There are two distinct types of sexual assault crimes in New Jersey and both are serious. A standard sexual assault charge is a second degree indictable offense, which is the second-most serious category of crime in the state. Then, there is an even more serious charge known as aggravated sexual assault. Aggravated sexual assault is a first degree indictable offense, the most serious level of crime in New Jersey. If you or a loved one has been accused of aggravated sexual assault, it is important to understand the specific circumstances that escalate typical sexual assault into aggravated sexual assault charges, and the grave consequences you can face if convicted of a first degree sex crime. These charges are far too egregious for you to go it alone while talking to police or defending your innocence in court. We encourage you to contact the highly skilled sex crimes attorneys at our Union County defense firm if you are in need of assistance with an aggravated sexual assault case. You can reach us anytime, day or night, by calling (908) 838-0150 to discuss your specific situation and find out what options you may have. A member of our team is available to provide you with a free initial consultation.
What is Aggravated Sexual Assault in NJ?
To understand the charge of aggravated sexual assault, you must first understand the related crime of sexual assault. According to NJSA 2c:14-2, a person commits sexual assault if they have sexual contact with a victim who is 12 or younger, provided that that the defendant is at least four years older than the victim. You can also be charged with sexual assault for committing an act of sexual penetration through the use of force (without injury to the victim); in a situation where you have power or authority over the victim (e.g. if you are a hospital attendant who sexually assaults a patient in a medical facility, a parole officer who sexually assaults a parolee, etc.); if the victim is 16 or 17 and you are either in a position of authority over the victim (a teacher sexually assaulting a student, etc.) or if you are related to or a parent or guardian of the victim; and/or if the victim is 13-15 years of age and you are at least four years older than the victim.
Aggravated sexual assault builds on the crime of sexual assault. In specific situations where your conduct is even more severe than standard sex assault, you will be charged with a first degree crime rather than a second degree crime. To be charged with aggravated sexual assault, you must commit an act of sexual penetration with another person under one of seven different aggravated circumstances. These circumstances include a situation where the victim is twelve years of age or younger. They also include situations where the victim is 13-15 years of age and you and the victim are related, you have authority over the victim in a situation where your job gives you control over them, as in the case of a scout leader, doctor, teacher, counselor, church leader, school nurse, dentist, and similar jobs and positions. They also include situations where you are the victim’s parent, guardian, or someone else acting in certain types of parental roles.
Furthermore, you can also be convicted of aggravated sexual assault if you commit an act of penetration with a victim in a situation where you are also committing homicide, arson, aggravated assault, burglary, robbery, kidnapping, or in a situation where you are armed with or threaten to use a weapon. This can include anything from knives, to guns, to brass knuckles, to a club or bat, and more). You can also be convicted of aggravated sexual assault if you commit the penetrative act when the victim is unable to consent to sexual activity due to an intellectual or mental disability or in any other situation where the victim is helpless or incapacitated. Additionally, you can be charged with this first degree crime if you cause severe personal injury to the victim and where you use force and have help from other people.
What are the Penalties for Aggravated Sexual Assault in New Jersey?
The penalties for an aggravated sexual assault charge are among the most serious penalties for any crime in New Jersey. The sentence for this offense includes 10 to 20 years in prison, ineligibility for parole until having served 85% of the prison term imposed, and lifelong parole supervision. Those convicted of first degree aggravated sexual assault also face mandatory sex offender registration under Megan’s Law, which can preclude you from finding housing, employment, and applying for certain government benefits.
Rahway Aggravated Sexual Assault Defense Attorneys
Given the severity of the penalties you may be facing, it can be critical for you to seek out an experienced defense attorney if you are facing an aggravated sexual assault charge or recently found out that you are under investigation. With local offices in Cranford, our distinguished lawyers frequently defend clients facing these and other serious sex crime charges throughout Union County, including in Clark, Springfield, Roselle Park, Rahway, Elizabeth, Hillside, and Linden. Contact us at (908) 838-0150 for a free consultation and get the answers you need now.
Our phones are answered 24 hours a day. We are available weekdays during business hours. We also meet with clients on evenings and weekends by request. We have office locations conveniently located in Jersey City, Edison, Middletown, Cranford, Burlington, and Hamilton. All major credit cards are accepted