If you are facing false allegations of statutory rape in New Jersey, you are now facing serious legal consequences that could jeopardize your future and liberty. In the statute of New Jersey, statutory rape is considered a criminal offense that involves sexual activity with a minor (someone who is below the age of consent). Please continue reading and reach out to a proficient New Jersey sex crimes attorney to learn more about how New Jersey law delineates statutory rape, what penalties you could face if convicted, and how the Law Office of Boyd & Squitieri can help. Here are some of the questions you may have:
How is statutory rape defined under New Jersey law?
In New Jersey, the age of consent is 16 years old. This means that anyone who is 16 years or older can legally consent to sexual activity with another person who is also 16 years or older. However, if one of the parties is younger than 16, the sexual activity is deemed illegal, even if it was consensual. This is called statutory rape. Statutory rape is prosecuted under New Jersey’s sexual assault laws, which vary depending on the ages of the parties involved and the nature of the sexual act in question. Just some of the potential charges you may face for an incident of statutory rape in the state of New Jersey are aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, and criminal sexual contact, among others. The penalties you may face for these charges, upon conviction, are as follows:
- Aggravated sexual assault: This is the most serious charge one can face, and it applies when there is sexual penetration (such as vaginal, oral, or anal sex) between a minor who is younger than 13 and an adult of any age, or between a minor who is younger than 16 and an adult who is at least four years older, or who has some authority over the minor.
- Sexual assault: This charge applies when there is sexual contact (such as touching or fondling) between a minor who is younger than 13 and an adult of any age, or between a minor who is younger than 16 and an adult who is at least four years older.
- Criminal sexual contact: Criminal sexual contact occurs when there is sexual contact between a minor who is 13 to 15 years old and an adult who is at least four years older.
What are the potential penalties?
The penalties for statutory rape depend largely on the specific charge you are facing and the circumstances surrounding your case. That being said, the penalties for crimes of this nature are generally severe and could include the following, among other penalties:
- Prison time: Depending on the charge you’re facing, you’re looking at anywhere from 18 months to 20 years in prison. For example, aggravated sexual assault in New Jersey carries a prison term of 10 to 20 years, while criminal sexual contact carries a prison term of up to 18 months.
- Fines: You could also be ordered to pay fines ranging from $15,000 to $200,000 for statutory rape. For example, aggravated sexual assault carries a fine of up to $200,000, while criminal sexual contact carries a fine of up to $15,000.
- Sex offender registration: If convicted of statutory rape, you will also have to register as a sex offender in New Jersey. This means that you will have to provide your personal information, such as your name, address, photo, fingerprints, and DNA sample, to law enforcement. You will also have to update your information regularly and notify the authorities if you move or change jobs. Your information will be available to the public and may affect your ability to find housing, employment, or education. Additionally, often, the general public will know when you move into their area, making it nearly impossible for you to shake your criminal history.
If you’ve been accused of an act of statutory rape, or any other sexual offense, it is imperative that you retain the services of a competent and dedicated New Jersey criminal defense lawyer who can fight to disprove your charges and keep you out of jail. Fortunately, you are in the right place. Contact the Law Office of Boyd & Squitieri for help today.