Sex Crimes Attorney in New Jersey
Any accusation of a sex crime in New Jersey is a very serious matter. If you are convicted, you could be sentenced to substantial jail time, ordered to pay fines, and quite possibly lose your job.
Also, under Megan’s Law, you will likely need to register as a sex offender, which will make you unwelcome just about anywhere you want to live in the state. Even worse, sex crime sentences may require parole supervision for life, which is stricter than ordinary parole.
If you have been charged with a sex crime in New Jersey, professional legal counsel from an experienced sex crimes defense lawyer is vital to maintaining and protecting your reputation, freedom, and livelihood.
Contact Clark, Clark & Noonan, LLC today to find out how our criminal defense lawyers can help you.
Types of Sex Crimes
There are many different types of sex crimes under New Jersey law, including for example:
- Invasion of privacy
- Prostitution and solicitation
- Sexual harassment
- Sexual contact
- Sexual assault
*“Aggravated” means that the alleged sexual acts are more severe. For example, one difference between aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault is the age of the victim.
Sexual Assault (Rape)
In New Jersey, rape is the legal term for sexual assault. There are provisions in the state’s sexual assault laws ranging from first to fourth-degree charges (or felonies). Regardless of the degree, any sexual assault must include an act of penetration as defined by state law.
Other specific provisions of New Jersey sexual assault law include:
- The victim’s age and mental or physical disabilities, if any
- The offender’s age and relationship to the victim
- Whether physical force or coercion was used by one or more persons and resulted in severe personal injury to the victim
- Whether the victim was threatened with words or gestures by a weapon or an object the victim believed was being used as a weapon
- Whether other criminal acts were in process, such as “robbery, kidnapping, homicide, aggravated assault on another, burglary, arson, or criminal escape”
New Jersey sex crime charges for sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault are complex and life-damaging, even if you are found not guilty. You need the guidance of the sex crimes attorneys at Clark, Clark & Noonan, LLP.
Our Monmouth County sex crimes defense lawyers have the skills and experience to examine the details of your case and advise you on how best to move forward. If you’ve been charged with one or more felony sex crimes, contact us right away.
Except for rape, actions such as touching, groping, or feeling can be considered sexual contact. The main difference between sexual contact and sexual assault is that New Jersey does not consider sexual contact as severe as rape because penetration is not involved.
However, any sexual contact – intentional touching – with someone, short of penetration, without their consent, is still a crime. You can read more information here.
Invasion of Privacy
Under New Jersey law, invasion of privacy means observing, photographing, filming, videotaping, recording or otherwise reproducing or disclosing in any manner, the images of another person whose intimate parts are exposed or who is engaged in the act of sexual penetration or sexual contact, without that person’s consent.
Fines of up to $30,000 may be imposed if an offender is convicted of invasion of privacy.
New Jersey law defines lewd acts to mean “exposing of the genitals for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of the actor or any other person.”
Lewdness can be charged as either a disorderly person offense or a fourth-degree crime. Either level means you exposed yourself for sexual gratification for yourself or someone else, and you should have known you were being observed. The difference depends on the persons who saw the exposure.
Lewdness as a Disorderly Person Offense
You could be charged at this level if you exposed your genitals to arouse or gratify a sexual desire for yourself or any other person. Plus, you knew or should reasonably be able to expect that a victim would be affronted or alarmed while observing your action.
If charged with lewdness as a disorderly persons offense, you could face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Lewdness as a Fourth Degree Crime
You could be charged at this level if you exposed your genitals to a child who is less than 13 years of age and you were at least four years older than the child, or you exposed your genitals to someone who, because of mental disease or defect, is unable to understand the sexual nature of what’s going on.
A conviction carries a sentence of up to 18 months in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Read more about lewdness here.
Prostitution and Solicitation
Prostitution and solicitation laws in New Jersey are complicated. Charges and punishments can range from up to six months in county jail and a $1,000 fine to a second-degree felony charge and up to five to 10 years in state prison if a minor is involved.
Read more here.
Sexual harassment is not only considered a sex crime, but it can also be a form of unlawful workplace discrimination. When deemed a sex crime, harassment is regarded as a petty disorderly person’s offense, unless the offender is in prison or on probation from an indictable offense.
To be convicted on a sexual harassment charge, an offender must:
- Communicate anonymously using offensively coarse language, or any other manner likely to cause irritation or alarm, and at extremely inconvenient hours.
- Threaten, hit, kick, shove, touch or contact a victim in using any other offensive form of contact.
- Engage in any alarming conduct or repeatedly commit acts to alarm or seriously annoy a victim purposefully.
There are countless celebrity stalking stories in the news, on social media, and TV. Stalking can happen to ordinary people, not just high-profile individuals. It can be almost anything that makes someone fearful for their safety or the safety of their family members.
Stalking examples include being followed or someone appearing unexpectedly at your home, workplace, gym, school, or other location. Other signs of stalking include receiving repeated threatening or disturbing telephone calls, letters, telephone messages, social media posts, cell phone calls, texts, and unsolicited gifts, or any form of cyberstalking.
You can find more information on stalking, here.
Potential Defenses to Sex Crime Charges
There are various defenses to sex crime charges. One of the most common is that you and your accuser remember the issue of consent differently.
A discussion of potential defenses is best left to private conversations between you and the sex crimes attorneys at Clark, Clark & Noonan, LLC.
We know how severe the penalties associated with a conviction can be. Our goal will be to aggressively fight for alternatives to jail, as we’ve been able to for others accused of similar crimes in the past. We will look to get the charges against you downgraded or dismissed entirely, or will seek probationary terms in lieu of jail time.
What to Expect in a Sex Crime Trial
Criminal defendants are innocent until proven guilty under the U.S. justice system. The state of New Jersey and prosecutors here take sex crime allegations seriously and will aggressively try your case. You will be asked many personal questions, your past will be put on display, and your life could be turned upside down.
That’s why it is crucial to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to defend your rights and your freedom. An attorney will listen to your side of the story, review all of the evidence against you (including witness testimony, physical evidence, and other items the prosecution will use), and will put up a strong, persuasive defense on your behalf.
Remember that in a criminal trial, the burden of proof lies with the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of a crime. If we can introduce doubt in the minds of the jury, we could be successful at diminishing or disproving their case against you.
What Is Megan’s Law?
Megan’s Law in New Jersey is often referred to as sex offender registration. It requires convicted sex offenders to register with law enforcement so that officials can identify and alert the community when necessary for public safety. Read more here to understand what happens if you fail to report under Megan’s Law.
The crimes for which sex offenders have been convicted, or have been convicted of attempting to commit, include:
- Sexual assault
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Aggravated sexual contact
- Criminal restraint
- Criminal sexual contact with a minor
- Endangering the welfare of a child (by engaging in sexual conduct or child pornography)
- False imprisonment (If the victim is a minor, and the offender is not the child’s parent)
- Luring or enticing
- Knowingly promoting prostitution of a child
Sex offender registration under Megan’s Law in N.J. requires the offender to provide:
- Personal information to authorities, including name, age, race, sex, Social Security number, date of birth, height and weight, eye and hair color, legal residence address, temporary residence address, anticipated or current school enrollment, and place of employment
- Crime information, such as date and place of each conviction, or any other court ruling, the indictment number, fingerprint data, and a description of the crime.
- Any additional information that the Attorney General deems necessary to assess the risk of future commission of a crime
- State authorities will also share an offender’s conviction data and fingerprints with the FBI.
If you need more information on Megan’s Law, you can find it here.
Are Sex Crimes a Felony?
Yes, most sex crimes are a felony. Some lesser sex crimes, such as harassment, are not felonies but are still severe and can be financially draining and reputation-damaging.
How Our Sex Crimes Defense Attorneys Can Help
Whether you’ve been accused of, are under investigation for, or have been formally charged with a sex crime, our skilled lawyers will be ready to help.
The sex crime defense lawyers in N.J. at Clark, Clark & Noonan are former prosecutors. We have a thorough understanding of sex crime law and potential penalties. We possess the skills and experience to provide you with the most professional and aggressive defense if you are charged with sex crimes.
Clark, Clark & Noonan LLC’s sex crime attorneys are proud to serve clients from across New Jersey, including Monmouth County, Ocean County, and Middlesex County. Call us any time of the day or night to schedule a free, confidential consultation.