If you have been charged with a sex offense in the State of New Jersey, your rights are at risk. Sex offense charges carry a major stigma by their very nature. Even a completely innocent person will face major challenges on the road ahead, likely more so than what others facing non-sex offenses could face. People are all too quick to assume a person accused of a sex crime are guilty, rather than holding to the important mantra that all Americans are "innocent until proven guilty."
Luckily, there are defenses available for those charged with a sex offense. With the help of an experienced New Jersey sex offense defense attorney at your side, you stand a much greater chance of seeing your charges reduced, or even dismissed. With the right help, you can present reasonable doubt about the charges against you and protect your constitutional rights.
New Jersey Sex Crimes Defense Attorney
With many years of experience working in different roles in the New Jersey justice system, Joseph Lento is a uniquely qualified New Jersey criminal defense attorney with a comprehensive knowledge of how the criminal justice system works, from start to finish.
If you have been charged with a sex crime in New Jersey and need a comprehensive, customized defense, contact the attorneys at Lento Law Firm. Joseph Lento built his practice on the ideals of customer service and justice and he will fight for your rights and freedom. Call (215) 535-5353 today to schedule your free consultation and discover what Joseph Lento can do to clear your name.
What Defenses are Available in New Jersey Sex Offense Cases?
There are many different defenses that an individual can raise to defend his or her case after being charged with a sex crime. The best defense is one that is specifically tailored to meet your needs by an experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyer, but the following common defenses can possibly be raised on your behalf to challenge the prosecutor's case against you.
Objective innocence means that you are innocent of the crime of which you are charged, and it can be proven with objective evidence. This type of evidence does not always exist, as sometimes charges are based on mere allegations and "he said, she said" testimony. However, when certain facts and evidence exist, you and your defense attorney can definitively prove you are innocent of the crime.
Ways to do this include, but are not limited to:
- use of DNA evidence to exclude you as a possible perpetrator
- proof of a bulletproof alibi (you could not have been the person to commit the crime because you were proven to be somewhere else)
- mistaken identity defense in which you show that you were initially misidentified as the perpetrator, but the witness was incorrect in that identification
- you were maliciously accused of the crime as some sort of revenge or payback
- there is video evidence of the crime that clearly shows you were not the person who committed the sex offense
- the alleged victim confesses to making a mistake, intentionally making up the story, or admits some other mistake which clearly indicates your innocence
Objective innocence defenses are incredibly powerful. These types of defenses, when successful, can lead to a reduction in your charges or even a total dismissal of the charges against you.
A New Jersey prosecutor must prove his or her case "beyond a reasonable doubt." This is a very high burden that is set forth in the United States Constitution and must be met in order to convict a person of a crime. When there is very little evidence that you committed the crime in question, this can be used to show that you did not commit the crime, or at the very least that not enough evidence exists to find you guilty.
It is important to note that an accusation of a sex crime by an alleged victim is, theoretically, enough to convict you if believed by a jury. This is why it is crucial to have an experienced lawyer at your side who knows how to create doubt without causing the jury to side with the alleged victim. This can be delicate work, and should not be left to an inexperienced lawyer or to a person representing him or herself.
One of the most powerful defenses an accused person can raise is that of "consent." Sex crimes typically require that a sexual act was performed against a person against his or her will. When this is the case, if the alleged "victim" actually consented, or said yes, to these acts, then no crime was committed. Proof of consent can come in multiple ways, including text messages, chats, testimony, or other means. If the crime requires that a sexual act was performed against someone's will, yet they consented, then there is no crime.
However, some sex offense crimes can be committed even when the alleged "victim" consents. Certain sex offenses against minors are still a crime, even when the minor fully and completely consented to the sexual acts. In these cases, it is important to rely on other defenses, as consent is not a defense to these cases (even when completely true).
Filing a Suppression Motion
A suppression motion can be filed to keep certain evidence out of the trial. This can occur when evidence was obtained in such a way that it violated either the United States or New Jersey constitutions. When this is the case, this motion asks the judge to "exclude" or keep out that evidence that was illegally obtained.
This can be a massive victory when successful, as it may completely destroy the prosecutor's case. Not every case can be defended this way every time, but an experienced attorney can both investigate and determine whether this powerful defense applies in your situation.
Consult a New Jersey Sex Crimes Defense Attorney
If you or someone you care about faces a sex offense in New Jersey, an experienced New Jersey sex offense attorney can fight for your rights. Joseph D. Lento has the years of experience necessary to protect your rights.
Call (888) 535-3686 or contact us online today to schedule a consultation of your case.