New Jersey Rape Lawyers

A rape or sexual assault conviction is one of the most serious charges imaginable as the repercussions are far-reaching – drastically affecting every aspect of your life for the rest of your life.  Beyond the humiliation of the court system, imprisonment, and substantial fines, you will face constant prejudice from society, and the  stigma of being “a convicted rapist” will impact every aspect of your existence from how your family, children, friends, and potential life partners view you, to finding a job and housing, and even restricting where you can live.  More than likely, due to Megan’s Law, your personal details will be online for anyone to see at anytime and for any reason.

Criminal definition regarding rape in New Jersey

Generally speaking, the charge of rape is non-consensual sexual intercourse, often consisting of unwanted intercourse accomplished by means of force or fear. However, there are laws that disregard this consent element under certain situations and make it illegal to have sex with anyone under the age of 16, also known as statutory rape, covered below.

Common Forms Of Rape

The most common form of rape involves the use of force and acts of violence to overcome the victim, however, it is not always necessary for a charge and conviction of rape. There are several conditions under which rape can be committed without the use of violence or force, including but not limited to:
  • Circumstances in which the alleged rapist intoxicates its victim, making him or her incapable of resistance
  • Accusations in which the alleged perpetrator forces consent by using his or her authority as a public official or posing as a public official and threatening legal consequences
  • Any disability or disorder that the alleged perpetrator knows would prevent the victim from legally consenting to sexual intercourse.
  • It must be noted that for the purposes of rape statutes, sexual intercourse is established as soon as there is the slightest penetration.

New Jersey Sexual Assault Statute

The New Jersey statutes specific to the crime of sexual assault (N.J.S.A. § 2C:14-2) encompass a broad range of sexual assault crimes and the various specific circumstances that impact the overall charges and penalties.  In all cases, the crime of rape is a felony.
A charge of sexual assault can be escalated to that of aggravated sexual assault if the following has occurred:
  • the victim was a child younger than 13
  • the victim was under the age of 15 and the alleged attacker was in a position of power, such as a teacher, family member, coach, religious figure, etc.
  • the rape was committed at the same time as some other felony including a robbery or kidnapping
  • the offender possessed a deadly weapon
  • the offender was aided by one or more other people
  • the victim incurred severe personal injuries due to the violent nature of the attack
  • the perpetrator knew or should have known that the victim was physically helpless, mentally incapacitated, or had a mental disease or defect which rendered the victim temporarily or permanently incapable of understanding the nature of his conduct, including, but not limited to, being incapable of providing consent.
Penalties for a rape conviction are based upon the circumstances discussed above. Sexual assault without any aggravating factors is a second degree crime, and incurs a fine of up to $150,000, up to ten years in prison, or both.  Penalties for aggravated sexual assault include a fine of up to $200,000, up to 20 years in prison, or both.

Statutory Rape

When a person has sexual intercourse with a minor (a person below 16 years in New Jersey) then that person is said to commit statutory rape. It is called statutory rape because it is disregards both the consent element and knowledge (of age) element. It is a strict liability offense, it does not matter whether the minor consented to sexual intercourse or that the alleged rapist did not have knowledge that the victim was younger than the age of consent – it is still prosecuted as rape.  Depending upon the age difference between the two people and other inherent circumstances surrounding the arrest (such as relationship with the minor) the punishment can  up to 20 years in prison.

Contact our New Jersey rape lawyers today

If you or a loved one has been charged with rape in NJ, you need the experience of our former prosecutors and Certified Trial Attorneys.  At Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman, P.C., we leave judgment at the door. There are solid sex crime defense strategies we can employ on your behalf despite the gravity of the crime and evidence against you.

Regardless of your innocence, it is imperative that you do not speak to prosecutors without a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer present to protect your rights under the law. Don’t put the fate of the rest of your life in just any attorney’s hands – trust the hard-earned reputation of excellence of the New Jersey criminal lawyers at Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman, P.C.  Call us at (908) 561-5577 or contact us online

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