If you have been charged with any sexual offense, the stakes could not be set much higher. A conviction for any sexual offense in New Jersey is likely to follow you for years to come. In addition, a sexual offense can carry steep penalties, serious and lengthy prison time, and a social stigma that may never go away.
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 sexual contact defense lawyers of the Law Offices of John J. Zarych can fight to protect your freedom.
New Jersey Criminal Sexual Contact Law
Criminal Sexual Contact is considered one of the lower sexual offenses in New Jersey, however, that is not to imply that this is not a serious offense. What many states classify as rape New Jersey has classified as sexual assault. This should indicate to you the seriousness of this charge. If you have been accused or charged with criminal sexual contact, you should immediately contact an experienced criminal attorney.
In Section 2C:14 of the New Jersey Code, sexual contact is defined 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.
Criminal Sexual Contact under these circumstances will be charged as a fourth-degree crime. However, there are certain instances when a Criminal Sexual Contact charge can be raised to a crime in the third degree.
You could be charged with aggravated sexual contact (2C:14-3a), a crime in the 3rd degree, if:
- The victim is under the age of 16 but over 13,
- The victim is under your care as a guardian, teacher, or supervisor,
- You are armed when it occurs,
- You are aided by another person,
- You use physical force or coercion
- The victim is handicapped or physically helpless, or
- If it is committed during the commission of another serious offense.
Under N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2, the term “sexual contact” is defined and means intentional touching of the intimates parts of another person or the actor for the purposes of degrading or humiliating the victim or achieving sexual arousal or gratification.
What Are the Penalties for Criminal Sexual Contact?
Criminal Sexual Contact in New Jersey can be charged as either a fourth degree or a third-degree crime, therefore, the penalties for each are slightly different. While the most severe crimes in New Jersey are classified as first-degree crimes, even lower level third and fourth-degree crimes can still carry significant penalties.
The standard penalties for a fourth-degree crime apply in the event of conviction pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3(b): If a person is convicted of Criminal Sexual Contact in the fourth degree they can be subject to the following:
- A maximum fine of $10,000
- Up to eighteen (18) months in state prison.
In addition, if the person who accused you of inappropriate sexual contact is under the age of 18 and you are convicted, then you will be required to register under Megan’s Law.
As explained above, criminal sexual contact can also be charged as a third-degree crime, which carries harsher penalties. If a person is convicted of third-degree criminal sexual contact, they may be sentenced to serve between (3) to five (5) years in state prison. In addition to state prison time, if you are convicted of third-degree criminal sexual contact with a party who is under the age of 18 then you will be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law.
Call an NJ Criminal Defense Attorney 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. Contact us today for a free consultation.