Is Groping a Crime in North Carolina?

Charlotte Criminal Lawyer Brad Smith answers the question: “If I am charged by campus police could I still face jail time or probation?”


Groping, or touching someone’s body for sexual pleasure against that person’s will is considered a crime in North Carolina. Groping is a form of sexual battery, which is treated as a serious offense and carries long-term consequences for the offender.

Some of the penalties for groping – as well as other forms of sexual battery – include being placed on the North Carolina Sex Offender Registry and having a permanent criminal record.

These consequences can haunt the offender for the rest of his or her life and may have a negative impact on career, reputation, and quality of life. If you are being accused of groping or any other sex crimes, you need to retain a detail-oriented Charlotte criminal defense attorney to build a strong defense.


florence-night-club-sexual-battery-charges-Charlotte-Monroe-Lake-Norman-Criminal-Defense-Lawyer-300x225Woman Groped in Charlotte

Earlier this month, WCNC reported that a woman was groped outside the Epicentre in Charlotte. The 28-year-old woman was on her way to the light rail when the incident occurred.

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department launched an investigation in the alleged sexual battery case. The crime occurred just before 11 p.m. on East Trade Street. The woman was walking alone when a man approached her and grabbed her crotch. The case is now being investigated as a sexual battery.

It is not the only crime that has taken place outside the Epicentre in recent months. There has been a deadly shooting involving a police officer outside the Charlotte hotspot. In a separate crime, a doctor was killed by a stray bullet.

According to the same report, CMPD crime mapping shows that more than 140 crimes have occurred within a half-mile of the Epicentre in the past month, including two robberies and 22 assaults.


What is Sexual Battery in North Carolina?

How does North Carolina law define “sexual battery”? Sexual battery is engaging in sexual contact (e.g., groping) with the victim (a) against her/his will or (b) through the use of force for the purpose of:

  • Sexual arousal
  • Sexual abuse
  • Sexual gratification

An offender can be charged with sexual battery even if the victim is mentally incapacitated, physically helpless, or disabled (and the offender knew or should have known this).

Besides groping, sexual contact refers to:

  • Touching the victim’s private area, breasts, groin, crotch, buttocks, or sex organs;
  • Touching the victim with one’s own buttocks, penis, anus, breast, or groin; and
  • Ejaculating or placing urine or feces on the victim.

Examples of sexual battery in North Carolina include:

  • Groping
  • Grabbing the victim’s breast or sex organs
  • Touching the victim’s buttocks
  • Forcing a kiss on the victim’s mouth
  • Slapping the victim
  • Forcing the victim to touch one’s body parts


Is Sexual Battery the Same as Sexual Assault?

Although sexual battery falls into the category of sexual assault crimes in North Carolina, it is not as serious as being accused of sexual assault or rape in the state. Sexual assault crimes are charged as felonies, while a sexual battery is a misdemeanor in North Carolina. The crime of rape requires vaginal penetration.

Speak with a Charlotte criminal defense attorney if you are accused of a sexual battery, sexual assault, or rape in North Carolina. Let our lawyers from Arnold & Smith, PLLC, investigate your case, and build a solid defense. Call at 704-370-2828 to explore your legal options or fill out our contact form. Now taking cases throughout North Carolina with offices in Uptown Charlotte, Mooresville and our new location in Monroe.







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