If you have been arrested and charged with a sex crime, or think you may be charged with one, you should immediately talk to an attorney. While no New Jersey crime is named “rape,” there are still very serious criminal charges that cover the same conduct. These charges of “sexual assault” or “aggravated sexual assault” are extremely serious crimes, and could lead to years of jail time and high criminal fines.
For a free, discreet consultation on your charges, contact the South Jersey defense lawyers at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych today. Our Brooklawn rape defense attorneys may be able to take your case, keep your information confidential, and work to challenge the charges against you. For your free consultation, call our law offices today at (609) 616-4956.
Sexual Assault and Rape in Brooklawn
Understanding the charges against you is important for learning how to fight the charges, and understanding their seriousness. New Jersey’s “sexual assault” crime covers acts that are typically filed under “rape” charges in other states. There are two forms of this crime, “simple” sexual assault under §§ N.J.S.A. § 2C:14-2(b) and (c), and “aggravated” sexual assault under subsection (a).
Simple Sexual Assault
Simple sexual assault first includes any sexual contact with a victim under 13 years old. This conduct would typically fit under the crime of “sexual contact,” but since the victim is so young, it is upgraded to sexual assault. Alternatively, and more commonly, sexual assault includes sexual penetration of another under any of the following circumstances:
- The actor uses force or coercion without causing personal injury;
- The victim is on probation, on parole, in a hospital, in prison, or in another institution, and the actor has some authority over the victim;
- The victim is under 18, but is at least 16, and the actor is related to the victim, has authority over them, or is their parent; or
- The victim is under 16, but is at least 13, and the actor is 4 or more years older.
These additional elements deal with the victim’s age, the actor’s authority over the victim, and other elements that show there was no consent.
Aggravated Sexual Assault
Aggravated sexual assault has similar elements, but is committed against even younger or more helpless victims, or uses violence. Because of this, aggravated sexual assault is sexual penetration with any of these elements present:
- The victim is under 13 years old;
- The victim is under 16, but is at least 13, and the actor is a relative, has authority over them, or is their parent;
- The penetration occurs during some other crime (attempted or completed), including robbery, kidnapping, homicide, aggravated assault, burglary, arson, or criminal escape.
- The actor is armed with a weapon (or another item that makes the victim think they are armed);
- The actor has help from another person, and uses force;
- The actor uses force that causes severe personal injury; or
- The actor knows or should have known that the victim is physically or mentally helpless or incapacitated, or was suffering from a mental condition that made the victim unable to understand what was happening.
Rather than looking into actual consent or lack of consent, the law looks at factors that surround the ability to consent, and punishes the actor when the victim would not have been able to consent (e.g. physical incapacity or underaged victim) or was not given a choice (e.g. through force). Actual consent is not at issue.
The Penalties for Rape in New Jersey
Aggravated and simple sexual assault are respectively among the most serious and second-most serious levels of crime in New Jersey. Aggravated sexual assault is a first degree crime punished with:
- 10-20 years in prison and
- Fines up to $200,000.
Simple sexual assault is a second degree crime punished with:
- 5-10 years in prison and
- Fines up to $150,000.
On top of these penalties, you may be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law. This registration is part of your punishment, but still may vary. Some offenders are only required to register for a limited period or time, while others are required to register for the rest of their lives. Regardless of the length of registration, you could face serious complications with jobs, housing, and education.
South Jersey Rape Defense Lawyers
These charges can have other, unofficial consequences with your reputation or the way society views you if you are accused or convicted. Our lawyers work to provide strategic and discreet representation. The South Jersey rape defense attorneys at The Law Offices of John J. Zarych always keep our clients’ cases completely confidential. We also offer free consultations to help you understand the charges and what our attorneys can do to fight the charges in court. For your consultation, call our law offices today at (800) 609-2942.