Sexual offenses involving children are among the most serious and devastating criminal charges a defendant can ever have to confront. People are often quick to jump to conclusions about those who have been accused of such crimes, even long-time friends and coworkers, adding another layer of stress and anxiety to an already difficult, isolating process. If you have been charged with luring or enticing a child in New Jersey, you are probably feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next.
Turn to the Law Offices of John J. Zarych for aggressive legal representation in New Jersey. With over 40 years of combined experience handling serious criminal charges in Atlantic City and beyond, our highly skilled defense attorneys have obtained numerous sentence reductions, acquittals, and other favorable outcomes for defendants who were charged with sex offenses. We may be able to have the charges against you dropped, or have your case dismissed. Call our law offices at (609) 616-4956 to set up a free and completely confidential legal consultation.
Were You Arrested for Luring or Enticing a Child in Atlantic City?
Luring or enticing a child is an extremely serious criminal offense under N.J.S.A. § 2C:13-6. A person commits this crime, as it is defined by the statute, when he or she “attempts, via electronic or any other means, to lure or entice a child or one who he [or she] reasonably believes to be a child into a motor vehicle, structure or isolated area, or to meet or appear at any other place, with a purpose to commit a criminal offense with or against the child.” In other words, it is a crime to lure or try to lure a child into a car, building, isolated area, or any other location with intent to perform a sexual act involving the child.
It’s important to understand how several terms are defined in the statute. A “child” is any person under age 18, and the term “electronic means” includes any actions taken online, such as emailing or instant messaging.
After a person is arrested in Atlantic City, he or she will be taken into custody for “booking,” which involves taking a mugshot, getting fingerprints, and other procedures. A detainee may be released from the Atlantic County Jail, or another detention facility, in exchange for bail. The New Jersey bail amount for luring or enticing a child, or attempting to do so, is $50,000 to $100,000.
Criminal Penalties for Felony Violations of N.J.S.A. 2C:13-6
New Jersey does not refer to crimes as felonies and misdemeanors like most other states. Instead, felonies are called “indictable crimes,” while misdemeanors are equivalent to “disorderly persons offenses.”
There are four distinct classes of indictable offense: first degree crimes (which are the most serious charges possible), second degree crimes, third degree crimes, and fourth degree crimes. Luring or enticing a child is always a felony, and is charged as a crime of the second degree under N.J.S.A. § 2C:13-6(a).
The penalties for a second degree crime in New Jersey may include a criminal fine of up to $150,000, and a prison sentence that may range from five to 10 years in prison. If a person is convicted of luring or enticing a child a second time, he or she will receive a “mandatory minimum term of one-third to one-half of the sentence imposed, or three years, whichever is greater, during which time the defendant shall not be eligible for parole.”
Will I Have to Register as a Sex Offender if I Get Convicted of Luring or Enticing a Child?
Many crimes of a sexual nature require the defendant to register as a sex offender if he or she is convicted. A national database of sex offenders is searchable by anybody with access to a computer with an internet connection, including friends, neighbors, romantic partners, prospective employers, and prospective landlords.
Luring or enticing a child is a registerable offense, meaning you will have to register as a sex offender if you are found guilty. Sex offender status often destroys the person’s reputation, their career, and many of their personal relationships. If you fail to register, you can face additional criminal penalties. While you are registered, you must comply with strict rules and restrictions.
Sex offender status is generally permanent. There is no way to remove yourself from the registry until at least 15 years have passed, and even then, removal is not guaranteed.
Get Legal Help from an Experienced New Jersey Defense Attorney
Being accused of a sex crime against a child can turn your life upside down in an instant. If you are found guilty, you will receive a harsh sentence, costly fines, and a permanent criminal record. You will also be forced to register as a sex offender, which can have major negative impacts on all areas of your life for many years.
When the stakes are this high, it is absolutely imperative that you are represented in court by a tough, knowledgeable, and experienced luring or enticing lawyer. Call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych right away at (609) 616-4956 to arrange a free consultation. We will keep your information confidential.