Statutory Rape - The Basics

New Jersey statutory rape law prohibits sexual activity between an adult a minor. Even if the minor consents (agrees to the sex) it is illegal. It does not matter if the minor was a willing participant.
New Jersey statutory rape laws are absolute. 

Statutory Rape - Defined

Rape is sexual assault without the consent of the victim. 

NJ statutory rape does not require the prosecutor to prove a lack of consent. The issue of “consent” does not come into play. It is an “age-driven” analysis.
By law, a minor cannot give consent. The law deems minors incapable to making an informed decision to engage in sex. 

This means that if you are an adult and you have sex with a minor, the prosecutor does not have to prove that you used any force.

The act itself is illegal, regardless of the victim’s consent.

Statutory Rape & Strict Liability

They charge you with statutory rape. You explain your side. The facts are all true but they don’t enter into the conversation.

Example 1:

  • The minor provided you with a fake driver’s license, passport, or birth certificate showing that the minor was 21 but in reality, the minor was 15. You had no clue that any of these credentials were fake. In fact, any reasonable person inspecting these credentials would not question their authenticity.
  • Result: It doesn’t matter.

Example 2:

  • The minor started the relationship & told you countless times that the love between you was pure. The minor consented to everything you did (sexually) together. You have tons of emails & texts to prove it. You were the shy one in the relationship & the minor was outgoing.
  • Result: It doesn’t matter.

Strict liability means that your “Bona fide” belief does not matter.

Wharton, Criminal Law (1957), s 321, it is stated:
‘It is no defense that the defendant did not know that the female was under the statutory age of consent. It is immaterial that the defendant in good faith believed that the female was above the prohibited age, that he had exercised reasonable care, to ascertain her age; that his belief, though erroneous, was reasonable; or that the defendant had been mislead by the appearance or statements of the female.
The defendant acts at his peril that the female may in fact be under the age of consent. The fact that the defendant cannot assert as a defense his Bona fide belief in the victim’s age does not make unconstitutional the statutes under consideration.’

Statutory Rape - Penalties

Statutory rape is a sexual assault crime. When committed under certain circumstances, it is treated as aggravated sexual assault.

Statutory rape can be broken down into 3 categories:

  1. Criminal Sexual Contact
  2. Sexual Assault
  3. Aggravated Sexual Assault

To best help you, we broke down each crime with a simple chart outlining your age, the victim’s age, felony degree, and fines & incarceration terms you face.

Important:
The actor’s age is at least four years older than the victim.
For example, if you are 18 years & 6 months old & the victim is 14 years & 6 months old, the age difference is exactly four years.

Aggravated Sexual Assault

Under (NJSA 2C:14-2a. ) – An actor is guilty of aggravated sexual assault if the actor commits an act of sexual penetration with another person under any one of the following circumstances:

(1) The victim is less than 13 years old;
(2) The victim is at least 13 but less than 16 years old; and


(a) The actor is related to the victim by blood or affinity to the third degree, or
(b) The actor has supervisory or disciplinary power over the victim by virtue of the actor’s legal, professional, or occupational status, or
(c) The actor is a resource family parent, a guardian, or stands in loco parentis within the household;

Sexual penetration means vaginal intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio or anal intercourse between persons or insertion of the hand, finger or object into the anus or vagina either by the actor or upon the actor’s instruction. The depth of insertion shall not be relevant as to the question of commission of the crime

Sexual Assault

Under (NJSA 2C:14-2b.)  – An actor is guilty of sexual assault if the actor commits an act of sexual contact with a victim who is less than 13 years old and the actor is at least four years older than the victim

Under (NJSA 2C:14-2c.). An actor is guilty of sexual assault if the actor commits an act of sexual penetration with another person under any one of the following circumstances:

(3) The victim is at least 16 but less than 18 years old and:

(a) The actor is related to the victim by blood or affinity to the third degree; or
(b) The actor has supervisory or disciplinary power of any nature or in any capacity over the victim; or
(c) The actor is a resource family parent, a guardian, or stands in loco parentis within the household;

(4) The victim is at least 13 but less than 16 years old and the actor is at least four years older than the victim;

Sexual penetration means vaginal intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio or anal intercourse between persons or insertion of the hand, finger or object into the anus or vagina either by the actor or upon the actor’s instruction. The depth of insertion shall not be relevant as to the question of commission of the crime

Criminal Sexual Contact

Under (NJSA 2C:14-3)  – Sexual contact means an intentional touching by the victim or defendant, either directly or through clothing, of the victim’s or defendant’s intimate parts for the purpose of degrading or humiliating the victim or sexually arousing or sexually gratifying the defendant.

Intimate parts mean the following body parts: sexual organs, genital area, anal area, inner thigh, groin, buttock, or breast of a person.

Statutory Rape - The Romeo & Juliet Defense

The Romeo & Juliet defense applies to adult teenagers. If you are 18 years old (adult) & you engage in consensual sexual relations with a minor in New Jersey, you may be protected from prosecution. These cases involve situations where the minor is at least 13 and a defendant who is fewer than four years older. 

Final Thoughts

New Jersey statutory rape laws are complex and difficult to understand. If you find yourself in this situation, please know that the police will use your statement against you.

When you explain your story & admit that you engaged in consensual sexual relations with a minor, this statement is an admission that will seal your fate. Unless the police get your statement illegally, you cannot take back what you say.

Your explanation & story is immaterial. Consent is not the issue in statutory rape cases. These cases focus solely on age.
Your best option is to meet with us & let us help you.

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

Peyrouton Law
5.0
Based on 172 reviews
D S
D S
20:51 19 Sep 22
Absolutely Amazing Law Firm !! Very Thorough And And Doesn't Play Any Games .Thank You Again For all your help and Hard work Also Keeping my record Spotless !!!
Kayla Wilson-Raditch
Kayla Wilson-Raditch
19:45 24 Aug 22
Alan was amazing for my family member’s case. Highly recommended!
Jean-Carlo Delgado
Jean-Carlo Delgado
14:21 17 Aug 22
Excellent lawyer! Responds immediately to any questions asked. My case was dismissed and I was able to keep my job, couldn't have asked for a better lawyer.
Laurie Rivera
Laurie Rivera
17:35 02 Aug 22
Highly recommended! Got a family member that got in trouble and he was able to help him out.
jared giaimo
jared giaimo
17:20 02 Aug 22
Very helpful, very professional. As far as lawyers go this was an easy and pleasant experience!
Thomas Farrell
Thomas Farrell
09:55 02 Aug 22
Mr.Peyrounton was so helpful and very professional if anyone needs help I definitely recommend to go to Mr.peyrountonThank you very much
Anthony DiCataldo
Anthony DiCataldo
23:29 01 Aug 22
I had some issues with a first time DUI and I made the right choice by hiring Alan to have my back. The legal system can be very overwhelming but Alan took me through everything step by step and made me feel very comfortable. Very professional and always available for me on the phone. Never missed a call.
Joe Bixel
Joe Bixel
22:27 01 Aug 22
I reached out to Alan to help a friend of mine after talking with other attorneys. I felt most comfortable with him. The situation was not the greatest but the overall out come favored my friend. I highly recommend reaching out to Alan. Gave my friend a second chance in life and things are working out well.
Jared Taylor
Jared Taylor
21:29 01 Aug 22
Best lawyer in North jersey helped a bunch thanks again bud
John Fescoe
John Fescoe
20:53 01 Aug 22
Mr. Peyrouton is a man with brilliant insight into the law/justice system and and even better understanding on how to help people get through some of there scariest moments. I was facing multiple drug charges(all felony), and he never stopped fighting for me one second. His character and professionalism showed through both in court and in my personal interactions with him. I can honest say he saved me a lot of unnecessary heartache and worry and I would highly recommend his services to anyone in need. One could say he helped save my life. Thank you.
yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7