New Jersey Statutory Rape Lawyer

New Jersey statutory rape laws are serious criminal offenses which can result in spending time in prison, registering as a sex offender, and paying steep fines. They can ruin someone’s reputation.

If you have been charged with statutory rape in New Jersey, contact a New Jersey statutory rape lawyer to review the charges against you. An experienced sex crimes attorney can determine the best legal defenses available to you.

Legal Definition of Statutory Rape

Statutory rape is generally defined as sexual activity between someone who is of age and another who is not (and therefore legally unable to consent under the law). In New Jersey, that age is 16.  However, New Jersey does not have a separate statutory rape criminal charge.

Instead, according to New Jersey Statute Sec. 2C:14-2, a person can be charged with sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, or criminal sexual contact, and may require the assistance of a New Jersey statutory rape lawyer.

Sexual Assault

This includes sexual contact between a minor who is less than 13 years old and a person who is at least four years older than the alleged victim, or sexual misconduct between a minor who is 13, 14, or 15 years old and a defendant who is at least four years older. New Jersey sexual assault is generally considered a second-degree felony which can result in spending up to 10 years in prison and paying significant fines.

Aggravated Sexual Assault

This includes sexual penetration between a minor who is less than 13 years old and another person of any age. New Jersey aggravated sexual assault is generally considered a first-degree felony which can result in spending up to 20 years in prison and paying significant fines.

Criminal Sexual Contact

This includes sexual contact between a minor who is 13, 14, or 15 years old and a person who is at least four years older. New Jersey sexual assault is generally considered a fourth-degree felony which can result in spending up to 18 months in prison and paying significant fines. A skilled New Jersey statutory rape lawyer can attempt to mitigate the penalties that an individual may face.

Unlike many other states, New Jersey recognizes what are known as Romeo and Juliet laws which can prevent the prosecution of underage couples who engage in consensual sex when both are significantly close in age to each other and one, or both, are below the age of consent.

Strict Liability

Statutory rape is considered a strict liability crime. Essentially, that means that if someone violates the law, they are guilty. In the case of statutory rape, that means not knowing the alleged victim’s age is generally not a defense. If they were under 16, the person can be charged.

However, that can often be challenged in situations where the minor looked older, told the person they were of age, or even had a fake ID that could have been reasonably believed to be valid.

While every situation is different, it is important to keep in mind that having a New Jersey statutory rape attorney to review all of the available information and defend statutory rape allegations can make a real difference.

Contacting a New Jersey Statutory Rape Attorney

If you have been charged with statutory rape, contact an experienced New Jersey statutory rape lawyer to review your situation and evaluate every possible legal defense you may have available to you. Find out how a statutory rape attorney can help.