“Sexual assault” is the name New Jersey uses for its rape offense. Under New Jersey law, both simple and aggravated sexual assault are classified among the two highest levels of crime in New Jersey, carrying over a decade in potential prison sentences, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.
If you were charged with a sexual offense, strategic criminal defense could save you from these charges ruining your life. Not only could these offenses mean serious prison time and fines, but they could also involve sex offender registration. The Brooklawn sexual assault defense lawyers at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych may be able to challenge the charges against you, fight to get charges reduced, and work to get your case dropped. Call (609) 616-4956 to schedule a free, confidential consultation with our attorneys.
Sexual Assault Definition in Brooklawn, New Jersey
Like most crimes, the elements that compose the crime of sexual assault are very specific. You cannot be convicted of a crime like sexual assault unless you confess to the crime or the government proves each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. To understand the elements the government must prove, it is important to look at the statute’s definition of sexual assault.
N.J.S.A. § 2C:14-2 contains two levels of sexual assault, known as “simple” and “aggravated” sexual assault. Though “simple” sexual assault is not the official name, it is usually used to differentiate “sexual assault” from “aggravated sexual assault.” Subsections (b) and (c) of § 2C:14-2 define two forms of simple sexual assault. First, it is sexual assault to have sexual contact with someone under the age of 13. This includes touching and feeling, but does not need to include penetration to be a crime. Alternatively, any act of sexual penetration is sexual assault if one of the following conditions exists:
- The actor used force or coercion against the victim – but did not cause severe personal injury;
- The victim was on probation, on parole, in prison, or institutionalized, and the actor had some authority over the victim;
- The victim was 16-18 years old, and the actor is related to the victim, has supervisory or disciplinary authority over the victim, or is the victim’s parent or guardian; or
- The victim is 13-16 years old, and the actor is four or more years older.
Aggravated sexual assault has similar conditions, but many of them are more violent or take further advantage of the victim. N.J.S.A. § 2C:14-2(a) defines aggravated sexual assault as penetration with one of the following additional elements:
- The victim is under 13 years old;
- The victim is 13-16 years old, and the actor is related to the victim, has supervisory or disciplinary authority over the victim, or is the victim’s parent or guardian;
- The act occurs during a completed or attempted robbery, kidnapping, homicide, aggravated assault, burglary, arson, or criminal escape;
- The actor is armed with a weapon, or uses another object to make the victim think the actor is armed;
- The actor has help from another person in using force or coercion;
- The actor uses physical force or coercion that causes severe personal injury; or
- The actor knows or should have known that the victim is physically or mentally helpless, is not capable of understanding the act, or is not capable of giving consent.
South Jersey Sexual Assault Penalties
Both sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault carry very severe penalties. Aggravated sexual assault is a first degree crime in New Jersey, placing it alongside some of the worst crimes New Jersey punishes. Simple sexual assault is a second degree crime, sharing that definition with severe drug crimes, violent crimes, and very high amount theft crimes.
Sexual assault is a second degree crime punished by 5-10 years in prison and fines of up to $150,000.
Aggravated sexual assault is a first degree crime punished by 10-20 years in prison and fines of up to $200,000.
On top of these penalties, you may be required to register as a sex offender if you were convicted of sexual assault. New Jersey’s Megan’s Law may require registration for a long period of time. Sex offender registration can affect your ability to live where you want, get a job, work with children, and may affect other personal relationships. Additionally, registration can last for many years beyond your prison sentence.
Brooklawn Sex Offense Lawyers
The sexual assault defense attorneys at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych represent those charged with crimes like sexual assault throughout South Jersey. To schedule a free, discreet consultation with our attorneys, call our law offices at (609) 616-4956 today. Our lawyers may be able to argue to have charges against you dropped, fight the government’s case against you, and work to get sentences reduced.