One or more of these charges may be used to prosecute violations of the North Carolina Age of Consent, as statutory rape or the North Carolina equivalent of that charge. If you believe you have violated North Carolina's age of consent law, you should speak to a criminal defense lawyer immediately. Prosecution for these sort of crimes carries very serious criminal and civil penalties. Thus, it can be assumed that the same rules apply to same-sex couples as they do to opposite sex couples. This is particularly the case in a state with such broad close-in-age provisions. In the United States, the age of consent is the minimum age at which an individual is considered legally old enough to consent to participation in sexual activity.