Anyone faced with a sex crime charge in North Carolina faces serious consequences if they are convicted. And with action taken recently by the General Assembly, the stakes have been raised even higher, at least for certain individuals who work around students in the state’s school systems.
Lawmakers gave final approval late last month to the measure and the governor reportedly signed it into law this week. As a result of the action what was once the most severe misdemeanor sex crime charge is now a felony.
Those most affected by the law are expected to be substitute teachers, custodians and school bus drivers. Specifically, it applies to personnel who may be within four years of age of alleged crime victims. If they are accused and convicted of engaging in sex acts or taking indecent liberties with students, they face increased penalties.
The law’s provisions against indecent liberties apply to personnel at private and charter schools as well as public schools. Supporters of the legislation tout the fact that by making the offense a felony it could make it harder for anyone convicted of such actions to find work in any other school.
In addition to harsher penalties, the law also requires higher education institutions in the state to obtain a list of any student or employee who is a registered sex offender.
Being convicted of any crime is serious. But in the case of an alleged sex offense matters tend to be magnified. A conviction means you have a record that could hinder your options for the rest of your life. But even the mere accusation has a way of casting a pall over your life. An experienced attorney’s help tends to be crucial in mitigating possible damage.
Source: WRAL.com, “Bill changes crime for sex by NC school worker with student,” AP, May 28, 2015; TWC News, “Gov. McCrory Signs Bills Focusing on Student and Public Safety,” June 2, 2015