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Dysart Willis

North Carolina teacher avoids prison on student sex charges

A sleepy North Carolina town southwest of Raleigh awoke with a start last fall. A Cherryville High School English teacher was accused of having sex with a student.

The 41-year-old teacher was charged with felony sexual activity with a student. According to recent news reports, she and her criminal defense attorney have reached an agreement with prosecutors that enables her to avoid any time in jail on the charge.

As part of the agreement, the former teacher agrees to relinquish her teaching license and to stay off of school property. She also agreed not to attend school functions.

If she complies with the terms of the agreement, U.S. News & World Report says she will have charges against her dismissed. Further, the charges will be removed from her record.

If she does not comply with the agreement, she will have to spend a minimum of 16 months and a maximum of 29 months behind bars in a state prison, the news report states.

According to a Shelby Star news article at the time of the arrest, the student and his parents reported to police that he and the teacher had sexual contact at her home. Afterwards, he said, she dropped him off at a pizza parlor and asked him not to tell anyone about what they had done.

In similar situations, an experienced criminal defense attorney can negotiate favorable terms with prosecutors. A plea agreement can acknowledge a mistake without resulting in prison time and the ruining of a person's life.