If your child was arrested for lewdness or charged with lewdness while attending Rowan University in Glassboro, your family needs help from a compassionate and experienced criminal defense attorney for college students in New Jersey. At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, we are effective lewdness defense lawyers who will advocate tirelessly for your son or daughter, fighting to limit penalties and defending your child’s constitutional rights.
A criminal charge can lead to jail time, expensive fines, probation, suspension of a driver’s license, and, at the University level, penalties like expulsion, suspension, or removal from student housing. It is critically important to handle the charges tactically, working with a trusted and knowledgeable lawyer for lewdness charges at Rowan. To set up a free legal consultation with a Rowan lewdness defense lawyer serving Glassboro, contact the Law Offices of John J. Zarych online, or call today at (609) 616-4956.
What is the Lewdness Statute?
In New Jersey, the statute that defines the offense of lewdness is N.J.S.A. § 2C:14-4. As defined by the statute, there are several ways that a person can commit the crime of lewdness in New Jersey. In most scenarios, lewdness is a disorderly persons charge, which is similar to a misdemeanor. However, there are also circumstances under which lewdness is an indictable crime, or felony offense.
Under N.J.S.A. § 2C:14-4(a), a person commits misdemeanor lewdness when he or she “does any flagrantly lewd and offensive act which he [or she] knows or reasonably expects is likely to be observed by other nonconsenting persons who would be affronted or alarmed.” In other words, it is lewdness to act in an “offensive” way while knowing (or having good cause to know) that another person will involuntarily observe, and be offended or upset by, the action. In this type of scenario, lewdness is a disorderly persons offense (misdemeanor).
Is Lewdness a Felony?
As mentioned above, there are also some scenarios where lewdness is equivalent to a felony offense. Under N.J.S.A. § 2C:14-4(b)(1), lewdness is a felony if the offender does all of the following:
- Exposes his or her genitalia in order to become sexually aroused
- Knows, or has good cause to know, that he or she will likely be seen by a child age 12 or younger
- “[I]s at least four years older than the child” who witnessed the act
A similar scenario is described under N.J.S.A. § 2C:14-4(b)(2), with one difference: instead of a child under 13, as described in N.J.S.A. § 2C:14-4(b)(1), the witness to the act is a person who, due to a mental disability or other medical condition, cannot comprehend that the offender’s actions have a sexual component. Like lewdness in the presence of a child, this type of violation also constitutes a felony (indictable crime).
What Are the Penalties for Lewdness in NJ?
Criminal penalties for lewdness depend on multiple factors, including the following:
- Whether the offense is being treated as a disorderly persons offense or a felony
- Whether there were any aggravating factors
- Whether the defendant has a history of prior offenses
Judges have some flexibility when imposing a sentence, but must follow certain sentencing guidelines. For example, state law specifies that the jail sentence for a disorderly persons offense generally may not exceed six months. Likewise, there are limits on the criminal fines that may be imposed. In New Jersey, the maximum fine for a disorderly persons offense is generally $1,000.
The penalties for a felony, or indictable crime, are even harsher. Fines and sentencing ranges depend on the severity of the offense, which is expressed with “degrees.” For example, first degree crimes are more serious and therefore have greater penalties than second degree crimes. Lewdness is a fourth degree indictable crime (fourth degree felony), for which the maximum penalties include a prison sentence of up to 18 months and/or criminal fines of up to $10,000. Put another way, the maximum sentence is three times longer for felony lewdness, while the maximum fine is 10 times higher. Whether facing misdemeanor or felony charges at Rowan, it is urgent that you consult a lewdness defense attorney for help.
Glassboro Lewdness Defense Lawyer for College Students at Rowan University
There can be severe penalties, both criminal and academic, for on-campus or even off-campus lewdness while attending Rowan University. Not only may your child face academic sanctions, he or she could be incarcerated or placed on probation. A lewdness conviction will also create a criminal record, which can be a very heavy burden to carry for a young person who is just starting out in life. A criminal record can make it much harder to qualify for student loans, get accepted into internships and volunteer programs, or get hired by prestigious employers.
Talk to an experienced Glassboro lewdness attorney about your family’s legal options. For a free consultation, call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956, or contact us online today.