If you find yourself facing charges for any sexual offense in Wildwood, then you should be aware that not only are the potential consequences serious, but the impact they can have on your life can be monumental.
If you are facing criminal sexual contact or aggravated criminal sexual contact charges in Wildwood, 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.
Criminal Sexual Contact Charges
Criminal sexual contact is one of the lower sexual offenses in New Jersey, however, that does not imply that this is an offense to take lightly. Under N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2 “sexual contact” is defined as: “intentional touching of the intimates parts of another person or the actor for the purposes of degrading or humiliating the victim or achieving sexual arousal or gratification.” However, sexual contact alone does not constitute an offense in New Jersey, in order to charge someone with criminal sexual contact there needs to be sexual contact plus some other circumstance. The New Jersey Statute specifically outlines the following as acts that in addition to sexual contact are sufficient to charge a person with criminal sexual contact:
- 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.
This charge is unique in that in many ways it is similar to that of sexual assault, which is an equivalent of rape in other states, however for this charge there is no sexual penetration which differentiates it from sexual assault.
Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact
There is another charge that you could potentially be facing that is very similar to criminal sexual contact, that is, aggravated criminal sexual contact. In certain instances a charge for criminal sexual contact can be elevated to the more serious offense of aggravated criminal sexual contact, notably when:
- The victim is under the age of 16 but over 13,
- The victim is under your care as a guardian, teacher, or supervisor,
- You are armed when it occurs,
- You are aided by another person,
- You use physical force or coercion
- The victim is handicapped or physically helpless, or
- If it is committed during the commission of another serious offense.
While there are correlating elements to these crimes they are charged and prosecuted differently, and the potential penalties for these crimes also varies significantly.
What are the Penalties for Criminal Sexual Contact or Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact?
If you are facing charges or an indictment for either of these offenses you should be aware from the beginning that you may be facing time in prison, thousands of dollars in fines as well as mandatory registration under Megan’s Law as a sex offender.
Since the prosecutor may bring these charges as either a third degree or a fourth-degree charge, the consequences for a conviction can vary. Criminal sexual contact is charged as a third-degree crime in New Jersey and if the state proves all of the elements of the offense, then the judge can impose:
- A fine of up to $10,000
- Prison sentences of up to eighteen (18) months
- Required registration under Megan’s Law
If you are charged and convicted of aggravated criminal contact, then you can face more serious penalties such as:
- A fine of up to $15,000
- Prison sentences between three and five years
- Required registration under Megan’s Law
If you are facing any of these charges it is essential that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Our Wildwood Criminal Sexual Contact Defense Attorneys Can Help
If you do not defend your rights, then you may lose them. A criminal sexual contact charge is a serious matter and something that could potentially ruin your life. When the stakes are set so high, why trust your freedom to just anybody. For over 40 years the attorneys at the Law Firm of John J. Zarych, have been representing New Jersey residents facing the most serious criminal charges.