Cape May Sexual Assault Lawyer
It’s an undeniable fact that sex crimes carry an intensely negative social stigma. As a consequence, defendants who are charged with these types of offenses often find themselves vilified, condemned, and abandoned at a time when they need support more than ever. At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, we don’t think that represents fair and just treatment. Our legal team is here to protect your Constitutional rights and provide the dedicated professional support you deserve as a citizen of the United States, regardless of the allegations which have been made against you. Remember, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
We will guide you through each and every step of the New Jersey criminal justice process, and will protect and uphold your legal rights while fighting to have the charges against you dismissed or reduced. Our accomplished attorneys have an outstanding track record of success handling even highly complex felony cases, including the first chat room child luring case in Atlantic County’s history. Cape May criminal attorney John Zarych also dedicates much of his practice as a sex crime lawyer to the defense of autistic adults.
To set up a free and private legal consultation, call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych right away at (609) 616-4956. Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and we will always keep your information confidential. Se habla español.
Sexual Assault Crimes Our Cape May Attorneys Handle
As a defendant or the loved one of a defendant facing sex crime charges in Cape May, it’s important for you to have a clear understanding of what the accusations against you actually involve. New Jersey’s criminal statutes distinguish many different types of sex offenses, which range in severity from misdemeanors (disorderly persons offenses or “DP” offenses) to felonies (indictable crimes).
One of the more common charges our attorneys handle is known as sexual assault, more commonly referred to as rape. While some jurisdictions make rape and sexual assault separate crimes with different definitions and penalties, in New Jersey these offenses are synonymous.
There are various grounds for sexual assault charges as provided by N.J.S.A. § 2C:14-2. A defendant can be charged with rape in New Jersey if he or she either (1) “commits an act of sexual contact with a victim who is less than 13 years old,” or (2) “commits an act of sexual penetration with another person under any one of the following circumstances”:
- The defendant uses force or coercion, butdoes not cause bodily harm.
- The defendant has authority over the victim “by virtue of the actor’s legal, professional or occupational status” (e.g. medical staff at a hospital). This is known as institutional sexual assault in other jurisdictions.
- The victim is 13 to 15 years old, and the defendant is at least four years older.
- The victim is 16 or 17 years old and either:
- The victim is related to the defendant.
- The defendant has authority over the victim
- The defendant is a “foster parent, a guardian, or stands in loco parentis within the household.”
Sexual assault becomes elevated to aggravated sexual assault, which carries even harsher penalties, if certain factors are present in the alleged offense. To provide just a few examples:
- The victim is 12 years old or younger.
- The defendant inflicts serious bodily injury.
- The defendant commits the alleged sexual assault during the commission of another crime, such as robbery, burglary, aggravated assault, or homicide.
Note the above list is not exhaustive and does not represent every possible scenario leading to aggravated sexual assault charges.
New Jersey residents may also be charged with a sex offense known as criminal sexual contact. In accordance with N.J.S.A. § 2C:14-3, “An actor [defendant] is guilty of criminal sexual contact if he commits an act of sexual contact with the victim under any of the circumstances set forth in section 2C:14-2 c. (1) through (4),” referring to sexual assault. The charges may also be raised to aggravated criminal sexual contact depending on whether aggravating factors were present.
Other sex crimes our lawyers handle include:
- Possession and/or Distribution of Child Pornography
- Prostitution and Solicitation
- Trafficking of Minors
Many sex crimes are graded as felonies, or indictable crimes. For example, sexual assault an indictable crime of the second degree, subject to five to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $150,000. Aggravated sexual assault is a first degree crime, subject to a maximum fine of $200,000 and anywhere from 10 years to life in prison.
Put simply, the penalties for sex crime convictions are incredibly severe – and the lasting punishment of mandatory placement on the Sex Offender Registry only adds to the potential consequences.
Are You Required to Be on the Sex Offender Registry after Sexual Assault in Cape May?
For most people who are charged with sex crimes, prison time and costly fines are not the only negative outcomes. Depending on the nature and severity of the underlying offense, convicted offenders may also be required to join the Sex Offender Registry. Most sex crimes are considered “registerable offenses,” with registration duration depending on “Tier” or risk assessment as follows:
- Tier I (Low Risk) – 15 years
- Tier II (Moderate Risk) – 25 years
- Tier III (High Risk) – Life
The Sex Offender Registry can be publicly searched or browsed by anyone with an internet connection. That includes friends, family, romantic partners, neighbors, employers, prospective employers, landlords, and property managers. Despite numerous prohibitions against intimidation, assault, and other retaliatory measures, all too many registered offenders find themselves shunned and even threatened by their communities. Offenders are also required to comply with strict reporting and registration requirements that limit basic, everyday freedoms. Put simply, placement on the registry can negatively impact your personal and professional relationships for the rest of your life.
Call Our Cape May Sexual Assault Defense Lawyers Today for a Free Case Review
When the stakes are this high, you simply cannot afford to face the prosecution on your own. You need an aggressive yet compassionate attorney on your side to fight the charges, explore potential defenses, and investigate the evidence against you. To start discussing your situation in a free and completely confidential legal consultation, call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956 today.