Sexual assault, while not as serious as aggravated sexual assault, is still one of the most heavily punished crimes that a person can commit in the state of New Jersey. If you or someone you love has been charged with this crime in Morris County, you cannot afford to face it alone. As you will see below, sexual assault is a second degree felony in New Jersey. Furthermore, certain subsections of sexual assault fall under what is known as the No Early Release Act (NERA). NERA requires a defendant to serve at least 85% of their sentence before they can become eligible for parole in New Jersey. If you or a loved one has been charged with sexual assault, criminal sexual contact, lewdness, aggravated sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child, possession of child pornography or aggravated assault, the Law Office of Jonathan F. Marshall can help. Our team of Morris County sexual assault defense lawyers have been representing clients charged with various sex crimes in towns like Morristown, Parsippany, Rockaway, Dover, Denville, Florham Park, Harding, Mendham and Montville for over a decade. If you would like to set up a free initial consultation with any one of the eight Morris County criminal defense lawyers on staff, please contact our Morristown office at 973-309-7050. We offer free initial consultations and our attorney are available 24/7 to help assist in anyway possible. Now here is some vital information on the offense of sexual assault.
N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2: Boonton NJ Sexual Assault Lawyers
A sexual assault as defined in the New Jersey Criminal code under N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2 can occur in one of five circumstances outlined in paragraphs (b) and (c) of that statute.
The first of these circumstances is that a person will be guilty of a sexual assault where they engage in sexual contact with a victim who is at least 13 years of age and the actor is at least four years older than the victim. Sexual contact as defined by statute means “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. Thus, sexual contact requires that one of those specific purposes be present before a conviction can occur.
In addition, a person commits a sexual assault where they commit an act of sexual penetration with another person under one of the following four circumstances:
- The actor uses physical force of coercion to commit the act of penetration, but the victim does not sustain severe personal injury
- 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
- 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
- The actor has supervisory or disciplinary power of any nature or in any capacity over the victim
- The actor is a resource family parent, a guardian, or stands in loco parentis within the household
- The victim is at least 13 but less than 16 and the actor is at least 4 years older.
An act of sexual penetration for the purposes of these four violations of the statute is defined as vaginal intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio or anal intercourse between persons or insertion of the hand, finger or object into the anus or vagina either by the actor or upon the actor’s instruction. It is of note that the depth of insertion is irrelevant to the crime, all that matters is that there was something inserted.
What are the penalties for Sexual Assault in New Jersey?
All five of these circumstances are charged as second degree crimes. A second degree crime can lead to a period of incarceration between 5 and 10 years. Significant fines may also be imposed upon conviction. Additionally, a person convicted of this crime will also be subject to Megan’s Law and possibly the No Early Release Act. As stated above, in the simplest terms, a defendant sentenced under the No Early Release Act, will be ineligible for parole until they serve at least 85% of their sentence. Furthermore, if they are required to register under Megan’s Law, once they are released they will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of their lives wherever they live.
Morris County NJ Sexual Assault Attorney
Needless to say, given the significance of these penalties, lengthy incarceration, fines, and the lifetime stigma of being labelled a sex offender, you need the best representation that you can afford. Here at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, we have a team of 8 attorneys with over 100 years collective experience defending against sex crimes in Morris County that stand ready to help you in your time of need. Our team even consists of former prosecutors who will know not only how the state will try to prove their case against you, but also how best to defend against those allegations. So please, if you or a loved one has been charged with sexual assault in Morris County, in towns like Hanover, Chester, Mount Olive, Washington, Kinnelon or Butler do not hesitate to contact one of our offices today for a free consultation with an experienced attorney about the particulars of your case.