Aggravated Sexual Assault

New Jersey Sex Crimes Lawyer

Aggravated Sexual Assault Charges

NJ Aggravated Sexual Assault charges are among the most serious crimes.

These charges are classified as First-Degree felonies. 

The term for a felony in New Jersey is Indictable Offense.

We are sorry to break the bad news but these types of cases carry lengthy prison sentences.

What Is Aggravated Sexual Assault?

New Jersey defines it as a crime in which one person forces another person to have:

  • vaginal intercourse;
  • cunnilingus;
  • fellatio;
  • anal intercourse;
  • or to be subject to the “insertion of a hand, finger or another object” in the vagina or anus. 

6 ways that you can be charged with Aggravated Sexual Assault

There are a number of situations where you can be charged with this crime.

Below, you will find different instances & scenarios as to when this crime is committed.

  • The alleged victim is younger than 13.
  • The alleged victim is 13 to 16 years old, and the defendant is related by blood or other legal means to the minor (such as a legal guardian).
  • The alleged sexual assault occurred while another crime was being committed or attempted (such as a kidnapping or a robbery).
  • The alleged sexual assault involved physical force that resulted in bodily injury.
  • The defendant allegedly had a weapon and threatened to use it during the assault.
  • The alleged victim was helpless or incapacitated (such as if the person was unconscious or unable to move), and the defendant knew or should have known that.

Aggravated Sexual Assault - Consequences

Aggravated Sexual Assault is First-degree crime.
You are facing the following:

  • Between 10 and 20 years in prison;
  • NERA (below);
  • Parole Supervision for Life (below;
  • Megan Law’s Registration (below)

No Early Release Act

Under New Law (NJSA 2C:43-7.2) there is something called the No Early Release Act (NERA).

This law  states that if you are convicted of Aggravated Sexual Assault, you will not be eligible for parole until you serve 85% of your prison sentence.

Example, if you are sentenced to ten years in prison, you have to complete 85% of your ten year sentence before you become eligible for early release.

We have included the full NERA Statute for your review.

Parole Supervision For Life (PSL) NJSA - 2C:43-6.4

If you have been convicted of aggravated sexual assault, the judge must sentence you to “life supervision”.

This means that after you are released from prison, you will have many limitations on what you will be able to do when you get out.

Your parole officer can drop in on you unannounced and search your home for prohibited internet or smartphone use.
Yes, your internet use will be extremely limited or non-existent.

You will have to submit to drug & alcohol testing.

In limited circumstances, you can apply to remove this “life supervision” after 15 years.

Megan's Law

Under New Jersey’s Megan’s law, you will have to register as a sex offender at the local police department where you live.

Every case is different but you have to report frequently.

Of course, you have to immediately report any changes of address & employment.

Community Notification
If you are subject to Megan’s Law, then you will be subjected to community notification.

This means that your name will be put into a national sex offender registry. Anyone who works or lives near you will have access to your information.

Your Information Will Be Available Online

Under Megan’s, the New Jersey State Police will publish your personal information.
Your personal information will include:

  • Name;
  • Address;
  • Date of birth;
  • Crime for which the individual was convicted;
  • Your physical description; and
  • Your picture.

Is There A Statute Of Limitations For Aggravated Sexual Assault?

The Statute of Limitations does not run until two years after the victim reaches the age of 18 years (assuming that the victim was a minor at the time of the commission of the offense) or five years after the commission of the crime, whichever is later.
See N.J.S.A. 2C:1-6b (4)

i'm under investigation:
Should I talk to the police & explain my side?

We advise every client that walks through our doors to never speak to law enforcement.
You risk incriminating yourself every time you try to explain things to law enforcement.
The truth is that you always have time before trial to give a statement to the police.
Remember, if you make one single mistake while giving your statement, you can never take it back.
It’s that “innocent statement” that will land you in prison for a decade.
If you are the subject of an NJ aggravated sexual assault investigation, call us.
We are here to protect you.

Actions you should take if the police approach you

If the police approach you to get your side of the story, remember these commandments:

1. Never Speak to the police until you retain a lawyer
2. Never Answer police questions until you retain a lawyer.
3. Never Admit anything to the police until you retain a lawyer.
It is human nature to try and explain your side of things but you should never try to explain anything if you are being investigted for a crime.

The problem is that you never help your situation when you answer police questions.
In fact, you make matters worse because the tiniest piece of information can get twisted.

Defending Against Aggravated Sexual Assault Charge?

The Consent Defense

If your accuser is an adult, the strongest defense for this type of crime is “consent”.

Consent means that you and the alleged victim agreed to engage in the underlying sexual behavior.

Even if the government has DNA evidence against you, they have to prove that your actions were “non-consensual”.

These cases become credibility issues or “he said, she said” cases.

The victim in your case most likely had a “rape kit” performed.

This means that medical professionals swabbed certain areas of the alleged victim’s body & obtained your DNA.

This only proves that you were together, but it doesn’t prove that the sexual contact was either forced or without consent.

The most important job of your NJ aggravated sexual assault lawyer is gathering evidence that supports your version of the encounter.

Evidence supporting the “consent” defense consists of:

  • Obtaining text messages between you &  your accuser before & after the sexual encounter;
  • Obtaining any eyewitness statements that may have observed your sexual encounter;
  • Obtaining any surveillance-type video surrounding the incident;
  • Obtaining contradictory statements that your accuser made about the incident

Important:

This defense is not available to you if your accuser is a minor.
A minor cannot legally “consent” to engage in sexual behavior.

The Lack of Evidence Defense

For the government to prove that you committed aggravated sexual assault against your accuser, they need to prove that you committed one of the acts defined above.

If the State obtains your DNA from your accuser, this is very strong evidence against you.

However, if the State failed to obtain your DNA evidence from the alleged victim, their case grows very weak.

Now, if the State does not have DNA evidence, they can still build a strong case against you if you provided a statement to the police.

Many people who are accused of this crime provide a statement to the police where they admit to having sex.

This could be a fatal mistake.

Once you admit to the police that you had sex with your accuser, the State doesn’t need your DNA evidence.

They have your statement.

Final Thoughts

As you have read, aggravated sexual assault charges are extremely serious & carry life-changing consequences.

These charges are not to be taken lightly.

The best advice we have is that you do your research & get a lawyer that will fight for you every step of the way.

Meet with different attorneys and choose a lawyer that comes across as a real fighter.

Aggravated sexual assault cases are long battles that can span months & years.

You need an attorney that will aggressively investigate and advocate for you throughout this long process.

Our Experience

You or a loved one have been arrested. Understandably, you are terrified & have a lot of questions. You’ve heard about plea bargains & probation, but the process is overwhelming. You want a local attorney near you to represent you.

Mr. Peyrouton is from Ridgewood & handles all types of criminal matters in New Jersey The New Jersey Law Journal recently published one of his articles on the subject of criminal law.

How We Can Help

Regardless of the criminal charges you are facing, we are here to defend & protect you. Whether you are facing a restraining order, drug charge, theft charge, or aggravated assault charge, we are here to help you. Even a DWI case can really complicate your life.

If we can’t get your charges dismissed, we can either get them downgraded or place you in a diversionary program. The point is, our criminal defense lawyers will fight tirelessly to get you the best result possible. Take advantage of our free consultation to see how we can help.

Our Practice Areas

Below, you will find a few of our practice areas.

Areas We Serve

Our Hackensack criminal lawyers represent clients in Bergen County & nearby counties & cities. 

Get Help With Your Case

How Do Your Free Consultations Work?

There are plenty of excellent Hackensack criminal lawyers in our area. Most, if not all of them, offer free, 20-minute, consultations. However, our free consultations do not have a time limit. You will never feel rushed.

The best way for us to help you is to patiently listen to your side of the story. Your version of events will serve as the basis for your legal defense. It is during these initial meetings that your memory of the event is fresh in your mind. Why we would rush you during such an important aspect of your case.

We understand that your choice of attorney could mean the difference between your freedom and spending years behind bars. 

When you hire an attorney, you are entering a long-term relationship. For this reason, it is important that you feel comfortable with the team of Hackensack criminal lawyers that will represent you.

What our clients say about us

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A person extorts if he purposely threatens to:

a. Inflict bodily injury on or physically confine or restrain anyone or commit any other criminal offense;
b. Accuse anyone of an offense or cause charges of an offense to be instituted against any person;
c. Expose or publicize any secret or any asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject any person to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or to impair his credit or business repute;
d. Take or withhold action as an official, or cause an official to take or withhold action;
e. Bring about or continue a strike, boycott or other collective action, if the property is not demanded or received for the benefit of the group in whose interest the actor purports to act;
f. Testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to another’s legal claim or defense; or
g. Inflict any other harm which would not substantially benefit the actor but which is calculated to materially harm another person.

***It is an affirmative defense to prosecution based on paragraphs b, c, d or f that the property obtained was honestly claimed as restitution or indemnification for harm done in the circumstances or as lawful compensation for property or services.

Reasonable Articulable Suspicion

Reasonable suspicion is a “search” standard that applies in criminal law.

When a police officer conducts a warrantless search, and does not have probable cause to justify the search, the courts look to see if the police had
a “reasonable & articulable suspicion” for the search.

A mere “hunch” is not enough.

In other words, a police officer has to provide an acceptable explanation for the search.

United States Constitution

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

NJSA - 2C:43-7.2.
Eligibility for parole;
persons convicted of certain violent crimes

a. A court imposing a sentence of incarceration for a crime of the first or second degree enumerated in subsection d. of this section shall fix a minimum term of 85% of the sentence imposed, during which the defendant shall not be eligible for parole.


b. The minimum term required by subsection a. of this section shall be fixed as a part of every sentence of incarceration imposed upon every conviction of a crime enumerated in subsection d. of this section, whether the sentence of incarceration is determined pursuant to N.J.S.2C:43-6, N.J.S.2C:43-7, N.J.S.2C:11-3 or any other provision of law, and shall be calculated based upon the sentence of incarceration actually imposed. The provisions of subsection a. of this section shall not be construed or applied to reduce the time that must be served before eligibility for parole by an inmate sentenced to a mandatory minimum period of incarceration. Solely for the purpose of calculating the minimum term of parole ineligibility pursuant to subsection a. of this section, a sentence of life imprisonment shall be deemed to be 75 years.


c. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary and in addition to any other sentence imposed, a court imposing a minimum period of parole ineligibility of 85 percent of the sentence pursuant to this section shall also impose a five-year term of parole supervision if the defendant is being sentenced for a crime of the first degree, or a three-year term of parole supervision if the defendant is being sentenced for a crime of the second degree. The term of parole supervision shall commence upon the completion of the sentence of incarceration imposed by the court pursuant to subsection a. of this section unless the defendant is serving a sentence of incarceration for another crime at the time he completes the sentence of incarceration imposed pursuant to subsection a., in which case the term of parole supervision shall commence immediately upon the defendant’s release from incarceration. During the term of parole supervision the defendant shall remain in release status in the community in the legal custody of the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections and shall be supervised by the State Parole Board as if on parole and shall be subject to the provisions and conditions

Felony Degree

Prison & Fines

Examples

First-Degree

1st-degree felony charges in NJ are reserved for the most serious criminal offenses. Prison terms start at a minimum of 10 years in prison.

Second-Degree

2nd-degree felony charges carry 5-10 yrs in prison.
These charges can often be “downgraded” to 3rd or 4th-degree crimes.

Third-Degree

3rd-degree felony charges carry 3-5 years.
You have a good shot at PTI if you are charged with a 3rd-degree.

Fourth-Degree

4th-degree felony charges carry up to 18 months in jail. These cases can get “remanded” to a lower court. In this way, you will be out of “felony” danger.

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