Statutory Rape in New Jersey
New Brunswick Statutory Rape Defense Attorneys
Strictly speaking, New Jersey does not have a statutory rape charge. Instead, under N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2, you can be charged with aggravated sexual assault if you have sex with someone under the age of 16. Here, however, there are certain qualifications that must be kept in mind. First, the age of legal consent in New Jersey is 16. If you are an adult and you have sex with someone under the age of 16, you can be charged with statutory rape (aggravated sexual assault) if you are more than four years older than the victim. This means that if you are 20 years or older and have sex with someone 15 years old, you will be charged with a felony and, under Megan’s Law, required to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life. You will also be under parole supervision for the rest of your life. In many cases, however, adults don’t understand how the statutory law in New Jersey works.
If your child has been accused of a crime it is important that neither you or your children answer questions, make statements or consent to searches by law enforcement.
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If you’ve been charged with statutory rape due to a pregnancy, e-mails discovered by parents or information given to the authorities by teachers or counselors, contact New Brunswick sex crimes defense attorneys at Jack Venturi Law today.
Strict Liability and Statutory Rape in New Jersey
Statutory rape in New Jersey involves the doctrine of strict liability. In essence, the doctrine of strict liability means that, regardless of any extenuating circumstances that might be involved, if you have sex with a minor, you will be held criminally liable. This means if the victim has a fake ID, a fake birth certificate or reassures you that he or she is at least 16 years old, you can still be charged with statutory rape once it’s determined that the victim is in fact a minor.
This is particularly important in cases involving pregnancy — for instance, if you’re 21 and have been dating someone you think is at least 18 years old based on her driver’s license only to find out that she’s really 15 after her parents discover she’s pregnant. The police and prosecutor may be aware of her fake ID and double life; even so, you’re still strictly liable under New Jersey’s aggravated sexual assault statute.
This is especially important to remember since police investigating charges of statutory rape will often ask the boyfriend or acquaintance to come in for “an interview.” Investigators won’t tell you you’re under suspicion for statutory rape. Instead, they’ll ask you if you had sex with the underage teen in question. Thinking she is of legal age, you might admit you did, claiming it was consensual. However, under the law, even if the sex was consensual, if she is under 16 years of age and you are more than four years older than her, you can be charged with statutory rape.
Fighting a Charge of Statutory Rape in New Jersey
Since school counselors are required by law to report cases involving statutory rape, it’s not as uncommon for young men in college or in their early 20s to suddenly find themselves facing a serious sex crimes charge. Depending on the case, however, it may be possible to leverage certain extenuating circumstances in your favor to have the charges or sentence against you reduced. This is especially important since a reduction in charges may mean that you don’t have to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law. It may also mean the difference between probation and prison time.
Contact New Brunswick Statutory Rape Defense Attorneys
A charge of statutory rape is a serious matter. If you’ve been charged with or are under investigation for statutory rape, call 732-247-3340 or email sex crimes defense attorneys at Jack Venturi Law today to schedule a confidential consultation protected by the attorney-client privilege to discuss your case.