Sex Crime Defense in Atlantic County

Did you know that roughly 17% of women and 3% of men are targets of a sexual assault at some point? There are currently 489 registered sex offenders residing in Atlantic County. This equates to approximately 12 offenders for every 10,000 residents. Those who have been accused of committing a sexually-based offense should promptly retain defense counsel that is well-versed in this area of legal practice.

Sexual Penetration and Sexual Contact (2C:14-1)

Two of the most common sex crimes are sexual assault and criminal sexual contact. These are charged according to the severity from first-degree to fourth-degree offenses. Determining the severity of the offense is based on several factors including the age of the victim, nature of the offense, the relationship between the actor and victim, and more.

It is critical to differentiate between sexual penetration and sexual contact. Sexual penetration involves “vaginal intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio or anal intercourse” resulting from the insertion of a finger, hand or object. Sexual contact is committed when the actor intentionally touches the victim's “intimate parts” either directly or through clothing. Acts of sexual contact are committed to degrade or humiliate the victim or for sexual arousal or gratification.

Summary of Common Sex Crimes in New Jersey

  • Aggravated sexual assault: first degree
  • Sexual assault: second degree
  • Aggravated criminal sexual contact: third-degree
  • Criminal sexual contact: fourth degree
  • Lewdness: fourth-degree or disorderly person offense

Mandatory Sentencing for Repeat Offenses (2C:14-6)

Offenders that are convicted of a second-offense of sexual assault or aggravated criminal sexual contact will have a minimum fixed sentence of five years without parole eligibility. The court may not deviate from this requirement such as suspending the sentence.

Statute of Limitations

Crimes associated with sexual assault are not subject to a statute of limitations in New Jersey. This means a victim may bring criminal charges at any point after the alleged offense.

Sex Offender Registration (2C:7-2)

Those who are convicted of sex offenses in New Jersey must register with the authorities according to “Megan's Law.” This was a law named after a seven-year-old that was raped and murdered. Offenders that are deemed as a “high” or “moderate” risk to re-offend are listed in the registry database.

Legislative Declaration Regarding Central Registry (2C:7-12)

Lawmakers in New Jersey determined that maintaining a central sex offender registry available to the public is in the best interest of public safety. Members of the community can access this information in efforts to “prevent or avoid placing potential victims at risk.”

Offenses that Require Registration

  • Aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault
  • Aggravated criminal sexual contact and criminal sexual contact (when the victim is a minor)
  • Endangering the welfare of a child through sexual conduct, pornography or prostitution
  • Luring, enticing, kidnapping, criminal restraint, and false imprisonment (when the victim is a minor)

New Jersey Criminal Penalties

Level of Offense

Maximum Incarceration

Maximum Fine

First Offense

10 to 20 years

Up to $200,000

Second Degree

5 to 10 years

Up to $150,000

Third Degree

3 to 5 years

Up to $15,000

Fourth Degree

18 months

Up to $10,000

Experienced Legal Representation for Allegations of Sexually-Based Crimes

Being convicted of a sexually-based offense can result in prison time and the long-term problems associated with being a registered sex offender. Attorney Joseph D. Lento will closely scrutinize the evidence and create a comprehensive defense strategy. Contact the office today at (888) 535-3686 for a consultation.

​​​Contact The Lento Law Firm Today


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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