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

In New Jersey, the crime commonly known as “rape” is referred to as “sexual assault.” While rape offenses are broadly characterized as either sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault, all sexual offenses carry steep penalties in New Jersey, and anyone facing any type of sexual assault charge should promptly seek experienced legal representation. At Helmer, Conley and Kasselman, our criminal defense attorneys bring decades of combined experience to representing individuals charged with rape offenses throughout the State. When you hire us to represent you, we will work quickly and aggressively to help you present the strongest possible defense.

Aggravated Sexual Assault: A First-Degree Criminal Offense

Under Section 2C:14-2 of the New Jersey Statutes, aggravated sexual assault is defined as, “an act of sexual penetration with another person,” involving any one of the following circumstances:

  • A victim under the age of 13;
  • A victim between the ages of 13 and 16, if the assailant is related to the victim or has another close non-familial relationship with the victim;
  • The sexual assault is committed in connection with a completed or attempted robbery, kidnapping, homicide, aggravated assault, burglary, arson or criminal escape;
  • The assailant was armed or appeared to be armed and threatened to harm the victim;
  • The assailant was aided or abetted by another person and used physical force or coercion;
  • The assailant caused severe personal injury through the use of physical force or coercion; or,
  • The assailant knew (or reasonably should have known) that the victim was physically helpless or incapacitated, or that the victim suffered from a mental disease or defect that rendered him or her incapable of providing consent.

As a first-degree offense, the criminal penalties for aggravated sexual assault in New Jersey include 10 to 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $200,000. A person convicted of aggravated sexual assault involving a victim under the age of 13 can face imprisonment of 25 years to life.

Sexual Assault: A Second-Degree Criminal Offense

Similar to aggravated sexual assault, the New Jersey Statutes identify a number of different acts that all fall within the definition of sexual assault. A person can be convicted of sexual assault in New Jersey if he or she, “commits an act of sexual penetration with another person,” and:

  • The assailant uses physical force or coercion but does not cause severe personal injury;
  • The victim is between the ages of 13 and 16 and the assailant is at least four years older than the victim (commonly referred to as “statutory rape”);
  • The victim is between the ages of 16 and 18 and the assailant is related to the victim or has another close non-familial relationship with the victim; or,
  • The victim is detained, on probation or on parole and the assailant has supervisory or disciplinary power over the victim.

Sexual assault is a second-degree offense in New Jersey, carrying potential penalties of five to 10 years’ imprisonment and up to a $150,000 fine. These penalties are in addition to the other legal and practical consequences of a sex crime conviction in New Jersey.

Speak with a Criminal Defense Attorney at Helmer, Conley and Kasselman

If you have been arrested and charged with first or second-degree sexual assault in New Jersey, we urge you to contact us as soon as possible. To speak with one of our experienced criminal defense lawyers in confidence, call 1-877-435-6371 or get in touch online now.

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