Haddonfield Sex Crimes Attorney
Sex crimes are serious offenses of a sexual nature that require experienced legal representation to defend in the courtroom. If you are ultimately convicted of a sex crime in New Jersey, you could face criminal fines, incarceration, and other serious legal and personal consequences. Moreover, you could be forced to register as a sex offender, which could have significant effects on your future.
New Jersey sex crimes defense lawyer Matthew V. Portella can review your version of what happened during the incident and can help prepare your matter for trial. We help clients around the Haddonfield and Pleasantville areas.
Types of Sex Crimes in New Jersey
New Jersey recognizes several different sex crimes, including sexual assault (otherwise known as rape) under N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(b), criminal sexual contact under N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3, endangering the welfare of a child under N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4, lewdness, and failing to register as a sex offender.
Sexual assault is a crime during which the accused sexually penetrates another person. This sexual penetration could occur in a variety of different ways. For example, the accused could use coercion or physical force to accomplish the penetration—even if the alleged victim does not suffer serious injuries. It is also sexual assault when the alleged victim is at least 13 years of age at the time of the offense (but not yet 16 years of age), and the accused is, at a minimum, four years older than the alleged victim. The sexual assault crime may become aggravated sexual assault when certain circumstances exist, such as when the alleged victim is younger than 13 years old. Criminal sexual contact is a lesser included offense within the crime of aggravated sexual assault.
Sexual assault is a second-degree crime in New Jersey. If you are convicted of sexual assault, you could receive between five and ten years in jail, along with a maximum $150,000 fine. Aggravated sexual assault, on the other hand, is a first-degree criminal offense, and a conviction can result in between ten and 20 years of incarceration, along with a maximum monetary fine of $200,000. The accused would also need to register as a sex offender with the state.
New Jersey courts can find people guilty or convict them of lewdness if they commit offensive or “flagrantly lewd” acts that they know:
- Nonconsenting individuals would observe
- Would offend or alarm nonconsenting individuals
For the state prosecutor to obtain a conviction against the accused, he or she must demonstrate, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the accused committed an offensive act (for example, masturbating or exposing a private part), that a non-consenting person witnessed the accused’s act, and that the viewer was offended as a result.
Lewdness may constitute a third or fourth-degree criminal offense. Lewdness is a fourth-degree criminal offense in cases where the individual who is observing the conduct has a mental disability or suffers from a mental disease. Lewdness may constitute a third-degree offense in cases where the individual observing the accused is younger than 13 years old.
If the prosecution charges lewdness as a fourth-degree offense and the accused is convicted of the charge, he or she could spend 18 months in jail. If lewdness is a third-degree offense, then the accused could be sentenced to five years in jail. Finally, if the prosecutor charges lewdness as a disorderly persons charge, then the accused could be sentenced to six months in jail.
Endangering the Welfare of a Child
If an adult person has assumed the responsibility of caring for a child or who has a legal duty to care for a particular child, that person could be charged with endangering child welfare if he or she engages in sexual conduct with the child victim—or if he or she causes the child injury or harm. Endangering the welfare of a child is a second-degree criminal offense in the State of New Jersey. In some instances, a prosecutor could charge the crime as a third-degree offense if the child was under 16 years of age at the time of the alleged incident.
A conviction for a second-degree criminal offense could result in jail time of between five and ten years. A conviction for a third-degree criminal offense might result in between three and five years of incarceration.
Failing to Register as a Sex Offender
When the accused is convicted of certain sex crimes in the State of New Jersey, he or she could be required to register as a sex offender in the state. Qualifying sex offense convictions include sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual contact, aggravated sexual assault, kidnapping, and criminal sexual contact. An attempt to commit any one of these offenses may also qualify.
If the accused fails to register or report on a regular basis as required, he or she can be charged with a third-degree criminal offense. A conviction can result in between three and five years of incarceration in state prison.
Haddonfield, New Jersey sex crimes lawyer Matthew V. Portella can determine if the prosecution has met its burden of proof in your sex crimes case and represent you in court during plea negotiations, criminal trials, and sentencing hearings.
Contact Our Haddonfield Sex Crimes Lawyer
A sex crime conviction in New Jersey can affect you for the rest of your life. Although these convictions can result in high legal penalties, you could also be required to register as an offender and to report on a regular basis. A sex offender registry is typically a lifelong registry, and a sex crime conviction will likely follow you for the rest of your life.
Criminal defense lawyer Matthew V. Portella has represented sex crime victims in New Jersey for many years, and handles these tough cases without judgment. To schedule a free consultation or case evaluation, please call (856) 310-9800 or contact us online today.