Sex Crime Defense in Flemington

If you are a resident of Flemington, NJ, and have been implicated in a sexual offense, any concerns you have about your life and future are entirely justified. Being accused of a sex crime is in itself an immensely distressing experience. Not only are you facing the specter of a humiliating trial at the Hunterdon County Justice Center, but the mere allegation can cause irreparable damage to your reputation, personal relationships, and professional life, even if you're never found guilty. The gravity of these charges can lead to a profound sense of fear and anxiety as you face the potential loss of your rights, freedom, and a future tarnished by a criminal conviction--not to mention the prospect of having to register for life as a sex offender. This ordeal can be overwhelming, leaving you feeling isolated and powerless in the face of such severe accusations.

Fortunately, you are not without recourse. If you are caught up in this unfortunate situation, having representation from the right New Jersey criminal defense attorney can significantly improve your chances of overcoming the charges and preserving your reputation. At the Lento Law Firm, our Criminal Defense Team has extensive experience dealing with sexual crime charges in Flemington and throughout New Jersey. We are well-versed in the New Jersey judicial system and know how to use our experience and the specifics of your case to achieve the best possible outcome. To arrange a consultation, please call 888-535-3686 or fill out our online form.

Understanding Sexual Offense Classifications in New Jersey

Sexual offenses and other crimes in New Jersey are divided into five classifications, each based on the nature and severity of the offense:

  • First-Degree Offense: Punishable by 10 to 20 years of imprisonment and a maximum fine of $200,000
  • Second-Degree Offense: Punishable by 5 to 10 years of imprisonment and a maximum fine of $150,000
  • Third-Degree Offense: Punishable by 3 to 5 years of imprisonment and a maximum fine of $15,000
  • Fourth-Degree Offense: Punishable by up to 18 months of imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000
  • Disorderly Persons Offense: Punishable by up to 6 months of imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1,000

These degrees are assigned to specific sex crimes based on their severity, with some degree of flexibility depending on the circumstances. For example, aggravated sexual assault is typically categorized as a first-degree sex crime in New Jersey, while minor offenses such as lewdness are generally classified as fourth-degree crimes or disorderly persons offenses. The degree of the offense can also be influenced by various factors, such as the age of the parties involved, the specifics of the act, and the relationship between the alleged offender and the victim, among other considerations.

Another factor in determining the severity of the charge is whether penetration occurred during the alleged sexual offense. New Jersey law defines sexual assault as an act involving penetration, including "vaginal intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio or anal intercourse," by the insertion of a finger, hand, or object. Criminal sexual contact, conversely, happens without penetration; the accused intentionally touches the victim's "intimate parts," either directly or through clothing, often with the intention of humiliation, degradation, sexual arousal, or gratification.

Understanding Consent in Sex Crime Cases

The distinction between sexual assault (involving penetration) and criminal sexual contact (without penetration) often rests on the provision or lack of consent. If the alleged victim did not consent to the sexual act or is legally unable to give such consent, then the act is categorized as a sex crime. Persons with mental or physical disabilities, those impaired due to drugs or alcohol, unconscious individuals, and anyone below 16 years old are legally incapable of granting consent. Furthermore, it is considered a sex crime if someone in a parental, guardian, or supervisory position engages in sexual activity with a minor aged between 16-18, even if the minor gives consent.

A notable exception under New Jersey law is that consensual sexual contact is permissible for individuals aged 13-16, provided their partner is not more than four years older. For instance, a consensual sexual relationship between a 14-year-old and a 16-year-old wouldn't be deemed a sex crime despite both parties being legally below the age of consent.

Categories of Sexual Crimes in New Jersey

New Jersey law identifies an extensive range of sexual offenses. Here's a concise summary of some prevalent sex crimes.

Sexual Assault

In New Jersey, sexual assault (also known as rape), barring any exacerbating elements, is classified as a second-degree crime. It refers to nonconsensual sexual penetration achieved through force or coercion without causing physical injury. The definition also includes scenarios where victims are minors, mentally or physically incapacitated, or under the defendant's legal or supervisory authority.

Aggravated Sexual Assault

Aggravated sexual assault is sexual assault accompanied by one or more aggravating elements. These might include instances where the assault occurs concurrently with another criminal act, the victim is mentally or physically incapacitated, or the act involves force resulting in injury or the threat of force with a weapon.

Criminal Sexual Contact/Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact

These offenses, categorized as fourth and third-degree crimes, respectively, meet the criteria for sexual assault but involve undesired sexual contact (touching "intimate parts") without penetration.

Indecent Exposure

Indecent exposure, a fourth-degree offense, involves the display of one's private parts for sexual gratification when the perpetrator reasonably expects to be observed by a child under 13, other minors relative to the age of the defendant, or an individual with a mental disability that inhibits their understanding of the sexual nature of the act.


Lewdness, classified as a disorderly persons offense, occurs when the defendant reasonably expects their sexual behavior to be seen by "nonconsenting persons who would be offended or alarmed." When committed against victims younger than 13 (or other minors if the alleged offender is at least four years older), lewdness escalates to indecent exposure.

Statutes of Limitation for Sex Crimes in Flemington, NJ

Sexual offenses in New Jersey may lead to criminal charges, civil charges, or both. The timeframe within which a sexual offense can be prosecuted or a lawsuit can be filed in civil actions is referred to as the statute of limitations. This legal provision encourages swift legal action while also ensuring the defendant's rights are upheld. The statutes of limitations in New Jersey have been tailored to accommodate varying situations.

Civil Proceedings

In civil proceedings where a plaintiff seeks compensation for damages, New Jersey law allows individuals who were victims of childhood sexual offenses to initiate a legal claim for up to 37 years after their 18th birthday. For adults, they have a seven-year window from the moment they recognize that a past sexual offense has inflicted harm upon them to file a lawsuit.

Criminal Prosecution

New Jersey law essentially provides no statute of limitations for prosecuting sexual assault and aggravated sex crimes. This implies that legal proceedings can be initiated at any time, irrespective of whether the victim was a minor at the time of the offense. For lesser sex offenses, such as lewdness or criminal sexual contact, the statute of limitations ranges from one year for disorderly persons offenses to five years for more severe indictable (felony) offenses.

"Private" Resolutions of Sex Crime Allegations

No one outside law enforcement and the legal system can effectively address sex crimes. Some may think they can handle 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.

Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Sex Crimes in New Jersey

While lesser sex offenses carry lighter penalties than more severe ones, repeat offenders in New Jersey are subject to mandatory minimum sentencing regardless of the nature or severity of the actual crime committed. In legal terms, even a second offense is considered indicative of continuous unlawful conduct. Furthermore, if you have a previous conviction for a sex crime in another state, it will be counted as a prior offense in New Jersey, even if it's your first offense in this state.

In New Jersey, the mandatory minimum sentence for recurrent sexual offenders is five years, with no eligibility for parole during this period--and in certain cases, the judge can extend the sentence. Some situations may qualify for a reduced prison term under New Jersey's "No Early Release Act." However, these individuals are still required to serve at least 85% of their sentence before they become eligible for parole.

Mandatory Sex Offender Registration in New Jersey

In the state of New Jersey, certain sex offenses necessitate the mandatory registration of the defendant as a sex offender upon conviction. This rule applies irrespective of the severity of the offense or whether the court's judgment favors probation or alternate treatment over jail time. If you are found guilty of an eligible sex crime, you will be required to register as a sex offender for life, regardless of the duration of your sentence or if you serve time in prison.

The New Jersey legal system earmarks several sexual offenses that warrant mandatory sex offender registration:

  • Sexual assault
  • Aggravated sexual assault
  • Aggravated criminal sexual contact
  • Criminal sexual contact involving a minor
  • Endangering the welfare of a child through sexual contact, pornography, or prostitution
  • Luring, enticing, kidnapping, criminal restraint, and/or false imprisonment of a minor

Individuals registered as sex offenders are categorized into three tiers based on their anticipated likelihood to re-offend. Each tier determines the extent of information available to the public. Higher-tier crimes necessitate a more comprehensive disclosure on the registry, including the offender's residential address. However, even for lower-tier offenses, the offender must inform local law enforcement about their presence in specific areas and update their address every time they relocate, whether within Flemington or elsewhere. Regardless of the tier or severity, if your conviction entails sex offender registration, your details will be permanently listed on the registry—even for minor offenses and irrespective of any future criminal behavior.

Why You Need Skilled Legal Representation in Flemington Sex Crime Cases

The New Jersey criminal justice system moves swiftly and decisively on allegations of sex crimes, even more so than with other types of crimes. The NJ Attorney General's Office instructs local authorities to notify prosecutors of all sexual assault allegations within 24 hours, and Flemington law enforcement agencies respond promptly in kind. You may find yourself unprepared while grappling with some of the most serious allegations conceivable, with relatively little time to prepare. This is why it's crucial to hire a skilled New Jersey criminal defense attorney at the first sign of trouble.

If you face accusations of a sexual offense in Flemington, New Jersey, your trial will be conducted at:

Hunterdon County Justice Center

65 Park Avenue

Flemington, New Jersey 08822


Given the grave repercussions of sex crime charges, it's crucial to comprehend what you stand to lose, including:

  • Your personal liberty
  • Your professional growth
  • Your reputation
  • Your professional license (if applicable)
  • Your custodial rights
  • Your familial relationships
  • Possible obligations to register as a sex offender

Considering these severe consequences, representing yourself in court is ill-advised, even if you're innocent. Flemington prosecutors are known to relentlessly prosecute sex crime cases to the maximum extent of the law. Without skilled legal representation, your chances of conviction and severe sentencing significantly escalate.

The most effective way to protect your freedom and reputation from these outcomes is by engaging an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The Criminal Defense Team at the Lento Law Firm has a long track record of successful defenses against sex crime charges in Flemington and throughout New Jersey. We will lend you an empathetic ear, thoroughly investigate your case, and meticulously formulate a defense strategy to improve your prospects of a favorable outcome. To schedule a consultation, call us at 888-535-3686 or connect with us via our online form 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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