In New Jersey, there are several different laws that define and dictate sexual crimes. However, the charges all require slightly different events. No matter what the charge is, there are severe consequences for a conviction. Below provides a general overview of some of the more frequently seen charges and their potential penalties.
At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our Atlantic City criminal defense attorneys have more than 40 years of combined experience. We provide aggressive and knowledgeable legal counsel and representation for those facing all types of sex crime charges throughout New Jersey.
Criminal Sexual Contact in New Jersey
Criminal sexual contact is one of the most basic sex crimes in New Jersey. Under the New Jersey Statute 2C:14-3. A person can be charged with criminal sexual contact when:
- Physical force or coercion is used but the victim does not sustain severe personal injury,
- You knew or should have known the victim was physically helpless, mentally defective, or mentally incapacitated,
- The victim is under correctional supervision (probation, prison) or is confined to a hospital or other institution and you have power over the victim by your occupational status,
- The victim is between the ages of 16 and 18 and is your blood relative or you have a supervisory or disciplinary status over them, or
- The victim is between the ages of 13 and 16 and you are at least 4 years older than them.
The term “sexual contact” is defined at N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2 of New Jersey Law and means intentional touching of the intimate parts of another person or the actor for the purposes of degrading or humiliating the victim or achieving sexual arousal or gratification. Generally, criminal sexual contact is considered the least serious of all of the sex crimes, however, that is not to imply that this is a minor offense.
Sexual assault is perhaps the most well-known sexual crime, and it tends to be used as an umbrella term, even though it is its own distinct crime. Under 2C:14-2, sexual assault can be charged when:
- An actor is guilty of sexual assault if he commits an act of sexual contact with a victim who is less than 13 years old and the actor is at least four years older than the victim.
- An actor is guilty of sexual assault if he commits an act of sexual penetration with another person under any one of the following circumstances:
- The actor uses physical force or coercion, but the victim does not sustain severe personal injury;
- The victim is on probation or parole, or is detained in a hospital, prison or other institution and the actor has supervisory or disciplinary power over the victim by virtue of the actor’s legal, professional or occupational status;
- The victim is at least 16 but less than 18 years old and:
- The actor is related to the victim by blood or affinity to the third degree; or
- The actor has supervisory or disciplinary power of any nature or in any capacity over the victim; or
- The actor is a resource family parent, a guardian, or stands in loco parentis within the household;
- The victim is at least 13 but less than 16 years old and the actor is at least four years older than the victim.
Sexual assault shares many of the same traits as criminal sexual contact, however, it is a more severe crime and is considered to be rape. In addition to facing a prison sentence between five and ten years, a person will be subject to Megan’s Law and the No Early Release Act.
Aggravated Sexual Assault
The criminal offense of aggravated sexual assault is the most serious sexual offense that a person can face under New Jersey law. To draw a comparison, as a first-degree crime, aggravated sexual assault is considered in the same classification as homicide. A person can be charged with aggravated sexual assault under seven different circumstances including:
- The victim is under 13 years old;
- The victim is at least 13 but less than 16 and the actor is related to the victim, has supervisory or disciplinary power over the victim, or acts as guardian or loco parentis within the victim’s household;
- It is committed during a robbery, kidnapping, homicide, aggravated assault, burglary, arson or criminal escape; (4) a weapon was used to threaten the victim;
- The actor used force and was aided by others;
- Force was used and results in severe persons injury to the victim; or
- The victim lacked capacity to consent because of helplessness or disability.
This crime is the most serious sex crime that a person can face in New Jersey. If you have been charged with aggravated sexual assault and are convicted, then you can be sentenced to a jail term between ten and twenty years in state prison.
For Serious Defense Against Serious Sex Crime Allegations Call Out Criminal Attorneys
If you are facing any sexual crime allegation in New Jersey, you need immediate attention and straight answers from a legal advocate you can trust. The criminal defense lawyers of the Law Offices of John J. Zarych can fight to protect your freedom. Contact a criminal defense lawyer and schedule a free and confidential consultation at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych by calling (609) 616-4956 or contact our firm online.