What Is “Sexual Penetration” Under New Jersey Law

What Is “Sexual Penetration” Under New Jersey Law

A question that frequently arises in consultations with our New Jersey sex crimes lawyers is what constitutes sexual penetration when someone is charged with aggravated sexual assault or sexual assault in New Jersey. This term is addressed in N.J.S.A. 2C:14-1, the statute that defines key terms that arise in the context of NJ sex offenses. Paragraph c reads:

“Sexual penetration” means vaginal intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio or anal intercourse between persons or insertion of the hand, finger or object into the anus or vagina either by the actor or upon the actor’s instruction. The depth of insertion shall not be relevant as to the question of commission of the crime

The act of sexual penetration is a fundamental element of aggravated sexual assault and is also required under several categories of sexual assault.  When sexual penetration is based on oral sex (i.e. cunnilingus), licking of the labia suffices under State v. Fraction, 206 N.J.Super. 532, 535-536 (App.Div.1985)(inserting the tongue into the vagina is not required as long as there is licking of the outer labia). Conversely, contact of the mouth on the penis is all that is required to constitute fellatio under the definition of sexual penetration. When penetration is performed with the penis, it occurs once the outer area of the vaginal opening has been reached. State in Interest of S.M., 284 N.J. Super. 611, 617 (App. Div. 1995). Penetration anally requires more than passing or touching the buttocks – there must be insertion into the anus under State v. Gallagher, 286 N.J. Super. 1, 13 (App. Div. 1995).

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An arrest for aggravated sexual assault or sexual assault is an extremely serious matter. A conviction carries severe penalties that include many years in prison, a potential fine that can exceed $150,000, registration as a sex offender and community/parole supervision for life. Hiring the right attorney to defend charges as life altering as these is absolutely necessary and the team at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall is ready to discuss how we can help you in this capacity. Contact us anytime of day or night for a free consultation. Attorneys at the firm defend sex cases throughout the state and specifically:

A lawyer is available immediately to discuss whatever offense you may be facing. Call 877-450-8301 now for the sound legal guidance you are seeking.