Criminal Defense Crucial in Sexual Assault Cases in New Jersey
Charges of sexual assault and even allegations of sexual assault in are serious. Since the penalties for sexual assault in New Jersey can be harsh and far-reaching, it is crucial to have effective legal representation to ensure police and prosecutors properly follow procedure and applicable law.
Recently, a Cliffside Park man was arrested on a sexual assault charge. The 29-year-old was the subject of an investigation by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and Cliffside Park Police Department in recent months. The investigation began when the alleged victim reported to police that the man sexually assaulted her. According to a news report in the Cliffside Park Citizen, the alleged victim is a female minor who was an acquaintance with the 29-year-old. As a result of the investigation, the man was charged with first degree aggravated sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child in the second degree.
In general, sexual assault includes any unwanted or forced touching of a person’s intimate body parts. Intimate body parts refer to the sexual organs, genital area, anal area, groin, buttock, breast, or inner thigh of a person. Under New Jersey law penetration does not have to be involved for sexual touching to be against the law.
The state of New Jersey defines illegal sexual contact under five different offenses:
- Sexual assault
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Criminal sexual contact
- Aggravated criminal sexual contact
An individual can be charged with sexual assault in New Jersey if he or she commits an act of penetration with another person when the actor uses physical force and the victim sustains severe personal injury; the actor is armed with a weapon; the act is carried out during the commission of another crime; the actor is aided by another person; the actor knows the victim is physically helpless or mentally incapacitated; or when the victim is a minor. The aggravated sexual assault statute includes other circumstances that increase the severity of the offense as well.
In New Jersey there is no time limit on reporting a sexual assault to police, and there is no statute of limitations that would prevent the prosecution of a sexual assault charge in the state after a certain amount of time has passed. Depending on the degree of the crime, those convicted of a sexual offense face jail time, fines and registration on the New Jersey Sex Offender Registry. If you are facing sex offense charges, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to begin your defense.