The New Jersey Sex Offender Internet Registry currently contains over 4,300 offenders. A small percentage of these individuals are considered to be “noncompliant” by failing to complete registration requirements. In Cape May County, there are currently 105 registered sex offenders, which is equivalent to 10 for every 10,000 residents. Based on the severity of many sex crimes, those facing such allegations should promptly consult with experienced legal counsel.
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
Understanding Sexual Penetration and Sexual Contact (2C:14-1)
Serious sex offenses such as sexual assault and criminal sexual contact have elements that include sexual penetration or sexual contact. Sexual penetration involves the insertion of a body part or object into the vagina or anus. This is a key element in a first-degree aggravated sexual assault case.
Sexual contact is committed when the victim's “intimate parts” are intentionally touched either directly or through clothing. The act may be committed to degrade or humiliate the victim and for the sexual arousal or gratification of the perpetrator. Intimate parts are defined as “sexual organs, genital area, anal area, inner thigh, groin, buttock or breast.”
Mandatory Sentencing for Repeat Offenses (2C:14-6)
If an offender is convicted of a second-offense of sexual assault or aggravated criminal sexual contact they will have a minimum fixed sentence of five years imposed with no eligibility for parole. Courts may not suspend these sentences or otherwise deviate from this requirement.
Statute of Limitations
Sexual assault crimes are not subject to a statute of limitations in New Jersey. A victim may potentially bring criminal charges regardless of how many years have passed since the alleged incident occurred.
Megan's Law: Offender Registration (2C:7-2)
Megan's Law is named after a seven-year-old girl that was raped and murdered. The law requires that some convicted offenders who are at risk of re-offending register with the authorities. This information is contained in a public database that is accessible via the internet.
Maximum Periods of Incarceration
- First-degree: A period of imprisonment of 10 to 20 years
- Second-degree: A period of imprisonment of five to 10 years
- Third-degree: A period of imprisonment of three to five years
- Fourth-degree: A period of imprisonment of fewer than 18 months
- Disorderly person offense: A period of imprisonment of fewer than six months
Potential Defenses for Allegations of Sexual Assault
There are several potential defenses used in these cases. It is possible that the victim mistakenly has identified the alleged perpetrator. The defendant may have an alibi that he or she was in a different location during the time of the alleged incident. The defendant may insist that the alleged victim had agreed or consented to participate in sexual activity.
New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney
Those accused of sexually-based crimes deserve to have their legal rights protected. The Lento Law Firm has been representing clients in these and other criminal matters for many years in the greater Cape May County area. Contact the office today at (888) 535-3686 for a case evaluation.