Brigantine Sexual Assault Defense Lawyer

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    Sexual assault includes an array of crimes such as rape (aggravated sexual assault), child molestation, criminal sexual contact, and many other criminal charges of a sexual nature in New Jersey. Unfortunately, the amount of stigma associated with sex crimes can cause even close family members, friends, and the media to jump to conclusions before all the facts are in.

    The consequences of being convicted of sexual assault can be extremely harsh. Depending on the precise nature of the offense and how everything allegedly happened, you might be convicted of a serious felony and sentenced to a lengthy prison term. You might also have to register as a sex offender. The exact time a convicted defendant spends in prison may vary, but it is not usual for convicted defendants to go to prison for many years, even decades, in some cases. Our attorneys can help you fight your charges. We can challenge the evidence against you or dispute the claim that there was no consent. If you or someone you know has been arrested for sexual assault, call our attorneys immediately.

    At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our experienced sexual assault defense lawyers can be reached at (609) 616-4956 for a free, private evaluation of your case.

    What are the Consequences of a Sexual Assault Conviction in Brigantine?

    Upon conviction, New Jersey law punishes sex crimes extremely harshly. Lengthy prison sentences are not uncommon for sex crimes. However, the prison sentence represents only one aspect of the punishment that can be imposed on convicted sex offenders.

    One of the most widely known consequences of a sex conviction is one’s mandatory registration on a sex offender registry as part of Megan’s Law. Under Megan’s Law, the sex offender must register with certain public agencies. Additionally, if the individual wishes to move or relocate, they must notify the appropriate agency of this decision. Errors, mistakes, and other lapses regarding one’s registration and reporting obligations can result in the individual facing additional criminal charges.

    Individuals who were convicted of certain sex offenses prior to January 14, 2004 were sentenced to serve community supervision for life (CSL). Under CSL, the convicted individual is subject to at least 15 years of supervision, as if the individual were on parole. Under CSL, the individual must submit to restrictions and programs, including counseling and limits on where they can travel, live, and work. Violation of CSL provisions can result in additional criminal charges and additional prison time.

    For individuals sentenced on certain sex offender charges following January 13, 2004, these individuals are subject to parole supervision for life (PSL). PSL is similar to CSL in terms of restrictions, obligations, and even the potential for additional prison time.

    Other consequences of a sex crime conviction can include restrictions on one’s internet use and ability to express oneself online. Our experienced team fights to protect you from these and other serious consequences associated with a sex offender conviction.

    How Long of a Prison Sentence Can You Get for Sexual Assault?

    The length of a potential prison sentence largely depends upon the crime’s classification. In New Jersey, felonies are known as indictable offenses. Indictable offenses are serious crimes that carry a prison sentence of at least one year. The degrees of indictable offenses and potential sentences include:

    • Fourth-degree crimes – One convicted of a fourth-degree crime can be ordered to serve up to 18 months in prison. A fine of up to $10,000 can also be imposed.
    • Third-degree crime – Individuals facing third-degree criminal charges can, upon conviction, be sentenced to three to five years in prison. A fine of up to $15,000 can also apply.
    • Second-degree crime – Crimes of the second degree can, after conviction, be sentenced to a prison term of three to five years. A fine of up to $150,000 can also be imposed. Note that this fine is significantly greater than the fine opposed at the previous level – 10 times greater.
    • First-degree crimes – This is the most serious level of crime in the State of New Jersey. Most first-degree crimes can be punished with a prison sentence of 10 to 20 years. Certain especially egregious offenses can receive more prison time. An individual convicted of a first-degree indictable offense can also face a monetary penalty of up to $200,000.

    If you are facing criminal charges for sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, and other sex crimes, you face serious allegations that can have life-altering effects.

    How to Fight Sexual Assault Charges in Brigantine

    Your attorney can help you develop legal strategies and defense tactics that are the most effective for your case. No two cases are exactly the same, and your defense should be tailored to your needs and the facts and evidence at hand. Below are some, but not necessarily all, possible defense strategies that might be useful in your case.

    Challenging Searches and Seizures

    A lot of evidence in some cases comes from searches and seizures conducted by the police. While the police have a lot of power in this regard, it is not without limits. Generally, the police must have a search warrant before entering your private property to search for evidence. If there is no warrant, they need to prove that specific circumstances exempted them from the warrant requirement.

    If the police did not have a warrant or a valid exception to the warrant requirement, tell your attorney now. Any evidence the police might have seized might be illegal and should not be allowed to be used against you. We can file pretrial motions to exclude tainted evidence, so the jury never hears it.

    In some cases, so much evidence is suppressed because it was illegally seized, and the prosecutor’s case falls apart. The case can move forward in others, but getting a conviction is much harder.

    Unreliable Testimony and Evidence

    Not all evidence can be excluded from a trial. However, simply because evidence is “legal” and admissible in court does not mean it is good evidence. For example, the prosecutor might rely on witness testimony in a sexual assault case. Perhaps someone claims to have seen you take the alleged victim home the night of the alleged assault. If we believe the witness is mistaken or dishonest, we can bring this up on cross-examination.

    We can take the same approach with other evidence. If there is any reason the jury should not trust some evidence, we need to let them know. In the end, the jury is free to decide what they believe. We might be able to convince them that the prosecutor’s evidence is unreliable, thus raising reasonable doubt.

    Insufficient Evidence

    In other cases, there is no need to challenge the evidence because it is simply insufficient. Prosecutors sometimes bring cases based on very flimsy evidence. Perhaps they are under pressure to secure more convictions, or they believed additional evidence would come to light later. If we believe there is insufficient evidence for a jury to convict, we can ask the judge to dismiss the case.

    Even if the judge decides not to dismiss the case for lack of evidence, the jury is less likely to convict. Remember, the prosecutor must prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. With less evidence, there is a lot more room for doubt.

    Consent From the Alleged Victim

    A major element in many sexual assault cases is consent. A lack of consent from the alleged victim is often the key factor in a sexual assault case. Talk to your lawyer if you believe there was valid consent between you and the alleged victim.

    What did the victim say or do that made you believe they gave consent for sexual activity? Is there proof? Maybe you know why the victim would consent before but tells a different story now. If we can show the jury that consent was present, the case against you might fall apart.

    When is the Best Time to Contact a Defense Attorney About Sexual Assault Charges in Brigantine?

    The best time to contact a lawyer about fighting sexual assault charges is now. Contact a lawyer as soon as possible if you have already been arrested. Contact an attorney if you have not been arrested but believe you are under investigation or know that someone has publicly accused you of sexual assault. The sooner you get an attorney on your side, the better.

    By getting a lawyer as soon as possible, they can be there with you when the police question you after being arrested. Police interrogation can be tricky, and you do not want to risk accidentally incriminating yourself. Your lawyer can challenge the case against you at every step and be present with you at all hearings.

    Our Brigantine Sexual Assault Defense Attorneys Can Help

    The experienced sexual assault defense attorneys of the Law Offices of John J. Zarych will fight to defend you. To schedule a free, private initial case assessment, call (609) 616-4956 today.

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