Sexual assault accusations are not uncommon on college campuses. Charges for sexual assault can ruin a student’s future, especially if they lead to jail time, disciplinary actions at the school, or even expulsion. If you are a college student or the parent of a college student who was accused of sexual assault at Rutgers University, call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych today for legal help.
Our New Jersey attorneys for Rutgers University students accused of sexual assault may be able to take your case and help you fight the charges against you. Our attorneys offer professional, confidential legal consultations for college students to help them with criminal charges like sexual assault. To schedule a free consultation on your case today, call our law offices at 609-616-4956.
Definition of Sexual Assault in New Jersey
The crime of “rape” in New Jersey is officially named “sexual assault.” This crime covers any act of sexual penetration that occurs under circumstances indicating the victim did not consent to the act. The sexual penetration covered by this statute includes not only vaginal sex but also oral or anal sex or penetration with a finger or other object.
The name “sexual assault” may commonly evoke something less than rape, but in New Jersey, sexual assault under N.J.S.A. § 2C:14-2 is the crime of rape. Sexual touching that is less than penetration is instead charged under N.J.S.A. § 2C:14-3 for the crime of “criminal sexual contact.”
As noted, the act only qualifies as a crime if it occurs under certain circumstances that show there was a lack of consent. For “simple” sexual assault, these conditions include the following:
- The actor uses force but does not cause injury
- The victim is on probation, in prison, or detained in another facility
- The victim is 16 or 17 years old and the actor is related to them or has disciplinary powers over them
- The victim is 13, 14, or 15 and the actor is at least 4 years older than them
For more serious offenses, the following circumstances might increase the crime to “aggravated” sexual assault”:
- The victim is a child under 13
- The victim is a child 13, 14, or 15 and the actor is related to them or has disciplinary powers over them
- The act occurred during another crime
- The actor had help from another person and used force
- The actor used force that caused “severe personal injury”
- The actor knew the victim was physically or mentally helpless or “incapacitated”
Penalties for Sexual Assault in NJ
Sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault are quite severe crimes. Aggravated sexual assault is a more serious version of “simple” sexual assault, carrying more severe penalties. Both crimes, however, are extremely serious and are graded as first or second degree crimes.
A first degree crime is the most serious level of offense in New Jersey and is on par with serious crimes of violence. This crime is punished by 10-20 years in prison and fines up to $200,000. Simple sexual assault is a second degree crime, punished by 5-10 years in prison and fines up to $150,000.
A judge has leeway to decide your final sentence within this range. They will typically look to factors such as whether force or drugs were used, whether a firearm was used, or whether you have committed similar crimes before when looking to increase your penalties. A judge may decrease your penalties if this was a first-time offense or if there were other mitigating factors that make the crime seem like it was not as severe.
A judge may also decrease the penalties below the statutory minimum. Since sexual assault is a first or second degree crime, defendants are not typically given probation. However, a judge may decide to order a “suspended” sentence that will allow you to stay out of jail on probation, returning to jail only if you violate the terms of your probation. This can allow you to continue to attend school and find a job while you serve your sentence.
However, avoiding conviction altogether is typically a much better outcome. Our attorneys can work to help fight the evidence against you and get pieces of evidence suppressed and stricken from the record. This may help you avoid conviction altogether.
Criminal Defense Lawyer for College Students in South Jersey
If you are arrested for a crime in college, you could be risking your academic career and future jobs if you are convicted. Especially for serious criminal charges like sexual assault, it is vital to speak to an attorney and see what you can do to avoid charges, fight the evidence against you, get charges dropped and dismissed, or reduce the penalties you face.
If you are arrested and sent to jail or prison, you may be unable to finish your classes and could potentially be unable to complete your degree. You may also face academic disciplinary hearings for the same conduct or because of the charges against you. Our attorneys can also help you with these hearings and fight to keep you in school.
Sexual Assault Defense Lawyer for Rutgers University Students Offering Free Consultations
If you are a Rutgers University student who was charged with sexual assault in New Jersey, contact the Law Offices of John J. Zarych today. Our NJ attorneys for Rutgers University students accused of sexual assault may be able to fight your case and help keep you from prison. For a free, confidential legal consultation, call us today at 609-616-4956.