State v. Breathette

202 N.C. App. 697, 690 S.E.2d 1 (2010)

 

RULE:

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-202.1 only requires that the complainant be under the age of 16 years at the time of the defendant's conduct constituting the offense. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-202.1(a) and (b) (2009). There is no explicit mens rea requirement in § 14-202.1 as to the complainant's age.

FACTS:

Defendant appealed her convictions for taking indecent liberties with a minor, in violation of N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-202.1 (2009). She argued that the trial court erred by not giving the jury her requested instruction that mistake of age was a valid defense to the offense of indecent liberties. The court affirmed the trial court’s judgment.

ISSUE:

Was defendant's knowledge of the complainant's age an element of taking indecent liberties with a minor, making mistake of age a valid defense to the crime?

ANSWER:

No.

CONCLUSION:

Defendant's mistake as to the complainant's age was not a valid defense to a charge of taking indecent liberties with a minor under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-202.1. As the defense was inapplicable, the trial court properly refused to give defendant's proffered instruction on the defense.

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