Charged with Criminal Sexual Contact in Cape May, NJ
If you are facing criminal sexual contact charges or aggravated criminal sexual contact charges in Cape May, 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.
Criminal Sexual Contact and Aggravated Sexual Contact Charges in Cape May
New Jersey law provides prosecutors with many different options when charging a person for any form of criminal sexual contact. While the differences between these charges can be relatively minute, the impact they can have on a person can be devastating. Criminal sexual contact is a crime similar to sexual assault, however, the elements of this crime are slightly different.
A person can be charged with criminal sexual contact when they commit an act of sexual contact along with an act of force of coercion without inflicting severe personal injury. Additionally, they can be charged with criminal sexual contact if they commit an act of sexual contact while the victim is on probation or parole, are detained in a hospital or prison, or when you have supervisory or disciplinary power over them. In addition, age is an important factor in this crime as well as the relationship you may have with the victim. The statute specifically states that a person may be charged with criminal sexual contact where the victim is at least sixteen years old but is younger than eighteen years old. In addition to this age range in order for the state to charge you with criminal sexual contact you must have been related to the alleged victim in the third degree (meaning as an aunt, uncle, niece, nephew), or you have supervisory power over them, or you are a resource family parent, a guardian, or you stand in loco parentis (meaning in the place of the parent) with the alleged victim. Finally, a person can be charged with criminal sexual contact when the alleged victim is between the ages of thirteen and sixteen and the actor is at least four years older.
If the state proves that you have committed an act of sexual contact and any one of the following elements are present, then you may be charged with criminal sexual contact as a crime of the fourth degree. This charge is very similar to the charges for sexual assault, however notably, the difference between these charges depends on whether or not there was any penetration.
Aggravated sexual contact, on the other hand, is a more serious offense in New Jersey, and it is very similar to the charges for aggravated sexual contact. A person can be charged with aggravated criminal sexual contact when an actor commits sexual contact and certain aggravating circumstances exists (e.g. victim below 16 years old, weapon used, resulted in severe injury, etc.)
What are the Penalties for Criminal Sexual Contact in Cape May?
Because these crimes are two separate offenses, there are varying fines, prison terms, and other penalties you may face as a result of a conviction.
If you are convicted of criminal sexual contact, which is the less serious of these offenses then you will be convicted of a crime in the fourth degree. While this may be low on the ladder of criminal activity, if you are convicted of criminal sexual contact, you can face up to eighteen (18) months in prison, a $10,000 fine, as well as mandatory registration as a sex offender under Megan’s Law.
If the state proves the elements of aggravated criminal sexual contact, then you can potentially be facing much more serious penalties. While criminal sexual contact is a crime of the fourth degree, aggravated criminal sexual contact is a crime of the third degree. If you are convicted you could face a fine of up to $15,000, a prison sentence anywhere between three and five years, as well as mandatory registration under Megan’s Law for a period of fifteen years.
As you can see, the consequences for either a criminal sexual contact or an aggravated criminal sexual contact charge are quite significant and can impact you or years down the road. Notably, registering as a sexual offender under Megan’s Law can make it hard or even impossible to find housing, applying for educational programs, or even jobs.
Contact an Experienced Cape May 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 Cape May criminal defense attorneys at the Law Firm of John J. Zarych, have been representing New Jersey residents facing the most serious criminal charges.