New Jersey has adopted its own version of the Lunsford Act. This law creates mandatory guidelines for plea bargaining and sentencing where the victim of sexual assault is under the age of thirteen (13). Prosecutors and judges are bound by these guidelines and are strictly prohibited from allowing child molestation charges to resolve in any other manner where the victim is under 13. It is exceptionally important to hire the best New Jersey sex crimes attorney you can identify if you are facing a charge for aggravated sexual assault involving a child who was under 13 years of age. The attorneys at our firm, the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, possess the attributes you need with over 200 years combined experience, countless sex case trials to verdict and numerous former county prosecutors on staff, as well as certified criminal trial attorneys. You can contact us for a free consultation anytime 24/7 at 877-450-8301.
Requirements Under the Lunsford Act
There are three (3) key components to the Lunsford Act in New Jersey and they are:
- Limitation On Plea Bargaining. The prosecutor in a child sexual assault case is prohibited from offering anything better than fifteen (15) years in prison to resolve a case pre-indictment involving a victim who was under 13.
- Escalation of Plea Upon Expiration or Indictment. The prosecutor is required to set a date upon which the pre-indictment plea shall expire. The prosecutor is barred from offering a plea of 15 years once this date has passed. Please note that expiration is automatic once the accused is indicted. The prosecutor can only offer a plea that includes at least an additional 3 years of parole ineligibility once the pre-indictment offer of 15 years has expired.
- Special Sentence Upon Conviction. An individual is to be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of no less than twenty-five (25) years without the possibility of parole or life in prison. A life sentence is a sentence is one that spans 75 years. An individual who is convicted at trial for aggravated sexual assault of a child under 13 must be sentenced to at least 25 years and as much as 75 years in prison.
New Jersey Sex Criminal Defense Attorneys for Lunsford Act Charges
The severity of a sexual assault charge clearly escalates sharply when the victim is under 13 years old. The stakes become just about as serious as they can get with the possibility of a life sentence actually coming into play. Failure to successfully an aggravated sexual assault falling under the Lunsford Act can result in your being incarcerated for as much as 75 years. It is therefore crucially important to you retain an attorney who is highly skilled in the defense of sex crimes involving children. The lawyers at our firm have this expertise and are available around the clock to discuss your case. Call us at 877-450-8301 for immediate assistance.