New Jersey Criminal Statutes of Limitations (Sex Offenses)

In the criminal justice system, the statute of limitations is a deadline on the amount of time that the government has to prosecute people. If the state fails to bring an action against the defendant within the designated time period, the defendant can assert the statute of limitations as a defense and have the case dismissed. 

Criminal statutes of limitations in New Jersey are intended to protect impending defendants. This law is inspired by the rationale that it's harder for defendants to put up a fight in court when a substantial amount of time has passed. Without the enforcement of the statute of limitations, zealous prosecutors would be allowed to carry out injustices like punishing someone for actions that transpired a long time ago.

When it comes to sex offenses, society's outlook on the statutes of limitations is understandably more lenient. Typically, the limitation period begins the moment the crime has been committed. So, if the period for a criminal act is four years, the prosecution would have three years from the date the defendant attacked the victim to prosecute. But some events pause the limitation period, giving the prosecution more time. For example, the statute of limitations does not run whenever a person is fleeing from justice.

Other events have no statute of limitations. This is especially true in sensitive cases involving sex offenses.

In this article, we'll address New Jersey's criminal statutes of limitations for sex offenses.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault in New Jersey is constituted when it includes any sexual act of penetration with another person under certain circumstances. These actions include penetration and oral sex. Types of sexual assault crimes include statutory rape, forcible rape, gang rape, abuse of power, and rape during another crime. 

There is no statute of limitations for sexual assault. 

Criminal Sexual Contact 

An individual is guilty of criminal sexual contact if he or she commits an act of intentional touching of intimate parts by either the victim or the defendant for the purposes of sexual gratification or degradation. Aggravated criminal sexual contact is committed in this same criminal act committed in unique circumstances. 

The statute of limitations for criminal sexual contact and aggravated criminal sexual contact is five years. 

New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney 

Sex offenses are serious crimes in New Jersey. If you've been accused of a crime that you feel falls outside of the statute of limitations, you need the help of a qualified criminal defense attorney. 

If you're looking for quality legal representation, the Lento Law Firm is the ideal firm for you. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has the experience and credentials to defend and counsel people who've acquired assault charges. He will provide you with options in this predicament, build a solid defense and work towards getting your charges reduced or dropped. Mr. Lento keeps flexible office hours and is willing to work around yours. To set up a consultation or for more information about Mr. Lento's representation, contact the Lento Law Firm either online or by phone at 888-535-3686.

​​​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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