Federal Criminal Defense – NJ District Sexual Abuse

What Is Sexual Abuse?

Sexual abuse involves an illegal sexual act under 18 USC § 2242. The first requirement for a charge to be federal is jurisdiction. For a sexual act to fall under federal jurisdiction, it must occur within a special maritime territory, federal territory, or within a federal facility or one run by the federal government. This includes prisons and other federal institutions.

An individual can be guilty of federal sexual abuse under 18 USC § 2242 if they:

  1. make someone perform a sexual act by threatening or scaring them (except by threatening or scaring them that someone else will be hurt);
  2. have sex with someone who is not able to understand what is happening, or physically unable to stop the act; or
  3. have sex with someone without their consent, including doing so through force; or attempt to commit any of the acts listed above.

Sexual abuse charges are extremely serious crimes, and it is important to have experienced counsel on your side. If you are being investigated for federal sexual abuse, it is important to speak to an experienced federal criminal defense attorney immediately.

What Are the Different Types of Federal Sexual Abuse?

There are several different types of sexual abuse that are prohibited by federal law. These types of abuse are listed under Chapter 109A of Title 18 of the US Code. The different types of federal sexual abuse listed there include:

18 USC § 2241 – Aggravated sexual abuse

18 USC § 2242 – Sexual abuse

18 USC § 2243 – Sexual abuse of a minor, ward, or an individual in federal custody

10 USC § 2244 – Abusive sexual contact

10 USC § 2245 – Offenses resulting in death

If state lines are crossed in the commission of any type of sexual abuse, then federal charges can result. Any acts to prevent an individual from being able to consent to sexual activity can result in criminal sexual abuse and conduct charges. These criminal acts include force, any threats of force, drugs, or other intoxicants that can incapacitate an individual's ability to consent to sexual activity.

What Are the Potential Penalties for Federal Sexual Abuse?

A conviction for any of the sexual abuse offenses listed above results in up to a life term in prison. Convictions for abusive sexual contact under 18 USC § 2244 are punished less severely. If sexual contact is alleged to have occurred instead of sexual abuse, then punishments for a conviction can range from 2 years in prison to 10 years in prison, depending on the nature of the offense. Under 18 USC § 2248, violators of federal sexual abuse and contact laws are required to pay their victims restitution in addition to any punishment rendered. Restitution can be ordered to cover medical services, mental health services, lost income, or other losses suffered by the victim that were a proximate result of a federal criminal sexual act. There is no limit on the amount of restitution that can be ordered.

What Are Some Common Defenses Against a Sexual Abuse Charge?

To obtain a conviction for sexual abuse, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed an illegal sexual act that falls under federal jurisdiction and enforcement. There are several defenses that may be available to you, including:

  • False accusation – If you are being falsely accused of sexual abuse, then you can show evidence to demonstrate that you are not the perpetrator.
  • Lack of evidence – If there is a lack of evidence to connect you to the alleged criminal sexual abuse, then this can be used as a defense at trial. If there is a lack of DNA evidence or eyewitnesses in your case, then these can be argued to the jury.
  • Constitutional violations – If the police violate your rights against unreasonable searches or improper questions, then you can file a motion to have the evidence they found suppressed.

If you are charged with a crime, then speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to find the best defense for your case. The type of defense you need will depend on the facts of your case.

In What Court Will Your Case Be Heard?

If you are accused of a federal crime in New Jersey, then your case will be processed in the federal court with proper jurisdiction. There is one federal district in New Jersey and three court sites. If you oppose a decision made by a federal district court judge, then you can file an appeal with the appropriate appellate court. In New Jersey District Court, appeals must go to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The only higher court than that is the United States Supreme Court. However, the United States Supreme Court is not required to hear your case and may choose not to if you request an appeal.

How Hiring an Experienced Attorney Can Help

If you are charged with a federal crime, it is important to have an attorney who knows how to defend people in federal court. This person can help you understand the case against you and explain your options. They can also negotiate a resolution for you if that is what you want. Remember, it is always your choice whether to accept a plea, but your attorney can advise you on what they believe to be the best option. Contact us today for help!

Why Hiring Lento Law Is the Right Choice

If you are being prosecuted federally for sexual abuse, then make sure that you speak to an experienced federal criminal defense attorney. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped people defend countless criminal charges in several jurisdictions. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to learn why hiring Lento Law is the right choice for you.

​​​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.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.