Currently in Gloucester County, there are 167 registered sex offenders. This is equivalent to 3.6 offenders per 10,000 residents. Allegations of sexually-based offenses are aggressively pursued by prosecutors in New Jersey. Those facing these charges should promptly seek the assistance of experienced legal counsel.
Common Types of Sex Crimes in New Jersey
- Aggravated sexual assault: first-degree offense
- Sexual assault: second-degree offense
- Aggravated criminal sexual contact: third-degree offense
- Criminal sexual contact: fourth-degree offense
- Lewdness: fourth-degree or disorderly person offense
Understanding Consent to Engage in Sexual Activity
One key element of a rape or sexual assault is that the victim did not consensually participate or was legally incapable of consenting to engage in sexual activity. The crime may have been committed using force, threats or other coercion. Those who are legally unable to consent may be either underage or be “mentally incapacitated” based on disease or defect.
The victim may also be “temporarily incapable” such as unconscious or heavily intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. In New Jersey, anyone under the age of 16 is generally unable to legally consent to participate in sexual activity. Those who are 16 or 17-years-old are also unable to legally consent to participate in such activity with a parent, guardian or another adult that is functioning as a supervisor or disciplinary role at the time.
Mandatory Sentencing for Repeat Offenses (2C:14-6)
If an individual is convicted for the second time of a serious sexually-based crime such as sexual assault or criminal sexual contact they are subject to some mandatory minimum sentencing provisions. These include a requirement to serve a five-year sentence with no eligibility for parole. Courts are not permitted to suspend any portion of this sentence.
Megan's Law and Offender Registration
Many of those convicted of sex offenses in New Jersey are required to register and remain compliant with Megan's Law. The State Police maintain a centralized database of offenders that is accessible online to the public. Offenders that fail to comply with these requirements may face significant legal consequences.
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
To be convicted, the allegations must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The evidence that exists in these cases may be insufficient to satisfy this standard when subjected to scrutiny. Evidence may have been gathered in a manner that violated the rights of the accused or in another way that constitutes improper procedure. The defendant may also allege that the sexual activity was consensual.
New Jersey Defense Attorney for Allegations of Sex Crimes
Being convicted of a sexually-based offense can have devastating consequences. The Lento Law Firm will use a combination of skills and experience to protect your rights and create a defense strategy that seeks to exonerate you. Contact the office at (888) 535-3686 for a case consultation.