Criminal Sexual Contact Defense Lawyers in Middlesex County NJ
Criminal sexual contact can have life-long consequences for the alleged victim and the convicted offender. The state punishes sex crimes severely, so you want to proceed with utmost caution and care if the police arrested or even contacted you in connection with a criminal sexual contact investigation. Depending on whether you have been charged with criminal sexual contact or aggravated criminal sexual contact, you could be facing prison for anywhere from 18 months to 5 years. But even after a conviction, when the convicted defendant served a prison term and paid fines and restitution, the person can remain a known sex offender for life. Before you speak to anyone, you want to consult with an experienced sex crimes defense attorney to protect your rights and preserve your defense against the charges the state lodges against you. Most importantly, you do not have to suffer the harsh adversarial treatment of prosecutors and judges alone.
When you enlist help and legal counsel from the Middlesex County defense team at The Law Office of Proetta & Oliver, you have the support and cooperation of a powerful ally. Our experienced criminal defense lawyers have faced many prosecutors and judges while defending clients accused of criminal sexual contact in New Brunswick, Piscataway, South Brunswick, East Brunswick, Monroe, Woodbridge, and other Middlesex County towns. Together, we can map out the best approach to your defense. Contact our office in Edison, NJ at (732) 659-9600 for a free initial consultation today.
How is Criminal Sexual Contact Defined in N.J.S.A. 2C: 14-3b?
New Jersey law defines criminal sexual contact as the unlawful touching of a person who cannot legally consent to the sexual contact, whether it be because of their age or relationship to the one doing the touching. It is a unilateral taking of sexual satisfaction or gratification since the other person is not a legal participant in the sexual activity. And although there may appear to be consent between the parties, the victim’s age or circumstances may not permit lawful conduct between the parties. This unlawful conduct is especially true when the actor, or one committing the illegal touching, is far older than the victim or holds emotional, physical, or positional power over the victim.
New Jersey law specifies under which circumstances and conditions acts deemed to be criminal sexual contact can occur. The law codifies, at its foundation, one person touching another person for sexual arousal or gratification. But the actor might also touch their own intimate parts in the victim’s presence with the intent to arouse and gratify one or both of the parties. The primary purpose of the contact is to arouse the actor at the expense of the victim, who is often left demeaned and humiliated. In other words, the actor is seeking their own pleasure, not necessarily the victim’s. And the type of touching matters in measuring the extent of the victim’s injury to the victim and the actor’s degree of guilt.
What Circumstances Apply to a Criminal Sexual Contact Charge in New Jersey?
In a criminal sexual contact case, the touching may be direct contact with the victim’s sexual parts or through clothing (N.J.S.A. 2C:14-1d). Moreover, the context for the touching may add layers to the crime. For example, an actor who uses physical force against their victim is guilty of criminal sexual contact, despite the victim’s lack of bodily injury. And when the victim is young, between 13 and 15 years old, and the actor is four years the victim’s senior, that is also an instance of criminal sexual contact. Other instances under the law that qualify as unlawful contact include a foster parent, relative, guardian, or another person in charge of a 16- to 17-year-old victim of sexual contact. Likewise, when a person of authority in a professional capacity, like a probation officer or hospital warden, sexually victimizes their charge who is on probation, on parole, or in the hospital, they commit a serious crime.
What Elevates an Offense to Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact in NJ?
If sexual contact escalates to endanger another’s life or cause serious bodily injury, the crime degree also rises. Moreover, if the accused entrusted to a supervisory position engaged in sexual contact with a 13-, 14- or 15-year-old charge of theirs while committing a serious crime, they may be charged and convicted for aggravated sexual contact. So, a foster parent who has sexual contact with their foster child during a kidnapping, robbery, homicide, burglary, arson, or aggravated assault may be charged with aggravated criminal sexual contact violating N.J.S.A. 2C: 14-3a. Likewise, possessing a weapon while committing unlawful sexual touching or physically harming the victim is aggravated sexual contact. It is especially an aggravating factor if the victim is vulnerable due to incapacitation or is otherwise helpless.
How does New Jersey Punish Criminal Sexual Contact Offenses?
Criminal sexual contact is usually a fourth degree crime in New Jersey. Those convicted of this crime could be imprisoned for as long as 18 months. On the other hand, aggravated criminal sexual contact is a third degree crime, for which an individual could spend a minimum of 3 years and up to 5 years in prison if caught, tried, and convicted. And the punishments don’t end there.
Under Megan’s Law, a mandate for all convicted sex offenders subject to it, those convicted of criminal sexual contact must register with the state, so law enforcement and possibly the public know where they are throughout their lives. Their personal information, including address, vehicle information, photo identification, and the crimes they committed, are on public display or known to the police at the very least. The purpose of registration and Megan’s Law is to warn community residents that a sexual offender is living nearby. In addition, sex offenders are subject to lifetime supervisory parole and must report to the state whenever they move. As part of a national registry, they cannot escape the public’s notice and condemnation. In some cases, a person may apply for Megan’s Law removal. However, they must be eligible and at least 15 years must have passed since their conviction. That is, unless the convicted offender was adjudicated delinquent for juvenile charges while under the age of 14.
How our Edison NJ Criminal Sexual Contact Attorneys Defend Your Innocence
From the start of the proceedings, arrest, or warrant in a criminal sexual contact case, you want expert advice on what you should say and do. A criminal defense attorney at our Middlesex County firm will sit you down and listen to your story about what happened during the incident and the following arrest. We will ask probing questions to get all the details of what occurred during your arrest to see whether the police acted lawfully. Police officers make mistakes that may have infringed your rights. You have constitutional rights to know why the police arrested you. They should also inform you of your right to speak to authorities only with an attorney present if that is your choice.
We know what to listen for and what to look for when analyzing what the police said and did before, during, and after your arrest. If you are wanted for questioning, wee can also protect you against law enforcement who know how to extract information from you useful to their case against you. From the very start, our defense attorneys will also inform you about what to expect during the criminal process, what hearings you must attend, what the prosecutor may try to do convict you, and how we can and will respond to the prosecutor’s strategy with your top defense strategy.
Call (732) 659-9600 now if you have been arrested, charged, or accused of criminal sexual contact in Middlesex County, NJ. We assist clients in your situation in North Brunswick, Metuchen, Old Bridge, Carteret, Perth Amboy, Plainsboro, and nearby areas. The consultation is free and confidential, so please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your case.