Charged with Criminal Sexual Contact in Atlantic County, New Jersey?
Facing a charge of a sexual crime is something that can change your life. Not only is there the potential that you can go to jail for years, but you could also be required to register as a sex offender for years.
If you are facing aggravated sexual assault charges in New Jersey, you need immediate attention and straight answers from a legal advocate you can trust. The criminal defense lawyers of the Law Offices of John J. Zarych can fight to protect your freedom. Contact a criminal defense lawyer and schedule a free and confidential consultation at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych by calling (609) 616-4956 or contact our firm online.
New Jersey Criminal Sexual Contact Laws
In New Jersey, criminal sexual contact is either a crime of the third or fourth degree depending on whether or not it is considered to be aggravated. The New Jersey Criminal Code defines sexual contact in Section 2C:14 of the New Jersey Code, as:
- Intentional touching by the victim or actor, either directly or through clothing, of the victim’s or actor’s intimate parts for the purpose of degrading or humiliating the victim or sexually arousing or sexually gratifying the actor.
- As noted, this charge can be filed as either a fourth degree for criminal sexual contact or a third degree for aggravated criminal sexual contact. For the state to convict a person of criminal sexual contact the statute requires that the state proves the accused committed an act of sexual contact under any of the following circumstances:
- the actor uses physical force or coercion but the victim does not sustain severe personal injury
- the victim is on probation or parole, or is detained in a hospital, prison or other institution and the actor has supervisory or disciplinary power over the victim by virtue of the actor’s legal, professional or occupational status
- the victim is at least 13 but less than 16 years old and the actor is at least four years older than the victim
- the victim is at least 16 but less than 18 years old and (1) the actor is related to the victim by blood or affinity to the third degree;
- the actor has supervisory or disciplinary power of any nature or in any capacity over the victim;
the actor is a resource family parent, a guardian, or stands in loco parentis within the household.
Criminal sexual contact is the lesser offense and therefore if the state is seeking to charge and convict a person with aggravated criminal sexual contact they will need to prove that the accused committed an act of sexual contact with the victim and any one of the following circumstances were present:
- An actor is guilty of aggravated criminal sexual contact if he commits an act of sexual contact with a victim who is at least 13 years old but less than 16 years old and
- The actor is related to the victim by blood or affinity to the third degree,
- The actor has supervisory or disciplinary power over the victim because of his legal, professional or occupational status,
- The actor is a resource family parent, guardian, or stands in loco parentis within the household.
This means that the state must prove all of the elements of criminal sexual contact and any one of the additional elements under aggravated sexual contact in order to convict.
What are the Possible Penalties?
If you are facing a charge of either criminal sexual contact or aggravated criminal sexual contact, then you should be aware that these charges are serious, as are the potential penalties. If you are charged with criminal sexual contact and are subsequently convicted, you will be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree. This means that you can face a fine of up to $10,000 as well as a prison sentence of up to 18 months. You may also be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law.
Conversely, if you are convicted of aggravated criminal sexual contact, then you may be facing significantly more severe penalties, as this charge is considered a crime of the third degree. In addition to a fine up to $15,000, which is $5,000 more than the maximum for criminal sexual contact, you can also face a significantly longer prison sentence. If you are convicted of aggravated criminal sexual contact, then you can face a presumptive prison sentence between three and five years. In addition, you will be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law for the next fifteen years.
When you are facing a charge for any sexual offense, you should be aware that the consequences of facing the criminal justice system can be severe and negatively impact the rest of your life.
Contact an Atlantic County Sexual Assault Defense Lawyer Today
If you do not defend your rights, then you may lose them. A criminal sexual contact charge is a serious matter and something that could potentially ruin your life. When the stakes are set so high, why trust your freedom to just anybody. For over 40 years the attorneys at the Law Firm of John J. Zarych, have been representing New Jersey residents facing the most serious criminal charges.