Sex Crime Defense in Camden County

Being accused and charged with a sex crime is one of the biggest challenges someone can face in their life. Anyone can encounter the implications of sex crime accusations, as there isn't a single mold of alleged perpetrators. Thus, no matter your age, educational background, profession, civic roles, or financial standing, you can find yourself in a Camden County, New Jersey courtroom.

Building a defense against sex crime accusations is notably difficult. Even if one is exonerated before a judge and jury, the mere allegations can cast a long shadow on one's future. There are clear and present societal implications for those suspected or charged with sex crimes, including employers that may view the accused with suspicion. As such, even unfounded claims can tarnish an individual's name indefinitely. Overcoming these allegations is paramount, given the severe consequences, which include paying hefty fines or serving prison time. Moreover, many found guilty in New Jersey face the enduring effect of being listed on a public sex offender database, accessible to anyone online.

To ensure your best chance at defense and protect your reputation and community standing, contacting the Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team is essential. Our tried-and-tested team will represent you in a Camden County courtroom, invoke your constitutional rights, and prove your side of the story. The moment allegations arise, Camden County will begin building a case against you. Don't hesitate; the best investment you can make in your future is calling the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 or scheduling a free consultation online now.

The Nature of New Jersey Sex Crimes

Each sex crime allegation will have its individual nuances. However, New Jersey splits them into five legal classifications—or degrees—including the following:

  • First degree
  • Second degree
  • Third degree
  • Fourth degree
  • Disorderly person offense

First-degree offenses are the most serious charges, carrying with them the most severe penalties and long-term damage to one's record and reputation. Conversely, disorderly person offenses are the lowest level of legal seriousness. Typically, aggravated sexual assault charges fall under the first-degree classification, and lewdness offenses are considered either a disorderly person offense or a crime in the fourth degree.

Depending on the level of crime, those accused of sex crimes in Camden County, New Jersey, may be handed down the following punishments:

  • First-Degree Offense: Maximum Incarceration of 10 to 20 years and a maximum fine of up to $200,000, and in some cases, life in prison
  • Second-Degree Offense: Maximum Incarceration of 5 to 10 years and a maximum fine of up to $150,000
  • Third-Degree Offense: Maximum Incarceration of 3 to 5 years and a maximum fine of up to $15,000
  • Fourth-Degree Offense: Maximum Incarceration of 18 months and a maximum fine of up to $10,000
  • Disorderly Offense: Maximum Incarceration of 6 months and a maximum fine of up to $1,000

New Jersey's Office of the Attorney General is taking additional steps to manage sex crimes quicker. Enhanced directives mean local police departments are mandated to report sex crime allegations to prosecutors within 24 hours. Moreover, Camden County prosecutors will have supervisory approval for all decisions regarding criminal charges, namely sexual assault cases.

Understanding the Age of Consent

Sexual acts classified as assault or contact happen when the participant either hasn't granted permission for the sexual activity or legally can't give such permission. In New Jersey, individuals younger than 16 cannot give lawful consent. Furthermore, those below 18 can't legally agree to partake in sexual activities with someone in a parental, guardian, oversight, or comparable capacity.

However, there's a specific allowance for those aged between 13 and 16, provided the sexual partner isn't four or more years senior. For instance, a relationship involving a 15-year-old and a 17-year-old engaging in mutual sexual activities wouldn't be deemed illegal. Those unfit to provide consent for sexual engagements include individuals with cognitive impairments, the unconscious, and those substantially under the influence of drugs or alcohol, among others.

New Jersey Sex Crimes Statute of Limitations

The time frame within which someone may report a sex crime, thus triggering Camden County legal proceedings, is known as the statute of limitations. This framework aims to promote prompt legal actions while evidence remains intact and to uphold justice for the accused. For serious offenses like sex crimes, the state has revised its regulations to extended periods to address every situation.

In terms of criminal proceedings, New Jersey has eradicated the time constraints for taking legal actions against sexual assault, rape, and related severe sex offenses. This implies that charges can be brought up regardless of the time since the purported crime. Legal proceedings can also be initiated without time restrictions when the affected individual was a minor during the offense. According to New Jersey's updated N.J.S.A. 2A:14-2a, those who claim to be victims of sex crimes as minors now have 37 years after they turn 18 to bring forth civil suits. In contrast, adult claimants are granted a window of seven years from the moment they reasonably recognize the injury and its connection to inflicted harm to file civil cases.

It's important to note that no one outside law enforcement and the legal system can effectively address sex crimes. Some may think they can hash out a situation, but New Jersey has set clear boundaries against settling sex crime on a class-action basis. In particular, the law states that "any private, contractual arrangement intending to settle claims… on a class basis is against public policy and shall be void and unenforceable." Irrespective of the intentions and endeavors of involved parties, the New Jersey legal system remains firm in its stance to scrutinize and pass judgment on all sex crime incidents.

Common Sex Offenses in New Jersey

Certain sexual offenses are more common than others. Some offenses have the potential to result in lengthy prison sentences, while others, being minor infractions, may not often lead to imprisonment. The assessment of the offense's seriousness is influenced by multiple aspects, including the affected person's age, the offense's specifics, and the relationship dynamics between the accused and the victim, as well as others. However, all such charges can profoundly deface an individual's record, beginning a criminal history or leaving a significant mark on it.

One of the critical values regarding sex crimes is the nature of the act. For instance, it's essential to distinguish between acts of sexual penetration and sexual contact. It can very well be the difference between a third-degree and a first-degree crime.

Per N.J.S.A. 2C:14-1, sexual penetration involves "vaginal intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio or anal intercourse" resulting from inserting a finger, hand, or object. Sexual contact is committed when the accused 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. Each sex crime scenario varies, but here are some typical examples, associated legal classifications, and potential legal repercussions.

Aggravated sexual assault

N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(a): A first-degree crime involving sexual penetration with someone under the age of 13, with someone between 13 and 16 if the defendant had a familial relationship with the complainant or disciplinary power over the complainant, with someone during the course of another crime, or using force that produced an injury or with threatened force using a weapon.

Sexual Assault

N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(b)-(c): A second-degree crime—also known as rape—involving sexual penetration through the use of physical force or coercion—without physical harm—when the accuser is physically or mentally incapacitated or under the defendant's legal control or supervision.

Aggravated criminal sexual contact

N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3(a): A third-degree crime involving sexual contact after coercion or force that leads to a physical injury to the accuser or with certain minors.

Criminal sexual contact

N.J.S.A 2C:14-3(b): A fourth-degree crime that involves sexual contact using coercion but without injury or use of force, in circumstances similar to those that would apply in a sexual assault case.

Indecent exposure

N.J.S.A 2C:14-4(b): A fourth-degree crime involving exposing intimate parts for the purpose of sexual gratification when the defendant reasonably knows that they will be seen either by a child under 13, certain minors depending on the age of the defendant, or by someone with a mental incapacity that makes them unable to understand the sexual nature of the exposure.


N.J.S.A 2C:14-4(a): A disorderly person offense involving any act in which the defendant reasonably expects is likely to be observed by "nonconsenting persons who would be affronted or alarmed." When committed against accusers below the age of 13 or minors if the alleged perpetrator is four years older, lewdness is a fourth-degree offense.

Sex Crime Mandatory Minimum Sentences

The classification of sexual offenses plays a pivotal role in court decisions, but so too does the consistency of such offenses. As per New Jersey's legal provision N.J.S.A. 2C:14-6, when an individual is charged and subsequently found guilty of an initial and then a subsequent offense, it's seen as habitual behavior. When determining a pattern, the court factors in an individual's prior criminal history. This means that even if the present charges are one's first encounter in New Jersey, a conviction from another state will necessitate an added sentencing duration in New Jersey.

If habitual offense is established, defendants will face a mandatory minimum sentence of at least five years, during which parole is not an option. The court cannot alter this mandated punishment, including suspension or reduction of the sentence.

Though there might be exceptions that lessen prison duration in specific cases, New Jersey's "No Early Release Act" mandates that individuals serve a minimum of 85 percent of their assigned sentence before potential release. Those found guilty of particular offenses, especially aggravated sexual crimes or those involving minors, will fall under the sentencing stipulations detailed in N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2.

Sexual Offender Registry

As mentioned before, more minor infractions are addressed with lower fines and shorter jail sentences, but many often don't lead to imprisonment. However, someone convicted of sex crimes must endure an overlooked punishment.

Defendants convicted of sex crimes must register as a sexual offender. Not all sex crimes require registration —only those listed at N.J.S.A. 2C:7-2—and those that do group prior sex crime offenders into three tiers based on the perceived risk of re-offense, with each tier determining how much information gets revealed to the public. The following are examples of convictions 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 contact, pornography, or prostitution.
  • Luring, enticing, kidnapping, criminal restraint, and false imprisonment (when the victim is a minor).

Even those with the lowest risk of re-offense may be required to notify law enforcement agencies when they are in certain areas. Moreover, the New Jersey Sex Offender Internet Registry is a publicly available site, meaning friends, family, neighbors, employers, and anyone with the Internet can access it.

How New Jersey's Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team Can Help You

In addition to the legal consequences previously described, those found guilty of sexual offenses often grapple with profound societal impacts. These can range from tarnished reputations, challenges in job hunting, strained personal ties, and the potential revocation of professional qualifications or credentials. Given these stakes, it's crucial to secure skilled legal counsel promptly when faced with such accusations. Camden County, New Jersey, pursues these crimes rigorously, utilizing extensive means to investigate, judge, and penalize alleged offenders. Having adept and reliable legal guidance is vital to safeguard your name.

The Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team has managed a myriad of sex crime cases across New Jersey, especially in Camden County. We recognize the intricate nuances of these charges and commit to delivering a robust, tactical defense prioritizing your rights and welfare. Without a formidable legal stance, you're vulnerable to severe imprisonment, hefty fines, loss of professional accreditations, and an indelible stain on your character. Don't defend yourself alone; call the Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team at 888-535-3686 or go online today.

​​​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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