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New Jersey Sex Crimes and Their Consequences

While there are several sex related offenses that fall under federal law, the majority are prosecuted in state court. For example, many offenses may be referred to as “rape’ or “sodomy,” however in New Jersey, these terms are not utilized. Instead, the state has broken down these kinds of criminal acts into five different categories which each warrant their own sentencing. 

Defining a Sex Crime

There are various circumstances and actions which will narrow down the specific charge an offender might be faced with, however sex crimes are typically very similar in respect to their broad range of offenses. Generally speaking, any act with non-consensual sex, coercion, threats, minors or significant age gaps will lead to a sex crime charge. 

Types of Sex Crimes 

  • Aggravated Sexual Assault
    • Involves sexual penetration of another with certain additional factors. 
    • Crime in the first degree with a sentencing of 10-20 years. 
    • If the victim is under 13 years old, there is a mandatory minimum of 25 years to maximum life in prison.
    • Considered a violent crime, 85% of the sentence must be served before the person is eligible for release.
  • Sexual Assault
    • Involves any sexual contact with a victim who is under 13 years old and the offender is 4 or more years older. Or sexual penetration in what the law considers less egregious circumstances. 
    • Crime in the second degree with sentencing of 5-10 years.
    • A reasonable belief that the victim was 16 years or older is not a defense.
    • If the victim does not suffer severe personal injury, 85% of the sentence must be served before eligible for release. 
  • Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault
    • Involves sexual contact where victim is between 13 and 16 years old, or the actor used a weapon, threats or coercion, the victim was incapacitated, or there was severe personal injury.
    • Crime in the third degree with up to 5 years in prison. 
    • Not subject to the 85% sentencing provision.
  • Criminal Sexual Assault
    • Involves sexual contact where force or coercion is used but the victim does not suffere severe personal injury. It also includes if the victim is under court supervision or if the actor has supervisory status and the victim is between 16 and 18 years old, or if the victim is 13-16 and the actor is 4 or more years older.
    • Crime in the fourth degree with up to 18 months in prison. 
    • Not subject to the 85% sentencing provision.
  • Lewdness
    • Involves the actor exposing themselves for the purpose of gratification if it is reasonable that a person under 13 will see it and the actor is 4 or more years older, or if the person seeing it suffers from a mental disease or defect. 
    • Considered a disorderly persons offense. 

Get Proper Representation

Above are very general reviews of these kinds of criminal statutes. It is important to work with experienced criminal defense lawyers who know the law. We at Catanzaro Law have professionals that can go into a more detailed explanation and increase your familiarity with such charges. If you have been charged, or found yourself under investigation, it is crucial to contact us today for a free consultation, and let us represent you! 


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