Sexual assault is also known as rape which involves unwanted sexual penetration or sexual contact with someone less than 13 years-old and is a very serious crime. Less invasive sexual offenses fall under the categories of criminal sexual contact or lewdness. Criminal sexual contact can be defined as inappropriate touching or other violating acts besides rape while exposing one’s genitals constitutes an act of lewdness.
An actor who commits an act of sexual penetration on another person, regardless of age, commits a sexual assault if:
- the assailant uses physical force or coercion, but the victim does not sustain severe personal injury; or
- 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;
Or, 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 of any nature or in any capacity over the victim; or
- the actor is a resource family parent, a guardian, or stands in loco parentis within the household; or
- the victim is at least 13 but not less than 16 years old and the actor is at least four years older than the victim.
Aggravated Sexual Assault
This is an act of sexual assault upon someone either under the age of 13, or less than 16 if the offender is related to the victim, is a guardian or has supervisory power over them, such as a teacher, coach, or babysitter.
Or, if a sexual assault is committed while the offender attempts an act of robbery, kidnapping, homicide, arson, aggravated assault, burglary, or is armed with a weapon or threatens the victim verbally, with use of a weapon, or causes serious bodily injury, then the aggravated charge can apply.
Sexual Assault Penalties
Sexual assault can be a first or second degree crime. Sexual contact can be a second, third or fourth degree crime. Aggravated Sexual Assault is a crime of the first degree. It carries a penalty of 10 to 20 years in prison subject to the No Early Release Act, which means the actor must serve 85% of the sentence before he is eligible for parole.
If You are Arrested for a Sex Crime
Do not give any statements to the police and immediately ask to speak with an attorney. Ignore any promises of leniency and immediate release, or any comments insinuating that they have evidence or statements from others that incriminate you.
Do not discuss any aspect of your case with anyone on a telephone or with any inmates regardless of your actions.
Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer
Criminal charges can remain on your criminal record forever. Such charges may jeopardize your job and make it difficult to find other employment, obtain loans, travel, or acquire a professional license. If you are not a citizen, it can affect your immigration status.
Further, in New Jersey, pursuant to Megan’s Law, a conviction for sexual assault and other sex crimes can lead to public posting of your offense and identity, restrict your ability to find housing or employment, and require you to register in any municipality where you plan to live.
If you are charged with any sex offense, the repercussions can be severe. An experienced criminal defense attorney can utilize exculpatory evidence, procedural motions and expound mitigating factors to ensure a fair trial. In addition, they may be able to decrease your sentence or have the charges dismissed.
If you or someone that you love has been charged with a crime, we want to hear from you.