Union County NJ Criminal Lawyers

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Sexual Assault

Second Degree Rape Defense Lawyers

One of the most serious of sex offenses is sexual assault (a.k.a. rape). As a second degree crime under NJ Law, this charge has the potential to result in as much as ten (10) years in prison. A conviction also results in mandatory registration under Megan’s Law. Sexual assault is clearly a high exposure violation that mandates the involvement of an experienced defense attorney. The lawyers at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have battled rape and related assault indictments and charges for several decades. Attorneys are available for free consultation now at 908-272-1700.

New Jersey Sexual Assault Law

Subsections (b) and (c) of N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2 set forth the offense of sexual assault. There are essentially five (5) categories or ways a sexual assault, also referred to as rape, can arise under this statute. There following is a breakdown of each variety of this violation and the basics of the law surrounding each.

  1. “Sexual Contact” With Victim Under Thirteen & The Actor Is At Least Four Years Older. The term “sexual contact” is defined in more detail under the offense of criminal sexual contact on this website. Its basic meaning is the intentional touching of genitals, anus, breast, groin, buttock or inner thigh. It also applies where the defendant is able to get someone satisfying these age requirements to make sexual contact with the accused, including observing the defendant perform a sexual act (e.g. masturbate). To commit this form of sexual assault, the following must be established beyond reasonable doubt: (i) victim was under 13; (ii) the defendant was at least 4 years older; (iii) there was sexual contact; and (iv) it was the purpose or intent of the accused to either degrade or humiliate the victim or to obtain sexually arousal or gratification.
  2. “Penetration” With A Victim Who Is At Least Thirteen But Under Sixteen and The Accused Is At Least Four Years Older. Whenever penetration is achieved with someone who has not affirmative and freely consented, it is deemed sexual assault under NJ Law. Since a child under the age of sixteen (16) lacks the ability to “consent” by law, any penetration with someone under this age is a sexual assault except where the actor and victim are within 4 years old or one another.
  3. “Penetration” With A Victim Who Is At Least Sixteen But Less Than Eighteen & The Accused Is Related, Loco Parentis, Or Has Disciplinary/Supervisory Authority. Even when the child is of age to consent, 2C:14-2 outlaws penetration by those who bear a special relationship with the child. If there is a relation by blood, the accused is a regular caregiver or guardian for the child, they have disciplinary or supervisory authority over the child, penetration is basically illegal. The thought behind this prohibition is that whenever this type of special relationship exists, it is unreasonable to think that the child fairly consent given the influence an adult in one of these positions possesses.
  4. Actor Uses Force To Obtain Sexual Penetration. To satisfy this sexual assault type, the actor must have used physical force or coercion to accomplish penetration. This would include threatening harm or to negatively effect the victim in just about any way.
  5. “Penetration” With Victim On Probation, Parole or Detained At A Hospital or Institution. This last variety of rape is intend to address situations where corrections officers and others having extreme authority to have sex with those whom they oversee.

Penalties That Apply To Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is a second degree crime as compared to its first degree sibling, aggravated sexual assault. This rape violation carries a state prison term of between five (5) and ten (10) years. In addition, a fine of $150,000 may be imposed. An individual convicted of this offense is also subject both Megan’s Law and the No Early Release Act.

Megan’s Law. Anyone convicted of sexual assault/rape is subject to Megan’s Law. This law imposes stringent registration and notification requirements for those who are convicted sex offenders. The intention of this system is to provide law enforcement, as well as the public, with critical information in hopes of preventing sexual violations. An individual convicted of sexual assault must register with his/her local police department wherever and whenever they establish residence or move. There is also an internet registry that an individual is subject to. Failure to timely register is a third degree crime and failure to report a change of address or annual verification of address is a fourth degree crime.

No Early Release Act. Sexual assault is categorized as a violent crime under NJ Law. As a result, the No Early Release Act (“NERA”) applies at the time of sentencing and requires that the defendant serve at least eighty-five percent (85%) of his/her prison term before they eligible for parole.

Statute of Limitations for Sexual Assault

While there is a time limit for filing most criminal charges in New Jersey, sexual assault is not one of them. As a result, a prosecutor could, in theory, file a criminal complaint for sexual assault at any time.

Sexual Assault Defense Attorney, Elizabeth NJ

All sexual assault charges are heard at the Union County Superior Court in Elizabeth NJ. The reason is because this is the only court in the county with jurisdiction to preside over indictable criminal offenses.  We possess vast experience defending criminal cases in this venue and are ready to fight for you. An attorney is ready to assist you immediately at 908-272-1700.


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(908) 272-1700
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