Aggravated Sexual Assault in New Jersey

Crimes of sexual assault are considered as those involving sexually-based violence. The New Jersey State Police defines sexual violence as any type of sexual behavior that is coerced or not wanted or welcomed. There is a wide range of related offenses that may include sexual harassment, stalking, inappropriate contact, and rape. Crimes of a sexual nature are somewhat common in the U.S. It is estimated that nearly 20% of girls and 14% of boys experience some form of sexual abuse prior to becoming adults.

Aggravated Sexual Assault in the First Degree (2C:14-2)

A first-degree offense of aggravated sexual assault involves an act of sexual penetration associated with the following:

  • A victim that is under the age of 13
  • A victim that is at least 13 years old but under the age of 16
    • That is a relative
    • If the perpetrator is a supervisor of or is responsible for disciplining the victim according to the law or due to their occupation or profession
    • Is committed by a parent or guardian
  • The assault occurs in the process of committing a robbery, homicide, burglary or similar offense
  • The offender has possession of a weapon or implies that they possess a weapon
  • The offender is assisted by another person and the acts involve force or coercion
  • The use of force causes the victim to be injured
  • The victim is someone that the perpetrator knows is helpless, mentally impaired, or otherwise not able to provide consent

Sexual Assault in the Second Degree

A second-degree offense of sexual assault involves any of the following scenarios:

  • Having sexual contact with a victim who is under the age of 13 by a perpetrator that is four or more years older
  • An act of sexual penetration is committed as follows:
    • Through the use of force without severely injuring the victim
    • The perpetrator is a supervisor of or is responsible for disciplining the victim according to the law or due to their occupation or profession
    • The victim is 16-years-old but less than 18 years old and:
    • Is a relative
    • The perpetrator is a supervisor of or is responsible for disciplining the victim according to the law or due to their occupation or profession
    • The perpetrator is a parent or guardian
    • The victim is between 13 and 16 years of age and the offender is four or more years older

Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault in the Third Degree

A third-degree criminal sexual assault offense may occur as follows:

  • The victim is a minimum of 13 years old and is under the age of 16 and
    • The parties are related or
    • The perpetrator is a supervisor of or is responsible for disciplining the victim according to the law or due to their occupation or profession or
    • The perpetrator is a parent or guardian
  • The assault occurs in the process of committing a robbery, homicide, burglary or similar offense
  • The offender has possession of a weapon or implies that they possess a weapon
  • The offender is assisted by another person and involves force or coercion
  • The use of force causes the victim to be injured
  • The victim is someone that the perpetrator knows is helpless, mentally impaired, or otherwise not able to provide consent

There are some key terms that must be defined to properly comprehend the provisions in the statutes. The term sexual penetration refers to vaginal or anal intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, or through the insertion of hands, fingers, or other objects. Sexual contact is done intentionally and may be done through clothing. It is may involve contact with intimate parts of the body to either degrade or humiliate the victim or for the sexual gratification of the perpetrator.

Understanding Consent

The laws in New Jersey that relate to consenting to engage in sexual activity are based on the age of an individual or potential impairment of a physical or mental nature. An individual must be 16 years of age to consent. Those under the age of 18 may not consent to engage in sexual relations with a parent, guardian, or someone who has a duty to care for them or supervise them. A 13-year-old may not consent to anyone that is four or more years older than them. Those with significant physical or mental impairments are typically unable to give consent. Impairment may include those under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The Burden of Proof and Statute of Limitations

In order for an individual to be convicted of sexual assault, the offense must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. This standard can be summarized as when there are not another logical means of explaining the facts beyond that the defendant was responsible for the crime.  There is no time limit (statute of limitations) for bringing charges of sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault.

Penalties for the Offenses

 

Maximum Period of Imprisonment

Maximum Fines

First Degree

Between 10 to 20 years

Up to $200,000

Second Degree

Between 5 to 10 years

Up to $150,000

Third Degree

Between 3 and 5 years

Up to $15,000

Sex Offender Registry (Section: 2C:7)

Those convicted of a sexually-based offense in New Jersey, such as sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual contact, or kidnapping, may be required to register as a sex offender. Those who fail to comply may face a separate criminal charge of the third degree. The Division of State Police makes this list of offenders available online for purposes of public safety.

This process was a requirement according to Megan's Law. This was a law enacted in 1994 that established a sex offender registration and community notification program. The offenders are categorized according to the severity of the offense committed and their likelihood to offend again. The offenders may be classified as low, moderate, or high risk.

Importance of Having Experienced Legal Defense

Those who are facing charges for sexually-based offenses should choose their legal representation wisely. Being convicted of these types of crimes generally leads to very harsh consequences. You may be sentenced to up to 20 years of imprisonment, significant fines, incur long-term damage to your reputation in the community, and experience potential difficulties in obtaining employment.

New Jersey Attorney for Defending Allegations of Sexual Assault

Attorney Joseph D. Lento is a seasoned lawyer that provides aggressive criminal defense. His clients appreciate how he closely analyzes evidence and begins promptly challenging the allegations. Contact the office today at (888) 535-3686 for a consultation.

​​​Contact The Lento Law Firm Today

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When it comes to criminal defense cases, you need the right person in your corner. To learn more about how Mr. Lento can help you, call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686. or contact him online.

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