In New Jersey, “sexual assault” is the name of the general rape crime. Sexual assault charges are extremely serious and constitute a sexual offense. Because of this, it is very difficult to get these charges removed from your record. In some cases, you may even be barred from clearing convictions from your record, or you may be required to join a sex offender registry as part of your sentence. If you are facing charges for aggravated sexual assault or simple sexual assault, or if you have questions about removing these offenses from your record, talk to the Atlantic City sexual assault defense lawyers at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych today.
Does My Criminal Record Show Sexual Assault Arrests and Convictions?
Sexual assault is the crime of committing an act of sexual penetration under circumstances that make it clear there was no legal consent. In most cases, this is a second degree crime, but charges can be upgraded to a first degree crime if you are charged with aggravated sexual assault instead. Aggravated sexual assault is a higher degree of crime because it has more serious circumstances, like the use of drugs or violence to accomplish the sexual assault.
In either case, these are extremely serious offenses. First and second degree crimes are the two highest levels of criminal offense in NJ, carrying the following penalties:
- First degree crimes are punishable by 10-20 years in prison and fines up to $200,000.
- Second degree crimes are punishable by 5-10 years in prison and fines up to $150,000.
Because these crimes are extremely serious, they will certainly appear on any criminal record if you are convicted of the crime or plead guilty. If your case is still pending and has not been resolved yet, your arrest may also show on any background checks.
Can I Get Sexual Assault Charges Taken Off My Permanent Record?
New Jersey allows crimes to be “expunged” from your criminal record if you do not have a record of other serious offenses. Many NJ expungement rules will change in October 2018, but as it stands, these rules still apply. To be eligible for expungement, you must have finished your case and paid all fines, fees, and restitution. You may not be eligible for expungement if you have other convictions for indictable crimes, but you are allowed to have 2 disorderly persons convictions and still qualify for expungement. You must also wait 10 years from the time you finished paying off your case before you can apply to expunge a conviction for an indictable crime.
Unfortunately, any conviction under N.J.S.A. § 2C:14-2, which includes sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault, is not eligible for expungement in NJ. However, this only applies to convictions. Arrests also appear on your criminal record, but NJ law allows arrests to be expunged if you are not convicted. N.J.S.A. § 2C:52-6 says that the court should do this automatically, but you may need to step in to force them to do it correctly if they are slow or reluctant.
The court where your charges were dismissed should have the proper documentation sent to the Supreme Court of New Jersey, the prosecutor in your case, and appropriate law enforcement organizations. You can always check if the expungement went through by requesting a criminal background check on yourself. If this still shows your arrest, you should talk to an attorney about having it removed. Ensuring that your record is cleared of any charges or arrests that never lead to a conviction can help when you apply for a job or education that would run a background check.
Do I Have to Report if I Was Arrested for A Sex Crime?
The policies at your job, school, or housing complex may require you to report encounters with the law. Especially if you work with children, the simple fact that you were accused of sexual assault may affect your employment status, even if the case is pending or gets dismissed. Talk to an attorney today to see what obligations you have to report the arrest or charges.
If you apply for a job, education, or certain licenses, they may ask questions about any charges against you. It is important to read these questions carefully and answer them honestly. Some questions may ask if you were ever arrested for a crime, charged with a crime, or convicted of a crime. Talk to an attorney to understand what your status on your case is, and what your answer to questions like these should be.
NJ Sexual Assault Defense Lawyers Offering Free, Confidential Consultations
The Atlantic City criminal defense lawyers at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych understand that you never want a record of sexual assault. Our attorneys offer discreet, confidential consultations to help you understand what our criminal defense and expungement services can do to help you with your charges. For a free consultation, call our law offices today at (609) 616-4956.