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

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.

Sexual Assault Attorneys in New Jersey

Helmer, Conley and Kasselman 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

Facing allegations of sexual assault on campus is an extremely serious matter. We represent students, faculty members and other personnel accused of campus sex crimes including rape, statutory rape, indecent exposure, sexting and Internet-related offenses. With multiple office locations throughout New Jersey, we handle cases at colleges and universities statewide.

Child Molestation

In New Jersey, child molestation is prosecuted as a form of sexual assault. Child molestation can be charged as a first-degree or second-degree indictable offense, with a maximum prison sentence of 25 years to life in cases involving children under the age of 13.

Child Pornography

Possessing, distributing and producing child pornography are serious offenses that carry penalties starting at three to five years in prison and a $15,000 fine. The law applies to sexually-explicit images of minors as well as imagines that simulate the depiction of minors, and it covers all forms of physical and digital media.

Endangering the Welfare of a Child

New Jersey’s child endangerment statute outlines six primary types of crimes that range from third-degree to first-degree indictable offenses. Along with possessing, distributing and producing child pornography, other crimes that constitute endangering the welfare of a child include sexual conduct, abuse and neglect.

Indecent Exposure

Indecent exposure is a fourth-degree indictable offense in New Jersey carrying the potential for up to 18 months of imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. The law applies in cases where a person exposes himself or herself to a child under the age of 13 or to a person with a mental disability.

Lewd Conduct

Along with indecent exposure, lewd conduct also includes, “any flagrantly lewd and offensive act which [the actor] knows or reasonably expects is likely to be observed by other nonconsenting persons who would be affronted or alarmed.” Flagrantly lewd and offensive acts that do not qualify as indecent exposure are prosecuted as disorderly persons offenses under New Jersey law.

Computer and Internet Crimes

Using a computer or the Internet to perpetrate a sexual offense can lead to additional charges and additional penalties under New Jersey law. We represent clients in computer and Internet crime cases involving online solicitation, online transactions, and possession and distribution of child pornography.

Rape

In New Jersey, the crime commonly known as “rape” is referred to as “sexual assault.” New Jersey’s sexual assault statute covers all forms of rape, including date rape and statutory rape, and it imposes penalties up to and including life behind bars. The most-serious cases are prosecuted as “aggravated sexual assault,” including sexual assault of minors and the use of force, the threat of force, or coercion.

Sexting

Sexting is prosecuted as a form of child pornography in New Jersey. Sending sexually-explicit images to a minor is an extremely serious offense, and can be charged as a third-degree, second-degree or even first-degree crime.

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 the experienced sexual assault attorneys 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 400 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. 

Call Us - Problem Solved

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Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A.

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