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

Victim’s Age
Your Age Difference
Felony Degree
Prison
13, 14, 15
4 Years & Older
1st-Degree
25 years to life

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

Victim’s Age
Your Age Difference
Felony Degree
Prison
13, 14, 15
4 Years & Older
2nd-Degree
5-10 Years

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

Victim’s Age
Your Age Difference
Felony Degree
Prison
13, 14, 15
4 Years & Older
4th-Degree
$10,000
Up to 18 months

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.

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

Areas We Serve

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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
4.9
Based on 129 reviews
Thomas W
Thomas W
03:21 20 Dec 20
My brother-in-law's friend was arrested for a disorderly person's offense. It sounds minor, but in some states other than NJ it is known as a misdemeanor. Often this type of offense is resolved as a municipal ordinance violation, a civil matter. The defendant still must pay a substantial fine, but the criminal charge is dismissed and the defendant has no criminal record. And the municipality gets their money. But in this case Alan Peyrouton had the case dismissed. My brother-in-law's friend had no criminal record, and paid no fine ! There is no better resolution of a case for a criminal defendant than to have a case dismissed. I would recommend Alan to anyone facing any criminal charge in NJ. And so would my brother-in-law and his friend.
Adam Massa
Adam Massa
20:04 07 Dec 20
I rarely submit reviews but this law firm deserves 5 stars!Samera & Alan were phenomenal! They are the perfect team to help when you're desperate because they listen and care and explain things patiently and clearly.I called 4 lawyers before I found Peyrouton Law and all 4 lawyers were rude and in a rush.From day one I got VIP treatment and they charged me less than all the other lawyers wanted to charge me. Alan got my case dismissed and is the most humble lawyer I ever met.Samera is an angel and I am very grateful for all of their assistance.I strongly recommend this law firm.
Osi Nwankwo
Osi Nwankwo
20:38 04 Dec 20
Very trust worthy firm. The perfect place for legal advice!
Dylan Wazz
Dylan Wazz
00:50 01 Dec 20
If you’re looking for a lawyer and are reading this review, then you can stop your search right here because Alan is without a doubt the best lawyer on the market. His secretary Samera was such a genuine person and you can tell they both actually care about their clients and take each and every case like it was one of their family members cases. If I could give them 10 stars I would. Absolutely a great law firm and I will be recommending them to anyone who digs themself into a sticky situation as I did. We’re all human and they most certainly bring that to life in court and make the prosecutor and judge see that. Thank you for all you guys did I greatly appreciate it!
T Shum
T Shum
00:20 24 Nov 20
Judy Lawrence
Judy Lawrence
00:59 20 Nov 20
My name is Ms. Judy Lawrence, and I am so excited about posting my opinion of Peyroutin Law; a law firm that is owned and operated by the two most persevering people in my opinion; Mr. Alan and Ms. Cerva. With all the intricate things they have to do to get ready for court, they always received me with smiles in their voice.I was faced with my first criminal case, and my sons told me they had, in their opinion, the perfect law firm. I was sceptical, because everything was done over the phone and email, do to the Pandemic, and I needed that personal touch.I must tell you, I never felt so confident about being in such a bad situation. Ms. Cerva took the time to read my emails and respond promptly; she always kept me informed every step of the way. Its hard for me to trust anyone with such a delicate situation, that I wasn't able to meet in person. Ms.Cerva (Paralegal) took the time to speak to me on the phone when I became anxious. I felt a closeness to her.To make a long story short, because I am a writer, and I can speak volumes about how when I spoke to the Lawyer, Mr. Alan, a feeling of calm and blessed assurance came over me. He told me what to expect, he asked me what I wanted, he treated me as if he knew the very essence of who I was, and he handle himself with such professional and knowledge.Its funny because, when everything was over and done, and I received a very favorable outcome, I kind of missed them. I don't ever want to have to face such a uncomfortable situation like that again. But if I do, God forbid, I have Mr. Alan and Ms. Cerva backing me up.Thank you
Jakeline Jaramillo
Jakeline Jaramillo
17:17 03 Nov 20
Mi experiencia fue muy buena. Debo resaltar un trato muy personalizado y sobre todo la calidad profesional y humana. Se ha planteado el caso y su defensa de la manera más oportuna y efectiva. Agradezco mucho su ayuda para resolverlo de manera exitosa
San Loore kailey Saint jean
San Loore kailey Saint jean
17:24 29 Oct 20
orphise saintjean
orphise saintjean
15:03 29 Oct 20
DAVID ALEJANDRO ROSERO JARAMILLO
DAVID ALEJANDRO ROSERO JARAMILLO
14:02 29 Oct 20
Obtuvo el mejor resultado para mi caso, muy recomendado!
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