Your life can be dramatically altered by a charge of committing a sex crime, even if you are not convicted. An accusation can harm your reputation and job prospects. If you are convicted, you may face particularly harsh penalties. Once you realize that you are being investigated for a sex crime, such as sexual assault or endangering a child’s welfare, you should take the investigation and charges seriously. You should immediately retain an experienced New Jersey sex crime lawyer who understands what is at stake and knows how to develop a strong, strategic defense. The Grimes Law Firm may be able to help you.
There are many different sex crimes for which you may face criminal charges in New Jersey. These include sexual assault, aggravated sexual contact, child molestation, sex abuse, lewdness, Internet sex crimes, prostitution, solicitation, sexting, criminal restraint, false imprisonment, human trafficking, and failure to register as a sex offender. What prosecutors must prove for each sex crime varies. The elements of each specific sex crime must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.Sexual Assault and Aggravated Sexual Assault
Sexual assault is the legal term for rape. Under N.J. Rev. Stat. § 2C:14-2, sexual assault is a crime of the second degree. A conviction can result in imprisonment for up to 10 years. The statute also describes certain situations in which you can be charged with aggravated sexual assault, which is a crime of the first degree that can result in a longer prison sentence. However, a sex crime attorney in New Jersey may be able to devise a strategy to get the charges dropped or reduced. Strategies may include attacking the credibility of prosecution witnesses or establishing an alibi, among others.
A prosecutor must prove an act of sexual penetration to establish sexual assault. For aggravated sexual assault, the prosecutor needs to show that the victim was under age 13, the victim was 13-16 years old and the perpetrator had a certain type of relationship to the victim, the perpetrator had a weapon, the assault was perpetrated in connection with the perpetration of certain crimes, physical force or coercion was used and the victim suffered severe injuries, the perpetrator was helped by someone else in the assault, or the victim was somebody whom the perpetrator knew or should have known was incapacitated, physically helpless, or unable to provide meaningful consent. If you are convicted of sexual assault of a victim under age 13, you can face a sentence of between 25 years and life imprisonment, and generally you will need to serve at least 25 years in prison before becoming eligible for parole. A New Jersey sex crime attorney at the Grimes Law Firm can help you strive to avoid these harsh penalties.Registering as a Sex Offender
If you are convicted of certain sex crimes, you will need to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law. You also will need to register if you have been adjudicated delinquent or found not guilty by reason of insanity. Sex crime convictions that mandate registration include sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, criminal sexual contact if the victim is a minor, aggravated sexual contact, endangering the welfare of a child through child pornography or sexual conduct, luring or enticing, promoting prostitution, kidnapping, false imprisonment, and criminal restraint. When you register, you will need to give certain identifying information and information about the nature of the crime for which you were convicted to the police. Generally, sex offenders need to stay on a Megan’s Law registry for a minimum of 15 years. However, certain sex offenders are required to register for the rest of their lives.
Under New Jersey law, the Division of State Police is entitled to make information about certain sex offenders who are required to register publicly available. N.J. Rev. Stat. § 2C:7-12 governs the sex offender central registry on the Internet.Consult a Knowledgeable Sex Crime Lawyer in New Jersey
If you have been charged with a sex crime, you should hire a seasoned criminal defense attorney who can carefully investigate your case and explore all your options. At the Grimes Law Firm, we defend the accused in the areas around Somerville and Neshanic Station, as well as elsewhere in Somerset County and throughout New Jersey and the tri-state area. Call us at (908) 371-1066 or contact us via our online form.