New Jersey Sex Crimes Cases Key Terms

New Jersey Sex Charge Defense Lawyers

There are certain legal terms that need to be understood when dealing with sex offenses in New Jersey. We have prepared this article to assist individuals and loved ones faced with a criminal charge of this nature. If you would like to speak to an attorney with years of experience defending sex cases, contact our office. One of the lawyers at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall is available at 1-877-534-7338 to assist you 24/7.

Sexual Penetration

A required element of almost any sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault charge is proof of “sexual penetration.”  In other words, in order to be convicted of these offenses the perpetrator must have engaged in “sexual penetration” of some form with the victim. New Jersey law defines sexual penetration as vaginal intercourse, cunnilingus (i.e. oral), fellatio or anal intercourse between persons or the insertion of a hand, finger or object into the anus or vagina either by the actor or at the actor’s instruction. It is important to keep in mind that the depth of the penetration is irrelevant, as long as the outer labia or anus is breached, sexual penetration has occurred.

Sexual Contact

In order to commit either criminal sexual contact or aggravated criminal contact, the state must prove that there was “sexual contact” with the victim by the accused. This term means the intentional touching of intimate parts for the purpose of degrading or humiliating the victim or sexually arousing or gratifying the actor. This contact can be direct or through clothing (e.g. groping an individual’s clothed breast or buttock).

Intimate Parts

The term “intimate parts” means the sexual organs, genital area, anal area, inner thigh, groin, buttocks or breast of a person.

Physically Helpless

An individual can be convicted of sexual assault, commonly referred to as rape, if they have sexual penetration with someone who is “physically helpless.”  A victim suffers from such a condition if they are unconscious or physically unable to flee or communicate unwillingness to act/consent.

Mentally Incapacitated

Another category of sexual assault arises when sexual penetration occurs with a victim who is mentally incapacitated.  An individual suffers from such a condition if they are unable to comprehend the sexual nature of the conduct or to understand or to exercise the right to refuse to engage in such conduct. This condition can result from inherent mental limitations such as from a mental defect or disease, or because they are temporarily incapable of understanding or controlling their conduct because of drugs, alcohol or another substance.


The term “child” means someone under 18 years of age when someone is charged with endangering the welfare of a child, possession of child pornography and distribution of child pornography.

Distribute or Distribution

The term “distribute” or “distribution” in the context of distribution of child pornography means to sell, manufacture, give, provide, trade, deliver, publish, circulate, display, share, offer or make available over the internet or by any other electronic means.

File Sharing Program or Network

“File-sharing program” or “file-sharing network” means a peer to peer computer program, application, software or operating system that allows the user of a computer on which such program, application, software or operating system is installed to designate files as available for searching by and copying to one or more other computers, to transmit such designated files directly to one or more other computers, and to request the transmission of such designated files directly from one or more other computers.

Prohibited Sexual Act

An individual must possess or distribute items depicting a child engaging in “prohibited sexual acts” in order to be convicted of a child pornography offense. “Prohibited sexual act” means intercourse (i.e. vaginal, anal, etc.), masturbation, bestiality, fellatio, cunnilingus, nudity for the purpose of sexual stimulation or gratification of any person who may view such depiction or any act of sexual penetration or sexual contact.

Peer to Peer Network

“Peer-to-peer network” refers to connection of computer systems so that files can be shared between users and systems.

Our NJ Sex Crimes Attorneys Are Available To Discuss Your Charges Now

If you or a loved one has been charged with a sex offense in New Jersey and need representation or would like to discuss your case with a highly knowledgeable lawyer, contact our office. Lawyers on our team can be reached immediately by calling 1-877-534-7338.

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