Criminal Sexual Contact Defense Lawyer in Ocean County, NJ
Point Pleasant Sex Crime Attorneys for those Accused of Criminal Sexual Contact
The crime of criminal sexual contact in New Jersey is a serious sex offense. Accordingly, the penalties and ancillary consequences are far-reaching and are often difficult to fully understand upon first glance. For our clients, pending charges for criminal sexual contact can feel overwhelming and seemingly take over their lives. Our attorneys recognize that each case is unique and requires a careful and detailed review of the charges, the facts, and the evidence presented by the state. We understand your predicament when accused of this serious sex crime in Ocean County NJ, including in Brick, Toms River, Point Pleasant, Seaside Heights, Jackson, and Manchester. If you seek our help, our lawyers will lessen the burden placed on you by explaining the case, handling court procedures, and vigorously defending your rights for you. Whether you or a loved one has been charged with criminal sexual contact or aggravated sexual contact, contact our local office in Point Pleasant at (848)-238-2100 to speak with an Ocean County sex crimes lawyer free of charge. You can also contact us online for a free confidential consultation.
What is Considered Criminal Sexual Contact in New Jersey?
Criminal sexual contact is set forth in N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3 of the New Jersey Criminal Statutes. This law encompasses both criminal sexual contact under section (b) and aggravated criminal sexual contact under section (a). Specifically under section (b), criminal sexual contact occurs when a person has sexual contact with another person in the following situations, as outlined in N.J.S.A 2C:14-2c:
(1) Coercion or physical force is used by the actor but the victim is not severely injured;
(2) The person committing the assault has disciplinary or supervisory power over the alleged victim through employment and he or she is detained in a hospital, held in prison, or is on parole or probation;
(3) The person with whom the defendant had sexual contact is the age of 16 but less than 18, and the victim is related to a certain degree or, the defendant has any disciplinary or supervisory capacity over the alleged victim or, the defendant has a parental role in relation to the victim; or
(4) The person with whom the person charged had sexual contact is 13 at minimum but is less than 16, and the actor is at least 4 years older.
Of note, many different acts can qualify as “sexual contact” under New Jersey law. According to section 2C:14-1(d), sexual contact encompasses direct or through clothing purposeful touching of the intimate areas of the victim or the actor, as a means by which to humiliate or degrade the victim, sexually arouse the actor, or gratify the actor sexually. For the purposes of the statute, intimate parts are not limited to sexual organs. In fact, a victim’s intimate areas include their genitals, anus, buttocks, breasts, inner thighs, and surrounding area.
What Makes it Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact under N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3?
There is a difference between sexual contact and aggravated sexual contact. Aggravated criminal sexual contact is a more severe charge. Clearly, the word “aggravated” is intended to display the serious nature of the crime. The following is an explanation of the distinction between the two crimes and what specific acts constitute aggravated sexual contact. In New Jersey, aggravated criminal sexual contact encompasses certain acts defined under N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2a (2-7) including:
(2) The person with whom you have had sexual contact is 13 or less than the age of 16 and: the person is related to some degree, or someone you have “supervisory or disciplinary” power over, or for whom you are a guardian or stand in place of the parent.
(3) You had sexual contact with the person during an attempt to commit, or commission of the crimes of robbery, kidnapping, homicide, aggravated assault, burglary, arson or criminal escape; or
(4) You had a weapon during the sexual contact or had an object “fashioned” to give the appearance of a weapon so that the alleged victim would believe it was a weapon.
(5) You had the assistance of another person and used coercion or force to make contact;
(6) You used coercion or force and caused severe personal injury to the other person;
(7) You knew or had reason to know that the person with whom you had sexual contact was helpless, incapacitated (intellectually or physically), or had a “mental disease or defect” that made the victim unable to understand what was happening or unable to provide consent.
The difference between the two offenses is essentially the standing of the victim, the harm caused, and the acts committed against the person. For instance, if you are 18 and your girlfriend is 13, you can be charged with criminal sexual contact, simply because of her age, the contact, and your age (at least 4 years older). In dating relationships, there is usually some form of consent, but in cases in which someone cannot consent or is in a powerless position, the crime charged is more serious. For example, if you are a prison guard or nurse and you have sexual contact with someone who is under your authority, he or she cannot consent and you will therefore be charged with a harsher crime. People who are under the authority of another person lack the ability to consent because they are in a subservient position. The law seeks to protect these individuals by making such sexual contact a felony.
Punishments for Criminal Sexual Contact & Aggravated Sexual Contact in NJ
Criminal Sexual Contact is a fourth degree indictable crime (felony), unless you are charged with aggravated sexual contact, in which case the charge is a third degree crime. Remember, for a third degree crime, the alleged conduct giving rise to such a charge is more egregious. For fourth degree crimes, the court has the authority to send you to prison up to 18 months. You may also be placed on probation or sentenced to time in the county jail for 364 days. The court may also choose to add to your misery by fining you as much as $10,000. Moreover, you can be ordered to undergo psychological treatment or to take part in some type of rehabilitative program. For third degree crimes, the potential prison time increases to 3-5 years and the fines increase to $15,000. Similarly, you can be placed on probation and ordered to undergo treatment if convicted.
Charged with Criminal Sexual Contact? Call Skilled Lawyers for Your Defense in Toms River NJ
Fortunately, there are alternative sentencing options and programs that may be available, as well defenses that can be used to combat criminal sexual contact charges. If you are the one arrested for this or another sex crime such as aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, lewdness, or luring in Ocean County, New Jersey, contact our lawyers today. We can explore your options and answer your questions in a free consultation. To learn more, call (848)-238-2100.
Our phones are answered 24 hours a day. We are available weekdays during business hours. We also meet with clients on evenings and weekends by request. All major credit cards are accepted.