Sodomy Or Crime Against Nature FAQ

What is Sodomy or "Crime Against Nature" Statutes in North Carolina?

North Carolina is one of the few states that archaically criminalize certain types of consensual sexual behavior, including oral sex, regardless of the gender or sexual orientation of the participants. For example, even married heterosexual couples participating in consensual oral sex are committing the North Carolina felony of Crime Against Nature.

These laws were first brought into the criminal code, ironically, by England's often married King Henry 8 th and incorporated in North Carolina statutes in 1868.

In short, the law of North Carolina mandates that "If any person shall commit the crime against nature with man or beast, he shall be punished as Class I felon."

After centuries of this law being on the books, the courts finally held that this law was not enforceable if the activity occurred in private. However, if it occurs in public or other factors are present, it can still be prosecuted.

What acts are included in this broad Felony of Crime Against Nature?

Subsequent case law has construed this to include:

  • Male inserting penis into mouth or anus of another
  • Fellatio - oral simulation of penis
  • Cunnilingus - penetration of female organ by tongue
  • Analingus - penetration of anus by tongue
  • Inserting object into person's genital opening such as vibrators

What are the consequences of Felony Crime Against Nature?

People convicted of violating this law are branded as felons and lose the right to vote, bear arms etc. While few of these cases are every prosecuted to conclusion in courts, authorities often prosecute "Soliciting Crime Against Nature" cases, which is a Class 1 Misdemeanor. If you are convicted of this offense, you will have a criminal record (which will include embarrassing details and identifying information including jail photos) for employers, co-workers, customers & clients and all other members of your community to see.

What should I do if I am charged with a Crime Against Nature-related offense?

People charged with this offense should seek an experienced lawyer who will pursue a dismissal of these cases by exploring avenues of defense, such as:

  • Was the conduct witnessed by a competent witness?
  • Did the conduct occur in private?
  • Was the solicitation for an activity to occur in private?
  • Does the defendant have a clean record?
  • Does the defendant have good standing in the community?
  • Can terms be negotiated for a dismissal?
  • Was the defendant enticed or entrapped into violating this law?