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Criminal Law: Sexual Assault, Megan's Law, and Other Sex Crimes

A New Jersey Sexual Assault Lawyer for All Sex Crime Offenses

Sex offenses are among the most serious crimes in New Jersey — many require jail time upon conviction. Some carry sentences of life in prison with up to 25 years without parole eligibility. Many sex crimes are subject to the No Early Release Act, which requires that 85% of the sentence imposed be spent in jail without the possibility of parole. The effects of a criminal sex crime prosecution are far reaching and don't stop with the significant criminal penalties involved — a wrongly accused person can lose his or her job, friends and hard-earned reputation. There are also serious collateral consequences to consider.  Most sexual assault convictions, in addition to the sentence, include Megan’s law supervision for life. No matter the crime, the time to contact a New Jersey sexual assault lawyer is now. 

Top Defense for New Jersey Sex Crimes 

Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. has experienced New Jersey sexual assault attorneys to protect your rights. They've successfully handled these cases before and have the knowledge and skill to persuasively defend sex offense charges, regardless of the degree of crime charged.

Frequently, bogus charges are filed by an angry significant other or by a child to retaliate against an individual for some perceived wrong. Others may file sexual charges to get an advantage in a divorce, custody, visitation, or other dispute. Previously abused children sometimes file bogus charges to gain attention or force a change in their living arrangements. A strong defense can impact the outcome of the case by providing evidence to question the motive and credibility of the alleged victim. Having experienced sex crime attorneys working for you is essential to preparing a compelling defense.

Cases We Handle

Our lawyers represent individuals charged with sexual assault and all other types of sex crimes under New Jersey law. We provide experienced and aggressive legal representation for individuals accused of:

Campus sex crimes 

Child molestation

Child pornography 

Child endangerment

Indecent exposure  

Lewd conduct  

Computer and Internet crime 

Rape

Sexting 

New Jersey’s Crimes of Sexual Assault and Aggravated Sexual Assault

The crimes of sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault defined in Section 2C:14-2 of the New Jersey Revised Statutes. Examples of conduct that can be prosecuted as sexual assault in New Jersey include:

  • Any form of sexual contact with a victim who is less than 13 years old if the assailant is at least four years older than the victim;
  • Sexual penetration involving physical force or coercion;
  • Sexual penetration involving a victim who is between the ages of 13 and 16 if the assailant is at least four years older than the victim;
  • Sexual penetration involving a victim who is 16 or 17 years old where the assailant is a relative or guardian, has “supervisory or disciplinary power” over the child, or has another close relationship with the child; and,
  • Sexual penetration involving a victim who, “is on probation or parole, or is detained in a hospital, prison or other institution,” and an assailant who, “has supervisory or disciplinary power over the victim by virtue of [his or her] legal, professional or occupational status.”

Sexual assault is a second-degree indictable offense. This means that individuals charged with sexual assault can face between five and 10 years in prison and up to a $150,000 fine. These penalties are in addition to the consequences imposed under Megan’s Law, as discussed below.

In New Jersey, the most serious sexual assault crimes are prosecuted as “aggravated sexual assault.” Section 2C:14-2 defines the crime of aggravated sexual assault as any act of sexual penetration involving:

  • A child under the age of 13;
  • A child between the ages of 13 and 16 where the assailant is a relative or guardian, has “supervisory or disciplinary power” over the child, or has another close relationship with the child;
  • The commission, or attempted commission, of a robbery, kidnapping, homicide, aggravated assault, burglary, arson or escape;
  • The threatened use of any weapon or other object, “fashioned in such a manner as to lead the victim to reasonably believe it to be a weapon;”
  • Use of physical force or coercion with the assistance of one or more other assailants;
  • Use of physical force or coercion resulting in severe personal injury to the victim; or,
  • A victim who the assailant knew, or reasonably should have known, was “physically helpless or incapacitated, intellectually or mentally incapacitated, or had a mental disease or defect which rendered the victim temporarily or permanently incapable of understanding the nature of his conduct, including, but not limited to, being incapable of providing consent.”

Aggravated sexual assault is a first-degree indictable offense that carries a minimum prison sentence of 25 years without the possibility of parole and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment (except in cases involving victims under the age of 13, where “in consideration of the interests of the victim,” the court may accept a negotiated plea agreement that requires the assailant to serve 15 years without the possibility of parole). In aggravated sexual assault cases, the court can also impose a fine of up to $200,000.

Penalties for Sexual Assault Under Megan’s Law

Along with fines and prison time, individuals convicted of certain sex crimes in New Jersey can face additional penalties under the statute known as Megan’s Law. This is the law that establishes New Jersey’s sex offender registration system. Sex offender registration is required for adults and juveniles, and is an additional penalty for the sex crimes of:

  • Aggravated sexual assault
  • Sexual assault
  • Aggravated criminal sexual contact
  • Criminal sexual contact involving a minor
  • Endangering the welfare of a child
  • Child pornography
  • Promoting prostitution of a child

Registration under Megan’s law can be lifelong; and, depending upon your “tier,” your registration information could be posted on the Internet – or even distributed to your neighbors. Due to the severe consequences of Megan’s law registration, in many cases, a key defense strategy will be to seek to lower your “tier” designation or seek a lesser charge that does not trigger New Jersey’s sex offender registration requirements. Our New Jersey sexual assault lawyers are skilled at asserting these and other defense strategies, and we can use our experience to protect you to the greatest extent possible.

Learn more about Megan’s Law registration for convicted sex offenders in New Jersey.

Another reason to choose an experienced New Jersey sexual assault lawyer at Helmer, Conley and Kasselman, are the secondary but still significant consequences of a sex crime conviction, namely, Megan's Law Registration, Parole Supervision for Life, Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P, formerly DYFS) involvement and the possibility of being placed on the DCP&P Child Abuse Central Registry.

Parole Supervision for Life, DCP&P Action and Other Consequences of Sexual Assault Convictions

Another collateral consequence for many convicted sex offenders is parole supervision for life. Certain sex offenses, such as aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, and aggravated criminal sexual contact, require convicted offenders to be on parole indefinitely. This means that, once released from jail, a parolee will have to abide by a list of parole conditions for the rest of his or her life, including, having to report to a parole officer regularly; obtaining permission to live at a particular residence; obtaining permission before moving from that address; obtaining permission before accepting a job; notifying parole in the event of a loss of a job; submitting to searches of his or her residence, car and belongings for cause; and not being able to use a computer/phone or other device with Internet capability for personal use without permission from the court. Willful violation of these conditions may result in the parolee being charged with a third-degree crime and/or being returned to jail.

As mentioned above, if the alleged assault involves a family member, the Division of Child Permanency and Protection might also become involved, which brings the possibility that the accused may not be able to return home or see his or her children and may even face abuse and neglect proceedings under Title 9. Additionally, DCP&P may decide to place the accused on the Central Registry. This registry, or list, contains the names of those found by DCP&P to have committed an act of abuse or neglect. Placement on the list, which is made available to certain government agencies, is permanent and may have profound consequences for people such as nurses or health care workers who are licensed and come into contact with children.

Contact a New Jersey Sexual Assault Lawyer

With more than 600 years of combined legal experience, the sex crime attorneys at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. can help you fight sex charges, including Megan's Law and all the other collateral consequences of a serious sex crime conviction. We know the strengths and weaknesses of our adversaries and their cases. We fight to uphold your rights. To speak with a New Jersey sexual assault lawyer, call 1-877-Helmer1 and schedule your consultation. 

 

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