Sex offenses constitute less than 1% of all arrests in the U.S. In Burlington County, there are currently 263 registered sex offenders. This equates to approximately 3.7 per 10,000 residents. Being convicted of a serious sexually-based offense can have very significant repercussions and those facing charges should promptly retain seasoned legal representation.
Sexual Penetration and Sexual Contact (2C:14-1)
Sexual assault and criminal sexual contact are two very serious sex crimes. They range in severity from first-degree to fourth-degree offenses. The offense is charged according to various factors that include the victim's age, the way the offense is committed, the relationship between the actor and victim, and others.
A key to differentiating these offenses is whether there was an act of sexual penetration or sexual contact. Sexual penetration involves “vaginal intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio or anal intercourse” involving a body part or object. Sexual contact is committed when the actor intentionally touches the victim's “intimate parts” either directly or through clothing. Sexual contact is intended to humiliate or degrade the victim or the actor is seeking 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 Provisions (2C:14-6)
Those convicted of sexual assault or criminal sexual contact for a second time are subject to a mandatory minimum sentence. This is a five-year sentence with no eligibility for parole. Courts also may not suspend any portion of this term of imprisonment.
Maximum Criminal Penalties
- First-degree: Imprisonment of 10 to 20 years and up to a $200,000 fine
- Second-degree: Imprisonment of five to 10 years and up to $150,000 fine
- Third-degree: Imprisonment of three to five years and a $15,000 fine
- Fourth-degree: Imprisonment of fewer than 18 months and a $10,000 fine
- Disorderly person offense: Up to six months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine
Sex Offender Registration Database
In the interests of public safety, many convicted sex offenders are required to register with the authorities. The individuals are added to a central database that is accessible to the public based on “Megan's Law”. Typically, this pertains to those offenders that have some likelihood of re-offending. Multiple offenses require registration such as sexual assault, criminal sexual contact, endangering the welfare of a child, luring, enticing, kidnapping, and more.
Various potential defenses may be employed. The victim may have misidentified the perpetrator. There may be physical evidence (or lack thereof) that supports this and/or the defendant may have an alibi placing them at a different location when the crime was committed.
The defendant may have evidence that the alleged victim consensually engaged in sexual activity. The allegations must be proven using evidence that satisfies a “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard.
New Jersey Attorney Defends Those Accused of Sex Crimes
Sexually-based offenses carry some of the most serious penalties in New Jersey. A conviction is likely to result in a prison sentence, damage to your reputation in the community, and create long-term challenges in securing employment. Contact the office of Joseph D. Lento today at (888) 535-3686 for a case evaluation.