Expunging a Rape Conviction in New Jersey

If you have a criminal record for rape or face a charge for rape right now, you're undoubtedly worried about how this will affect your future. A criminal conviction can affect your educational and job opportunities and keep you from obtaining professional licenses, passing a security clearance, or getting a loan.

Fortunately, New Jersey law offers a second chance for some people through the process of expungement. An expungement allows you to obtain a court order to remove your conviction and arrest records from agency and court files. An experienced expungement attorney can tell you if you may be eligible to expunge your record after a rape conviction in New Jersey.

Rape Charges in New Jersey

Rape, often known as sexual assault, is a serious charge in New Jersey. If convicted, the extent of the penalty will depend on the circumstances of the assault, the age of the victim, and the degree of the indictable offense charged. Here, we've grouped the most common sexual assault charges by those involving adults and those involving minors as victims.

  1. Sexual Assault

Sexual assault with another person under any of the following circumstances:

  • The defendant uses coercion or doesn't receive freely given consent, and the victim isn't seriously injured
  • The defendant has supervisory or disciplinary control over the victim in a hospital, prison, or other institution
  • The victim is a student between 18 and 22, doesn't have a degree, and the defendant is a staff member

Sexual assault is typically a second-degree indictable offense, punishable by up to ten years in prison and up to a $150,000 fine.

See N.J.S.A. §§ 2C:14-2(b,c) (2020).

  1. Aggravated Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is aggravated if:

  • The assault happened during the commission or attempted commission of a robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, or aggravated assault
  • The defendant used a weapon or another object as a weapon
  • One or more people aid the defendant, and the victim doesn't give consent
  • The defendant uses coercion or doesn't have the victim's consent
  • The victim was physically or mentally incapacitated or wasn't capable of giving consent

See N.J.S.A. § 2C:14-2(a) (2020). Aggravated sexual assault is a first-degree indictable offense, punishable by up to 20 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.

For an aggravated sexual assault conviction involving (1), the prosecution may accept a negotiated plea bargain in the victim's interests. However, the plea agreement must involve at least 15 years in prison without parole.

  1. Criminal Sexual Contact

Criminal sexual contact and aggravated sexual contact involve the same circumstances as sexual assault, only without penetration. See N.J.S.A. § 2C:14-3 (2020). Aggravated criminal sexual contact is a third-degree indictable offense, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine. Criminal sexual contact is a fourth-degree indictable offense punishable by up to 18 months in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Statutory Rape in New Jersey

A special class of sexual assault charges in New Jersey are those involving minors. In New Jersey, it's illegal for someone over 18 to have sex or sexual contact with someone under 16, even if it's consensual. We call this “statutory rape,” but there are grades and classifications, just as with all sexual assault laws.

  1. Sexual Assault

Sexual assault involves sexual touching between a minor under 13 and a defendant who is at least four years older. Sexual assault also involves sexual penetration between a minor who is 13 to 15 and a defendant who is at least four years older. See N.J.S.A. §§ 2C:14-2(b,c) (2020). This offense is a second-degree indictable offense punishable by five to ten years in prison and up to a $150,000 fine.

  1. Aggravated Sexual Assault

Aggravated sexual assault involves sexual penetration with a body or object between a minor under 13 and a defendant of any age or a minor between 13 and 16 if the defendant is related to the victim or had supervisory or disciplinary control over the victim. See N.J.S.A. § 2C:14-2(a) (2020). This offense is a first-degree indictable offense punishable by 15 years to life in prison and a fine of up to $200,000. If the crime involves sexual penetration of a child under 13, the punishment is 25 years to life with at least 25 years served without the possibility of parole. See N.J.S.A. § 2C:14-2(d) (2020).

  1. Criminal Sexual Contact

Criminal sexual contact involves minors 13 to 15 and a defendant who is at least four years older. This fourth-degree indictable offense is punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a $1,500 fine. See N.J.S.A. § 2C:14-3 (2020).

Most sexual assault and statutory rape convictions require that you register as a sex offender. See N.J.S.A. § 2C:7-2 (2018).

Who Is Eligible to Expunge a Rape Conviction in New Jersey?

Typically, New Jersey law offers several options to expunge a criminal conviction or arrest, depending on the circumstances of your case. However, some serious indictable offenses aren't eligible for expungement under New Jersey law. Sexual assault, statutory rape, and most sex crimes aren't eligible for expungement.

Sealing Your New Jersey Criminal Record

In some cases, you may be able to seal your New Jersey criminal record instead of expunging it. While expunging extracts your record from files, sealing simply removes your records from public view. A sealed record can only be viewed in limited circumstances. But the best way to see if you might be eligible to seal or expunge a New Jersey rape conviction is by consulting an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney.

Hire an Experienced New Jersey Expungement Attorney

If you have a rape or statutory rape conviction in New Jersey, your criminal record can limit your future education and career opportunities. Of course, the best way to avoid these limitations is by avoiding a conviction in the first place, and a skilled New Jersey defense attorney can help. But if you already have a conviction, you should consult an experienced New Jersey expungement lawyer to discuss your options.

Attorney Joseph Lento and the skilled team at The Lento Law Firm have been helping people in New Jersey facing criminal convictions for years, and they can help you too. Call them today at 888-535-3686 or contact them online to schedule your 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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