Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Non-Monogamous Families and the Law, Part 34: Summary of North Carolina Laws

Author's Note:

Yes lads & gent's, that's right, posting in the middle of the week (-: I start winter break today, which means no work & no school for a few weeks, so I've got more time to really get this rolling. Expect a lot more updates over the next few days.

Also, with some states having some rather unique laws affecting non-monogamists, I've added a new section to my reviews. 'Other Related Laws'.

Enjoy!

- Jason

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Non-Monogamous Families and the Law, Part 34: Summary of North Carolina Laws

Adultery:

North Carolina contains both adultery and fornication laws (North Carolina State Legislature, 2011g). The laws affect both parties, and are liable as a class 2 misdemeanor (North Carolina State Legislature, 2011g), punishable by up to 30 days imprisonment and a fine up to $1,000 (North Carolina State Legislature, 2011k). Escalating punishments are applicable, with imprisonment extended up to 45 days for repeat offences up to the 4th repeat, and up to 60 days beyond that (North Carolina State Legislature, 2011k).

Unfortunately North Carolina law isn’t clear how all Inchoate laws apply, but both Solicitation and Attempt seem to apply at the class 3 misdemeanor level (North Carolina State Legislature, 2011b; North Carolina State Legislature, 2011c), punishable by up to 10 days, escalating to 15 and 20 days for repeats (North Carolina State Legislature, 2011k). Conspiracy doesn’t apply as adultery/fornication isn’t a felony (North Carolina State Legislature, 2011a). Though there are accessory laws, like with conspiracy, they don’t apply to adultery/fornication due to it not being a felony (North Carolina State Legislature, 2011d; North Carolina State Legislature, 2011e).

Bigamy:

Fortunately North Carolina bigamy law contains no purportation or cohabitation clause, however it is very specific to include any person “counseling, aiding or abetting” in a bigamous marriage within its liability (North Carolina State Legislature, 2011f). Bigamy is a class I felony (North Carolina State Legislature, 2011f), punishable by 4-6 months imprisonment, and an indeterminate fine (North Carolina State Legislature, 2011j). Escalation can extend imprisonment up to a maximum of 8-10 months for repeat offence (North Carolina State Legislature, 2011j).

Inchoate offences for bigamy apply in full, with conspiracy and attempt punishable at a class 1 misdemeanor level (North Carolina State Legislature, 2011a; (North Carolina State Legislature, 2011b), 1-45 days & indeterminate fine, escalation up to a max of 1-120 days for repeat (North Carolina State Legislature, 2011k), and solicitation at a class 2 misdemeanor level (North Carolina State Legislature, 2011c), 1-30 days, $1,000 fine, escalation up to 1-60 days for repeat (North Carolina State Legislature, 2011k). Accessory charges also apply, with before the fact being punishable at the same level (North Carolina State Legislature, 2011d), and after the fact being at the class 2 misdemeanor level (North Carolina State Legislature, 2011e).

Other Related Laws:

North Carolina also contains a law against men and women sharing a bedroom in a “hotel, public inn or boardinghouse for any immoral purpose.” (North Carolina State Legislature, 2011h) What defines immoral is indeterminate, however it can be assumed to extend the liability of adultery laws affecting non-monogamists. Additionally within the same law is a provision criminalizing the parties representing themselves as husband and wife, incorrectly, at the same locations (North Carolina State Legislature, 2011h). Punishment is at the class 2 misdemeanor level (North Carolina State Legislature, 2011h), and is the same as adultery/fornication.

Additionally there’s a law against “keeping a disorderly” or “bawdy” house (North Carolina State Legislature, 2011i), which is exceptionally vague. However the evidence that can be brought forth includes “general reputation or character” as well as “lewd, dissolute and boisterous conversation.” (North Carolina State Legislature, 2011i) This could be extended to non-dyadic households. Liability is at the class 2 misdemeanor level (North Carolina State Legislature, 2011i), same as adultery/fornication, however it is unclear if the homeowner or the resident is liable.

Round-Up of Laws:

With the adultery and fornication laws, even being unmarried doesn’t escape liability. The extensive inchoate laws also expand liability quite extensively through social networks, especially of polyamorous families. The addition of the sharing bedroom, married representation and disorderly house laws also expand liability, especially for non-dyadic non-monogamists who are most likely to face these laws. Thankfully there is no purportation or cohabitation clause in bigamy, sparing non-dyadic non-monogamous families the worst of bigamy liability.

Non-Monogamous Strategies:

Though there is no way to completely avoid liability, it can be minimized through not using inns, motels, etc with one’s partner(s), thus avoiding the room sharing and false representation laws. The disorderly/bawdy house law seems to be based on public reputation, so non-monogamists need to take extra care in how their public image is portrayed to avoid liability under this law.

References

North Carolina State Legislature. (2011a). Punishment for conspiracy to commit a felony. (North Carolina General Statutes 14-2.4). Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State Legislature.

North Carolina State Legislature. (2011b). Punishment for attempt to commit a felony or misdemeanor. (North Carolina General Statutes 14-2.5). Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State Legislature.

North Carolina State Legislature. (2011c). Punishment for solicitation to commit a felony or misdemeanor. (North Carolina General Statutes 14-2.6). Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State Legislature.

North Carolina State Legislature. (2011d). Accessory before fact punishable as principal felon. (North Carolina General Statutes 14-5.2). Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State Legislature.

North Carolina State Legislature. (2011e). Accessories after the fact; trial and punishment. (North Carolina General Statutes 14-7). Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State Legislature.

North Carolina State Legislature. (2011f). Bigamy. (North Carolina General Statutes 14-183). Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State Legislature.

North Carolina State Legislature. (2011g). Fornication and adultery. (North Carolina General Statutes 14-184). Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State Legislature.

North Carolina State Legislature. (2011h). Opposite sexes occupying same bedroom at hotel for immoral purposes; falsely registering as husband and wife. (North Carolina General Statutes 14-186). Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State Legislature.

North Carolina State Legislature. (2011i). Certain evidence relative to keepind disorderly houses admissible; keepers of such houses defined; punishment. (North Carolina General Statutes 14-188). Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State Legislature.

North Carolina State Legislature. (2011j). Punishment limits for each class of offence and prior record level. (North Carolina General Statutes 15A-1340.17). Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State Legislature.

North Carolina State Legislature. (2011k). Punishment limits for each class of offence and prior conviction level. (North Carolina General Statutes 15A-1340.23). Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State Legislature.

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