Sexual assault is a serious crime that can have devastating consequences for those accused of it. If you are facing sexual assault charges in New Jersey, you need to know your rights and options. You also need to hire an experienced and aggressive legal representation that can help you defend yourself against these allegations.
What is Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault is a broad term that encompasses a range of offenses involving unwanted sexual contact or penetration without consent. According to New Jersey law, sexual assault can include:
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Endangering the welfare of a child
- Child pornography
- Criminal sexual contact
- Indecent exposure
- Statutory rape
There are a number of variables that determine the seriousness of the accusations and the associated penalties:
- The use or threat of force or violence
- The presence or absence of injuries
- The degree of physical or mental impairment of the victim
- The age and relationship of the victim and the accused
What are the Penalties for Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault is a felony offense in New Jersey, which means it can result in imprisonment, fines, probation, and other sanctions. Depending on the type and degree of sexual assault, you could face:
- A conviction for aggravated sexual assault can result in a jail term of up to 20 years (first-degree crime)
- Sentences for sexual assault can go up to ten years in prison (second-degree crime)
- Sentences for criminal sexual contact can go as high as 5 years in prison (fourth-degree crime)
In addition to these penalties, you may also be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law. This means you will have to provide your personal information, such as your name, address, photo, fingerprints, and DNA sample, to law enforcement authorities. You will also have to notify them of any changes in your residence, employment, or education status.
Sex offender registration can have serious implications for your life. You may face:
- Community supervision for life
- Parole supervision for life
- Restrictions on where you can live, work, or travel
- Public stigma and discrimination
How Can You Defend Yourself Against Sexual Assault Charges?
If you are accused of sexual assault in New Jersey, you should not take these charges lightly. You should also not rely on public defenders who may be overworked and under-resourced. You need a dedicated and skilled NJ sex crimes lawyer who can fight for your rights and interests.
A good NJ sex crimes lawyer can help you by:
- Reviewing your case thoroughly and identifying any weaknesses or flaws in the prosecution’s evidence or arguments
- Challenging any illegal or improper actions by law enforcement officers or prosecutors during your arrest or investigation
- Negotiating with prosecutors for reduced charges or plea bargains if appropriate
- Preparing a strong defense strategy based on your specific circumstances and goals
- Representing you effectively at hearings, trials, appeals, or post-conviction proceedings
Some possible criminal defenses that may apply to your case are:
- Consent: You can argue that the sexual activity was consensual between both parties.
- Mistake: You can argue that you made an honest mistake about the age or identity of the victim.
- Alibi: You can provide evidence that you were somewhere else at the time of the alleged offense.
- False accusation: You can show that someone falsely accused you of sexual assault due to ulterior motives such as revenge, jealousy, anger, blackmail, etc.
How to Choose the Best Lawyer
Choosing the right lawyer for your case can make a big difference in the outcome and your satisfaction. You want a lawyer who has the right experience, professionalism, communication skills, and approach for your situation. Here are some tips on how to choose the best lawyer for your needs:
1. Identify your legal problem and use a specialist.
Different lawyers have different areas of expertise and experience. You want a lawyer who specializes in sex crimes and knows how to handle these cases effectively.
2. Get referrals from trusted sources.
You can ask your friends, family, colleagues, or other professionals for recommendations of lawyers they have used or know of. You can also check online reviews or ratings of lawyers on websites or directories.
3. Interview potential lawyers and ask questions.
You should contact several lawyers and schedule consultations with them. During these meetings, you should ask them about their qualifications, fees, availability, strategy, and references.
4. Compare your options and make a decision.
After interviewing several lawyers, you should compare their strengths and weaknesses, costs and benefits, and compatibility with your goals and expectations. You should choose a lawyer who meets your criteria and makes you feel comfortable and confident.