Collingswood, NJ Rape Defense Lawyer

Rape accusations are taken very seriously in the criminal justice system. New Jersey does not call this offense “rape,” but instead classified this conduct as “sexual assault” or “aggravated sexual assault,” depending on the surrounding circumstances. Both of these crimes are treated as some of the highest-level offenses under New Jersey law, and carry intense penalties.

If you or a loved one was charged with rape in Collingswood, NJ, contact our South Jersey rape defense attorneys today. The criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych represent those accused of rape, and other sexual and non-sexual offenses throughout New Jersey. For a free, completely confidential consultation with our attorneys, call our law offices today at (609) 625-3006.

Collingswood Rape Defense Attorneys

South Jersey Rape Definition

The definition of rape varies from state to state, and has different proof requirements concerning whether there needs to be simple lack of consent, whether force is required, and whether penetration is required. In New Jersey, the statute primarily focuses on proof of the use of force or the victim’s inability to consent, plus proof of penetration.

Specifically, New Jersey’s rape statute (N.J.S.A. § 2C:14-2) creates two separate crimes: sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault. Sexual assault, sometimes called “simple” sexual assault to differentiate it from aggravated sexual assault, is the basic rape crime in New Jersey. This crime is committed by any sexual contact (even without penetration) of someone under the age of 13. Alternately, any penetrative sexual act done under one of the following circumstances is also sexual assault:

  1. The actor uses force or coercion;
  2. The victim is institutionalized, in prison, or on probation/parole, and the actor has some authority over them;
  3. The victim is at least 16, but under 18 years old, and…
    1. The actor is related to the victim;
    2. The actor has supervisory or disciplinary power over the victim (e.g. at school or work); or
    3. The actor is the victim’s parent or guardian; or
  4. The victim is at least 13, but under 16 years old, and the actor was four years older than the victim (or more).

South Jersey Rape Defense Attorney

If at least one of these circumstances is present when the act occurs, it can be considered sexual assault. Alternatively, there is a separate list of factors that make the crime aggravated sexual assault, instead. These factors are usually more serious examples of violent actions, or ones that take advantage of a victim, including:

  1. If the victim is under 13 years old;
  2. If the victim is at least 13, but under 16 years old, and…
    1. The actor is related to the victim;
    2. The actor has supervisory or disciplinary power over the victim (e.g. at school or work); or
    3. The actor is the victim’s parent or guardian;
  3. The act was committed during another crime (attempted or completed), specifically: robbery, kidnapping, homicide, aggravated assault, burglary, arson, or criminal escape;
  4. The actor was armed, or used another object to make the victim think he was armed;
  5. The actor had assistance from at least one additional person, and used force or coercion;
  6. The actor used physical force or coercion, and caused the victim severe personal injury; or
  7. The actor knew or should have known that the victim was physically incapacitated (e.g. drugged), mentally incapacitated (e.g. handicapped), could not understand the act, or was otherwise unable to consent to the act.

Penalties for Rape in New Jersey

The New Jersey legislature has recognized rape as a very serious crime, and has authorized very high penalties for these two assault crimes. Aggravated sexual assault is a first degree crime in New Jersey – the highest level of punishment available for a crime, including murder. Simple assault is similarly severe, and is classified as a second degree crime. This is the second highest level of crime in New Jersey, and carries the same penalties as many drug crimes and violent crimes.

Aggravated sexual assault is a first degree crime, punished with:

  • Up to $200,000 in fines,
  • 10-20 years in prison, and
  • Possible sex offender registration.

Collingswood Sexual Assault Lawyer

Simple sexual assault is a second degree crime, punished with:

  • Up to $150,000 in fines,
  • 5-10 years in prison, and
  • Possible sex offender registration.

Registering as a sex offender can last far beyond the time your debt to society is paid by prison time or fines. This can mean an incredible burden on your ability to live where you want, get a job, work with children, and can affect many other areas of your life.

South Jersey Rape Defense Lawyer

If you have been accused of rape in Collingswood, talk to our experienced South Jersey criminal defense attorneys today. Our lawyers can fight the evidence against you, challenge the prosecution’s case, and fight to get your charges dismissed. For a free, completely confidential consultation on your charges, call (609) 625-3006 today.