Fight your NJ Sexual Assault Charge with a Strong Legal Defense!
If you’ve been arrested for sexual assault, you know that you are facing serious criminal penalties and life consequences if found guilty. You need a strong, experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side if you hope to avoid the most severe outcomes in court. There are always legal defense options, but you can’t afford to wait. Please contact me immediately so I can advise you of your legal options, and some suggested defenses.
How Are Sexual Assault Charged Defined Under NJ Law?
Sexual Assault is the legal term for Rape in New Jersey, and indicated an allegation of of sexual penetration.
Criminal Sexual Contact is a lesser charge consisting of “intentional touching by the victim or actor, either directly or through clothing, of the victim’s or actor’s intimate parts for the purpose of degrading or humiliating the victim or sexually arousing or sexually gratifying the actor”.
Lewdness is an offense defined by “lewd acts” consisting of “exposing of the genitals for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of the actor or of any other person“.
These crimes also may fall into the category of Domestic Violence depending on the relationship between the victim and the defendant.
These charges are very complicated, and are no doubt overwhelming. But I’ve fought these cases before, and there are a number of valid defenses we can use. Facts can be challenged, and many charges can be reduced or dropped.
Elements of Sexual Assault / Criminal Sexual Contact according to New Jersey Law
The elements of an Aggravated Sexual Assault charge are as follows:
(1) The victim is less than 13 years old.
(2) The victim is at least 13 but less than 16 years old; and
a. The actor is related to the victim by blood or affinity to the third degree; or b. the actor has supervisory or disciplinary power over the victim; or c. the actor is a foster parent, a guardian, or stands in loco parentis within the household;
(3) The act is committed during the commission, or attempted commission, whether alone or with one or more other persons, of robbery, kidnapping, homicide, aggravated assault on another, burglary, arson, or criminal escape;
(4) The actor is armed with a weapon or any object fashioned in such a manner as to lead the victim to reasonably believe it to be a weapon and threatens by word or gesture to use the weapon or object;
(5) The actor is aided or abetted by one or more other persons and the actor uses physical force or coercion;
(6) The actor uses physical force or coercion and severe personal injury is sustained by the victim;
(7) The victim is one whom the actor knew or should have known was physically helpless, mentally defective or mentally incapacitated.
The elements of a Sexual Assault charge are:
An actor is guilty of sexual assault if he commits an act of sexual contact with a victim who is less than 13 years old and the actor is at least 4 years older than the victim.
c. An actor is guilty of sexual assault if he commits an act of sexual penetration with another person under any one of the following circumstances:
(1) The actor uses physical force or coercion, but the victim does not sustain severe personal injury;
(2) The victim is one whom the actor knew or should have known was physically helpless, mentally defective, or mentally incapacitated;
(3) The victim is on probation or parole, or is detained in a hospital, prison, or other institution and the actor has supervisory or disciplinary power over the victim by virtue of the actor’s legal, professional or occupational status;
(4) The victim is at least 16 but less than 18 years old and:
- The actor is related to the victim by blood or affinity to the third degree; or
- the actor has supervisory or disciplinary power over the victim; or the actor is a foster parent, a guardian, or
- stands in loco parentis (in place of the parent) within the household;
(5) The victim is at least 13 but less than 16 years old and the actor is as at least 4 years older than the victim.
The legal elements of a Criminal Sexual Contact charge are those in elements (1)-(5) above.
New Jersey Sexual Assault and Related Penalties
Aggravated Sexual Assault is a First Degree Crime under New Jersey Criminal Statute (2C:14-2), with a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in state prison.
Sexual Assault (2C: 14-2b,c) is a Second Degree Crime, which has a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact (2C:14-3a) is a Third Degree Crime, which has a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison.
Criminal Sexual Contact (2C:14-3b) is a Fourth Degree Crime, which has a maximum penalty of up to 18 months in prison.
More on criminal sexual contact charges here.
Lewdness (2C:14-4) may be charged as either a Fourth Degree Crime (felony level, above) if it involves a mentally incapacitated person or child under 13 if the defendant is more than 4 years older, or more commonly, a disorderly persons offense (misdemeanor) which has a maximum penalty of 6 months in jail and/or a $1000 fine.
Sexual Assault/Lewdness Defense Strategies
One of the first things I’ll often do is look for any opportunity to get the charges reduced, to lessen the risk of the most severe penalties.
Frequently, the evidence in these cases hinges on the alleged victim’s testimony and establishing a lack of consent, so I will insist that the prosecution be able to prove any statements are credible.
In cases of a Lewdness charge, the primary goal is often to find away to avoid sexual registry (registered sex offender), and a permanent criminal record that shows a conviction for lewdness.
Sexual assault and criminal sexual contact cases are very complicated. A good defense strategy requires an experienced lawyer and a careful study of the specifics of the case, in order to pick the best theory of defense.
You deserve fair treatment in court, and no matter what you are accused of, you are innocent until proven guilty.
A Free, Criminal Defense Legal Consultation
I can offer you a free legal consultation on any sexual assault, lewdness, or other New Jersey charge. I will talk to you either in person or over the phone. Soyou have nothing to lose by calling — and you’ll learn exactly what your rights and best options are. Take advantage of my offer to talk directly to a New Jersey defense attorney who has represented people just like you countless times before. And as I said, if you decide not to hire me to represent you, you’ve lost nothing, and our talk is still completely confidential.
Please call me to discuss your New Jersey sexual assault or lewdness charge, at my offices in Freehold, NJ. (888) 628-8394.
Matthew Reisig, Attorney at Law
New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer – Freehold, NJ