Sex crimes are among the most heavily prosecuted and stigmatizing categories of criminal offenses that a person can face in New Jersey. Morris County police, prosecutors, judges and juries have little sympathy for sex offenders. New Jersey law imposes harsh penalties for those convicted of almost any form of sex offense, including rape, sexual assault, prostitution, indecent exposure and lewdness. Your name may be listed on a sex offender registry. Anyone facing this type of serious charge should seek the help of an experienced sexual assault defense lawyer and mount their best defense.
If you have been arrested or indicted on any sex offense charge in Morris County, an experienced sex crime defense attorney is available to discuss your legal options. The Law Offices of Jonathan Marshall has one of New Jersey’s most seasoned criminal defense teams with more than 100 years of combined legal experience. Our defense attorneys are former public defenders and prosecutors who know the criminal code related to sex offenses. We will review the charges against you and talk straight about the best possible defense strategy for you. Our criminal defense team has represented individuals charged with sex crimes in Roxbury, Denville, Morristown, Parsippany and Boonton.
The first step is to seek legal counsel and understand your legal options. Explore all your legal options by talking to an experienced Morris County sex crime defense lawyer. Please contact our Morristown Office at 973-309-7050.
Sex Crime Charges in Morris County, N.J.
Sex crimes include a broad range of criminal offenses. Almost all of the charges involve felony offenses of the first, second, third or fourth degree. The most serious sex crime is aggravated sexual assault, which is the legal term for rape. A conviction of a first-degree felony of aggravated sexual assault carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. Even the charges at the other end of the spectrum such as public lewdness and promoting prostitution have the potential to have devastating consequences as they will show up on a criminal background check after a conviction.
- Aggravated Sexual Assault, First Degree—Aggravated sexual assault is the most serious sexual charge that an individual can face in New Jersey. A conviction of aggravated sexual assault involving penetration typically carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. In situations where the victim is under age 13, the sentence may be enhanced to 25 years to life in prison. If you have been charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault, which is the legal term for rape, you need to hire a Morris County sexual assault defense lawyer as soon as possible.
- Sexual Assault, Second Degree—Sexual assault as defined in the New Jersey Criminal Code under N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2 is a second-degree felony in New Jersey. Certain subsections of sexual assault are covered by the law requiring a defendant to serve at least 85 percent of the prison sentence before being eligible for parole. The law outlines five circumstances in which sexual assault may be charged. A person may be charged with sexual assault if he or she engages in sexual contact with a victim who is at least 13 years old and the defendant is at least four years older than the victim. Sexual contact, as defined by the law, includes intentional touching of intimate parts, either directly or through clothing for the purpose of sexual gratification or humiliation of the victim. In addition, a person may be charged with sexual assault if he or she commits an act of sexual penetration under any of the following circumstances:
—An individual uses physical force or coercion to commit an act of sexual penetration, even if the victim is not physically injured.
—The victim is a jail inmate, prisoner, parolee or hospital patient and the perpetrator has supervisory of disciplinary power over the victim.
—The victim is between 16 and 18 years old, and the perpetrator is related to the victim, has supervisory power of any nature over the victim or serves as a guardian or in the place of a parent in the household.
A conviction of a second-degree felony can lead to a prison sentence of between 5 years and 10 years and result in the stigma of being labeled a sex offender. If you or your loved one has been charged with sexual assault or any related sex crime, you need the representation of a Morris County sexual assault defense attorney to stand up for your rights.
- Criminal Sexual Contact—The circumstances outlined in the New Jersey Criminal Code that would lead to a charge of sexual assault also apply to criminal sexual contact. The difference is that criminal sexual contact does not involve an act of penetration. It is a fourth-degree felony punishable upon conviction by up to 18 months in prison and a lifetime listing as a sex offender.
- Luring—Luring is generally defined by New Jersey Criminal Code, N.J.S.A. 2C:13-6 as an attempt to entice a child into a place with the intent to commit a criminal offense. Luring is a second-degree felony in New Jersey. A conviction carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $150,000 and sex offender registration for life.
- Endangering the Welfare of a Child—A person who has responsibility for the care for a child and who engages in conduct that would impair the morals of the child or causes harm to the child may be charged with the offense of endangering the welfare of a child. This offense is listed under N.J.S.A. 2C:24(a) of the N.J. Criminal Code. The charges may range from a first-degree to a third-degree felony, depending on the circumstances. A conviction of a first-degree felony carries the potential for a 20-year prison sentence.
- Lewdness—As defined by N.J.S.A. 2C:14-4, a lewd act involves the exposing of genitals for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification. A lewd act may be charged as a disorderly person offense (misdemeanor) or a fourth-degree felony depending on the circumstances. If the lewd act occurs in the presence of a child who is less than 13 years old or a mentally handicapped person who is unable to understand the nature of the conduct, the offense may be charged as a fourth-degree felony punishable by a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Possession of Child Pornography—Possession of or viewing of images depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of a child is a third-degree felony in New Jersey. If convicted of possession of child porn, a person may face three to five years in prison, a fine of up to $15,000 and be required to perform community service.
- Distribution of Child Pornography—The distribution of child pornography is a serious charge and is listed under the section of N.J. law pertaining to endangering the welfare of a child. A person who distributes photographs, films, images or computer files depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of a child may be charged with a second-degree felony under N.J. law. If convicted of distribution of child pornography, an individual may face a sentence of five to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $150,000 and mandatory sex offender registration and parole supervision for life.
- Prostitution—The offer of sexual services in exchange for money or something of value may lead to charges of prostitution. Engaging in or promoting prostitution may be charged as a second-, third- or fourth-degree felony in New Jersey, carrying a prison sentence and fines if convicted. Soliciting prostitution is a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey. An individual found guilty of soliciting prostitution may be sentenced to six months in Morris County jail and required to pay a $1,000 fine and perform community service.
Experienced Sex Offense Lawyers to Avoid Megan’s Law
Anyone convicted of a sex crime must live with both the public stigma and of being a sex offender and face some of the harshest penalties provided by N.J. law. In most cases, a conviction of a sex crime will result in mandatory registration under Megan’s Law. This is what is commonly referred to as being a registered sex offender.
When someone falls under this law, he or she is subject to the possibility of a state prison sentence and required to register as a sex offender for a minimum of 15 years. This requires reporting your residency and whereabouts to police and may require notification of neighbors, schools and placement on an internet registry that is open to the public. This is all the more reason to retain the best Morris County defense attorney you can afford.
Contact Our Morristown N.J. Sex Crimes Defense Attorneys
The repercussions of a sex crime conviction may affect an individual for decades. This should underscore the importance of obtaining the best legal representation that you can get to defend your rights. At the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our attorneys have more than 200 years of collective experience defending clients against criminal charges including sex crimes of all kinds. Our Morristown sex crimes defense attorneys can address your questions and concerns about the particulars of your or your loved one’s case.
If you or your loved one has been charged with one of these serious offenses in Morris County, do not hesitate to contact our Morristown Office today for a free consultation with an experienced attorney.