New Jersey Sexual Assault Lawyers
Not many things conjure up more fear in a defendant than the possibility of a conviction for sex assault which could easily result in up to a decade in state prison and sex offender registration under Megan’s Law. Many of these cases can involve allegations of “he said, she said” and therefore often come down to some form of litigation to determine who is telling the truth. Moreover, it is not uncommon for these allegations to be reported long after the fact and involve a prolonged period of time, which can possibly cause serious proof issues for the state prosecution. In furtherance of this, it can normally be beneficial to hire a private investigator to work hand in hand with your attorneys as part of the defense. Because these cases often involve a wide array of allegations it is entirely possible that you could also be charged with companion offenses such as aggravated sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child. If you would like to discuss the details of your case in more detail, feel free to contact us today for a confidential and free consultation with an experienced sexual assault lawyer.
What is Sexual Assault in New Jersey?
The crime of sexual assault is not always as obvious as it sounds and it actually covers a wide arrange of actions and age ranges. For instance, under certain circumstances, it is completely possible to be charged with sexual assault by never even having sex with someone in the first place or even committing an act of “sexual penetration”. Moreover, a sexual assault can involve instances of forcible rape where an individual over powers another but it can also involve situations where both parties are entirely consenting to the sex such as a statutory rape case. There are even be instances where the sex is consensual between both individuals and they are both over the legal age of consent but you can still be charged with a sexual assault. Later on this page, we break down the different circumstances of examples of how you can be charged with sexual assault in New Jersey.
What does “Sexual Penetration” Mean?
Many people automatically assume that you need to actually have sex with another person to be accused of sexual assault but unfortunately that is simply not the case at all. The statute for sexual assault under 2C:14-2b refers to the term “sexual penetration” as an element of the crime. In fact, for purposes of a crime of sexual assault, the allegation of penetration can be oral sex or even be digital penetration such as a finger. It is important to note, that in either scenario it does matter if you reach the point of climax or not as long as the act of penetration occurred.
Sexual Assault with No Penetration
You will be charged with a 2nd degree sexual assault if you have sexual contact with a victim who is less than 13 years old and you are at least four years older than the victim. This could mean groping a minor over their clothes.
Sexual Assault with Penetration
There are several ways you can be charged with sexual assault if there are allegations of penetration. We have listed the examples below:
Forcible Rape without Serious Injury
The defendant uses physical force or coercion, but the victim does not sustain severe personal injury. By contrast, if the victim were to receive serious bodily injury, then the charges would be upgraded to a first degree aggravated sexual assault.
Sexual Acts with an Inmate
If the alleged victim is inmate and you have supervisory authority over them or the power to discipline them by virtue of your job then it is a crime of second degree sex assault even if consensual. Moreover, this also applies to victims who are on probation or parole, or are detained in a hospital or similar institution.
Sex with a Person Who is 16 or 17 Years Old
While the “age of consent” in New Jersey is 16 years old, under certain circumstances you can still be charged with a crime of sex assault if the victim is 16 or 17 years old. We have listed the following examples of how this can happen:
1. If the alleged victim is a blood relative including up to an affinity to the third degree such as a second cousin.
2. Next, you can be charged with sex assault if the victim is someone you have a supervisory or disciplinary power over, in any capacity.
3. Lastly, you can be charged with a sexual assault if you are a foster parent or guardian for the minor.
“Statutory Rape” – Sex with a Person Who is 13, 14 or 15 Years Old
You will be charge with an act of second degree sexual assault if the victim is at least 13 but less than 16 years old and you are at least four years older than the victim. This is the crime that is commonly referred to as “statutory rape”. You will still be charged with this even if the sex or sexual acts were consensual between both parties and you did not realize the victim’s true age. For instance, these circumstances sometimes happen in high school when there is a young freshman and older senior.
Sex Assault Attorneys in Hudson County, NJ
Our New Jersey sex crimes lawyers can help you or your loved who has been charged with a crime of sexual assault. We represent clients charged with sexual assault in Hudson County and surrounding areas throughout New Jersey. Because these cases can often be very difficult and complicated, it is always recommended that you hire an attorney who is experienced in handling sex assault allegations and related charges. Our lawyers will spend the time to learn the specific facts of your case during a free consultation and assess what possible defenses may be applicable to your circumstances.