State v. Bryant, ___ N.C. App. ___, 804 S.E.2d 563 (Aug. 15, 2017)

(1) In calculating prior record level, the trial court did not err by concluding that the defendant’s South Carolina conviction for criminal sexual conduct in the third degree was substantially similar to the North Carolina Class C felonies of second-degree forcible rape and second-degree forcible sex offense. The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the South Carolina conviction could be a violation of either second-degree forcible rape or second-degree forcible sexual offense, but not both because North Carolina’s rape statute only applies to vaginal intercourse and the sexual offense statute specifically excludes vaginal intercourse. This argument was “a distinction without a difference.” (2) Over a dissent, the court held that the trial court erred by concluding that the defendant’s South Carolina conviction for criminal sexual conduct in the first degree was substantially similar to the North Carolina Class BI felonies of statutory rape of a child by an adult and statutory sex offense with the child by an adult. These offenses are not substantially similar due to their disparate age requirements. Specifically, although both North Carolina statutes require that the offender be at least 18 years old, a person of any age may violate the South Carolina statute. Also, the North Carolina statutes apply to victims under the age of 13, while South Carolina’s protects victims who are less than 11 years old. Thus, the North Carolina and South Carolina statutes apply to different offenders and different victims and are not substantially similar.

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