior record level (levels I-VI).

When considering felony sentencing, there will be a presumptive range of incarceration, a mitigated range, and an aggravated range depending on the aggravating or mitigating factors involved. There are also overall maximum and minimum sentences a judge must adhere to.

Sex Offender Registration

Certain individuals in North Carolina who have been convicted of a sex crime or an offense involving a minor must register and remain compliant with the North Carolina Sex Offender and Public Protection Registration Programs. This means registering within three days of being released from custody and notifying the appropriate law enforcement agency in the county where you reside.

Once you are registered as a sex offender, your name, photo, address, conviction, and other personal information will be online and available to the public. How long you must register and how often you have to update your information with the local police depends on your specific conviction and which federal tier you fall into (I, II, or III).

In some circumstances, you may even be labeled a sexual predator. This is reserved for those convicted of a sexually violent offense and suffering from a personality disorder or mental abnormality. A court determines this classification through a mental health evaluation. This mandates you to verify your registration every 90 days and live with various restrictions.

For example, you cannot work or volunteer for activities involving children. You also cannot have a job where children are present, or if your duties require you to instruct, supervise, or care for a minor. You also cannot hold or perform any activity at your home where you would accept a minor into your care or custody.

If you fail to properly register or renew your information, you can be charged with the additional crime of failure to register, a Class F felony (NCGS 14-208.11). Sex offender registration is extremely harsh and carries an often life-long stigma. You should speak with a sex crimes lawyer about the possibility of sex offender registration and how to defend yourself against a conviction.

Statute of Limitations for Sex Crimes

North Carolina does not have a specific statute of limitations for various sexual offenses. Because a prosecutor is not bound by a statute of limitations when it comes to sex crimes, you could face charges years after an event allegedly occurred. No matter how long it has been since the alleged offense, call a sex crimes lawyer right away.

  • Thom Goolsby has been selected as a top 100 trial lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association

Seasoned Prosecutors Will Handle Your Sex Crime Case

Serious sex crime allegations are not assigned to the new, young staff members in the district attorney’s office. The most experienced and successful prosecutors handle them. These attorneys know what they are doing. They know the ins and outs of the law and the best strategies for obtaining convictions—including the best strategy for getting you to accept a plea agreement.

When a seasoned prosecutor tries your case, you need a criminal defense attorney with equal or greater experience. Thom Goolsby has nearly three decades of criminal defense experience and has taken hundreds of criminal cases to trial. He knows these prosecutors, how they operate, what they look for in sex crime cases, and what it takes to obtain the best possible outcome for his clients.

We aggressively pursue every option that is in your interest, but we never shy away from the courtroom. We prepare every case as if a trial is inevitable. This demonstrates that you are serious about defending yourself and affords you all the benefits of a trial, like discovery, scrutinizing the evidence, and facing your accuser. Sex crime accusations can be contentious and emotionally challenging; however, veteran trial attorney Thom Goolsby will fight for you to receive a fair and unbiased shot in and out of court.

Goolsby Law Firm Case Results

  • Criminal

    Assault Charge Dismissed

    Recently, an individual in North Carolina found himself in some trouble when he was charged with assault after an incident at a nightclub. The individual denied assaulting the club’s bouncer, but still faced the criminal charges, so he reached out…

  • Criminal

    Veteran Facing Criminal Charges Found Not Guilty of Two Offenses

    When a disabled veteran was found with drug paraphernalia and marijuana in his vehicle, he was arrested and charged. To make matters worse, the officer who stopped him also charged the man with DWI (driving while impaired) and open container…

  • DWI

    Driving Charge Dismissed, DWI Charge Reduced in NC

    Recently, a Goolsby Law Firm client was charged with multiple offenses, including careless and reckless driving and driving while impaired (DWI). Upon BAC (blood alcohol content) testing, the individual returned a result of .19%. Knowing the effect a conviction on…

  • Assault

    Criminal Case Involving Multiple Charges Dismissed

    An individual was recently charged with multiple criminal offenses, including: Assault on a female Interfering with 911 emergency communications During their arrest, firearms and ammunition were seized at his residence. Maintaining their innocence and wanting to avoid a conviction, the…

  • Drug Crimes

    Multiple Charges Dropped in Criminal Case

    A Goolsby Law Firm client faced harsh statutory and collateral consequences when she was charged with the following offenses: Possession of drugs Driving while her license is revoked Fictitious tag No vehicle inspection No registration To further complicate matters, the…

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Contact a Wilmington, NC Sex Crimes Attorney

By having an experienced defense attorney on your side, you can be confident that your due process rights are protected, and you’ll get the opportunity to set the record straight. At The Goolsby Law Firm, you will have someone to protect you from over-zealous police who may misconstrue your statements or intimidate you into giving a false account or saying anything they can use against you in court.

Don’t try to handle sex crime accusations on your own. We offer free consultations and will be in touch as soon as possible. Call (910) 763–3339, send a text, or contact us online. Attorney Thom Goolsby is here to listen and ready to help.

Free consultations 24/7

Contact Goolsby Law Firm Today

Call 910-763-3339 Now Or Use Our Online Form

    “This is what I do. This is what I love. I care about my clients. I will help you.”

    212 Walnut St. Suite 100
    Wilmington, North Carolina 28401

    Like any quality criminal defense attorney, Thom Goolsby may be in court when you first call, but leave a voice mail or send a text. We’ll get with you as soon as possible, so we can go over what happened, evaluate the case, and explain what comes next.