In New Jersey, the crime of rape is titled “sexual assault.” Still, whether you call it rape or sexual assault, this offense can have serious, lasting consequences for the rest of your life. If you were accused of rape in New Jersey, you should hire the Law Offices of John J. Zarych.
Our Sea Isle City sexual assault defense lawyers handle criminal charges on behalf to the accused and work to get charges dropped and sentences reduced for sex offenses. If you were charged with sexual assault in New Jersey, contact our law offices today for help with your case. To schedule a free, confidential consultation on your charges, contact us online or call us today at (609) 616-4956.
What is the Difference Between Rape and Sexual Assault in New Jersey
What constitutes “rape” varies greatly from state to state. Different states have different definitions that include or exclude different conduct. Under some of these definitions, the crime of “rape” only applies to female victims, may exclude wives, or may require use of force to meet the definition of the crime of rape, with states issuing charges for lesser offenses if these elements are not met. However, New Jersey’s definition of “sexual assault” under N.J.S.A. § 2C:14-2 is quite broad and includes a wide range of conduct.
First, the actual conduct prohibited by the sexual assault statute is “an act of sexual penetration with another person.” This “sexual penetration” is defined under § 2C:14-1, and includes any of the following:
- Oral sex
- Vaginal sex
- Anal sex
- Insertion of a finger or hand
- Insertion of an object
Under this definition, the insertion of a finger or object can be committed by the victim at the actor’s instruction, which potentially means that the crime of sexual assault could be charged in situations where the actor does not actually touch the victim. In addition, any insertion in these cases qualifies as an “act of penetration,” and the depth is not a factor.
Obviously, sex between consenting adults is not illegal. This means that there must be additional factors that make this type of sexual activity illegal. If the sex acts occur under any of the following circumstances, they qualify as “simple sexual assault”:
- The actor uses force but does not cause “severe personal injury”
- The victim is an inmate, is on probation or parole, is a patient in a hospital or institution, or is under the actor’s professional supervision
- The victim is 16 or 17 years old and the actor is a parent, guardian, blood relation, or has supervisory authority over the victim
- The victim is 13, 14, or 15 years old and the actor is at least 4 years older.
This crime is upgraded to “aggravated sexual assault” if it involves one of the following factors, which have a heightened level of violence or lack of consent:
- The victim is under 13
- The victim is 13, 14, or 15 and the actor is a parent, guardian, blood relation, or has supervisory authority over the victim
- The crime is committed during another serious criminal offense
- “The actor is armed with a weapon or” something else the victim would think is a weapon
- The actor has help from another person and uses force
- The actor uses force that causes “severe personal injury” to the victim.
In addition to these definitions, any sexual contact with a victim under the age of 13, even contact short of sexual penetration, such as touching over the clothing, also qualifies as sexual assault.
Penalties for Simple and Aggravated Sexual Assault in Sea Isle City, NJ
Any sexual offense carries potentially severe consequences. First, your reputation could be seriously harmed by a conviction for a sex crime. Not only would you be labeled a criminal, but you would also be labeled a sex offender. Second, you can face official sex offender registration, which could include lifelong registration and reporting.
Both simple and aggravated sexual assault are serious crimes. Aggravated sexual assault is a first degree crime in New Jersey, which is punished by 10-20 years in prison and fines up to $200,000. This is the most severe level of crime and is the same level of crime as murder. Simple sexual assault is classified as a second degree crime, which is punished by 5-10 years in prison and fines up to $150,000.
Call Our Sea Isle City Defense Lawyer for Help With Your Rape and Sexual Assault Charges
If you were charged with a crime, you deserve the right to counsel and a fair trial. Our Sea Isle City sexual assault defense lawyers will work to ensure that your rights as a defendant are upheld, and we will work to challenge the evidence against you and get you a fair trial. For help with your charges in a confidential environment, contact the Law Offices of John J. Zarych online today, or call us at (609) 616-4956.