The New Jersey statute that defines sexual assault is N.J.S. 2C:14-2. Sexual assault, formerly called “rape” or “carnal knowledge,” broadly speaking, consists of sexual activity with a non-consenting individual or, depending on circumstances, even sexual activity with individuals who do consent.
N.J.S. 2C:14-2 has many subsections. Each subsection specifies a different set of activities that can constitute sexual assault. The sexual activity specified in those subsections can be either sexual penetration or sexual contact, again depending on the circumstances. It does not include such offenses as invasion of privacy, lewdness, or prostitution. We discuss those offenses elsewhere on this site.
N.J.S. 2C:14-1 contains definitions that are applied to charges involving sexual conduct. Terms defined include “sexual penetration” and “sexual contact.” Another word defined there is “victim.” Under that definition, “victim” means a person alleging to have been subjected to any of the specified offenses. This terminology thus labels a person complaining of sexual assault a “victim” before a shred of evidence has been produced that a sexual assault even occurred. The courts often allow prosecutors to refer to complaining witnesses as “victims” even when the accused individual categorically denies misconduct.
New Jersey specifies that sexual assault is either a second degree crime or a first degree crime. The difference depends on whether aggravating factors are present. When aggravating factors elevate the offense to a first degree crime, the offense is called aggravated sexual assault.
Needless to say, all sexual assaults, aggravated or not, are serious. Conviction will be devestating. Convicted persons will become subject to “Megan's Law”. Their conviction can never be expunged. Persons accused of sexual assault and related charges should deal with these charges as the highest priority item in their lives because, whether they realize it or not, it is.
New Jersey sexual assault lawyers Allan Marain and Norman Epting, Jr. have been handling sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault matters, literally, for decades. Each member of the firm has extensive experience finding weaknesses in the State's case and exploiting those weaknesses. Each member of the firm has won sexual assault not guilty verdicts in bitterly contested jury trials against some of the best prosecutors in New Jersey.
Persons in New Jersey charged with sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault should call them before answering questions from the police, or from anybody. They can help.
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