Sexual and Aggravated Sexual Assault

Individuals engaged in sexual contact with another without that person’s consent may face charges of sexual or aggravated sexual assault. State laws vary on the definition of sexual assault. Any nonconsensual act of sexual touching generally constitutes sexual assault. The most common types of sexual assault include:

  • Rape
  • Unwanted bodily contact, including kissing, groping, or fondling
  • Forced oral sex
  • Forced penetration by tongue, mouth, finger, penis, or other object into or on another person’s anus, penis, or vagina
  • Forced masturbation

The gender of the perpetuator or victim of sexual assault is irrelevant. Most states, including New Jersey, distinguish sexual assault as aggravated when actual penetration occurs during the commission of another crime, including aggravated assault, robbery or burglary, kidnapping, homicide, or arson. Additional categories of aggravated sexual assault involve victims between the ages of 13 to 16 and victims who have a familial relationship with the accused.

Aggravated sexual assault also encompasses acts of sexual penetration when a defendant uses or threatens to use a weapon and sexual assault committed with the assistance of another individual using physical force or coercion. Under New Jersey law, aggravated sexual assault is a crime in the first degree.  There is no statute of limitations requiring victims to bring their claim of aggravated sexual assault.

Incapacity of the Victim

In addition to forced or coerced sexual contact, sexual assault can include any sexual contact with an incapacitated person. Incapacity of a victim can result from:

  • Lack of mental ability to understand the nature of the sexual acts engaged
  • Physical incapacity to give consent to a sexual act
  • Being asleep during the sexual act
  • Being under the influence of alcohol, anesthesia, or narcotics, such as date rape drugs
  • Inability to flee a situation

Proving Aggravated Sexual Assault

To be convicted of aggravated sexual assault in New Jersey, the state must prove the accused intended to obtain sexual gratification or to sexually arouse, degrade, or humiliate the victim.

Sexual Assault Convictions

Individuals convicted of this type of sex crime can face significant prison time, large monetary penalties, and lifelong parole supervision. Sentencing guidelines can range from 10 to 20 years in prison with no parole eligibility until 85 percent of the prison sentence has been served. Individuals convicted of sexual assault must register as a sex offender under the requirements of Megan’s Law.

Judges will consider aggravating and mitigating factors in determining a sentence for a sexual assault conviction. Aggravating factors include a defendant’s criminal history, the use of a weapon, the degree of physical injury caused, the severity of the crime, and the age or incapacity of the victim.

Defending Claims

Individuals accused of sexual and aggravated sexual assault can assert several defenses to the crime. Consent is the most common defense. If a defendant can prove the accuser was persuaded but not coerced into the sexual contact, sexual assault has not occurred.

In cases where a child is the victim of sexual assault, the defendant typically faces additional charges of other crimes, such as child molestation, luring or enticing a child, statutory rape, and kidnapping. It is important to understand all the charges to provide the best available defense.

Given the severity of these crimes, individuals facing an indictment of sexual or aggravated sexual assault in New Jersey should seek the guidance of an experienced South Jersey criminal defense lawyer who can mount a vigorous defense to these charges.

South Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyers at the Law Offices of Robert N. Agre Help Individuals Facing Sexual Assault Charges

When facing charges of sexual and aggravated sexual assault, the dedicated South Jersey criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Robert N. Agre will work tirelessly with accused individuals to provide aggressive defense to these crimes. Located in Haddonfield, New Jersey, we represent clients throughout Camden County, Burlington County, Salem County, and Gloucester County. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us at 856-428-7797 or contact us online today.