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Sex Crimes: Definitions, Penalties and Consequences

In New Jersey, rape is punished either as “sexual assault” or “aggravated sexual assault.” Sexual assault is a second degree crime while aggravated sexual assault is a first degree crime and reserved for the most serious cases, such as when the victim suffered serious physical injury as a result of the assault, a weapon was used during the assault or the assault occurred during the commission of another crime. August 07, 2009 /24-7PressRelease/ — Sex Crimes: Definitions, Penalties and Consequences

Article provided by David T. Schlendorf Law Offices
 Visit us at http://www.sex-crimes-dtslawfirm.com

 What is a Sex Crime?

"Sex crimes" is a general category of criminal conduct that normally includes offenses such as rape, statutory rape, child rape, child pornography and other crimes involving sexuality. States have different definitions of sex crimes and may require varying types of proof against someone who is charged with one of these offenses.

 New Jersey: Sexual Assault Charges

In New Jersey, rape is punished either as "sexual assault" or "aggravated sexual assault." Sexual assault is a second degree crime while aggravated sexual assault is a first degree crime and reserved for the most serious cases, such as when the victim suffered serious physical injury as a result of the assault, a weapon was used during the assault or the assault occurred during the commission of another crime.

Sexual assault charges may be brought in the following circumstances:

– The offender had sexual contact with someone younger than 13-years-old, while the offender was at least 4 years older than the victim
– The offender had sexual penetration with a person by physical force or coercion
– The offender had sexual penetration with a person he or she knew was physically and/or mentally incapacitated
– The offender had sexual penetration with someone he or she was in a position of authority over while the victim was on probation, parole or institutionalized in a hospital, prison or other facility
– The offender had sexual penetration with someone who was 16 or 17-years-old and the offender was related to the victim, had supervisory power over the victim or was a foster parent, guardian or loco parentis (acted as parent) to the victim
– The offender had sexual penetration with someone who is at least 13-years-old but younger than 16-years-old and the offender is as at least 4 years older than the victim

The age of consent in New Jersey is 16. This means that statutory rape charges may be brought against anyone over 18 who has a sexual relationship with someone 15-years-old or younger. However, if the adult is in a position of authority or discipline over the 16-year-old, then the age of consent increases to 18. Consent cannot be used as a defense to a statutory rape charge in New Jersey.

 New York: Rape Charges

Under New York law, there are three available charges that may be brought against a person who is accused of rape: rape in the first, second or third degree. A first degree rape charge is a Class B Felony and the most serious rape charge. First degree rape charges may be brought when an offender:

– Uses "forcible compulsion" (force by express or implied threat)
– Has intercourse with someone who is physically helpless and unable to give consent
– Has intercourse with someone who is under 11-years-old
– Has intercourse with someone who is less than 13-years-old while the offender is 18-years-old or older

Every rape crime in New York requires the prosecution to prove that the intercourse was without consent, except for cases of statutory rape or when the victim is mentally incapacitated, mentally disabled or physically helpless. Like New Jersey, consent is not a defense to statutory rape charges in New York. The age of consent in New York is 17.

 Penalties for a Sexual Assault/Rape Conviction

The penalties for a sex crime conviction also vary by jurisdiction. Below is a comparison of the amount of prison time someone convicted of his or her first offense for sexual assault in New Jersey or rape in New York may receive.

 New Jersey

– Aggravated sexual assault: up to 20 years in prison
– Sexual assault: up to 10 years in prison

 New York

– First degree rape: 5-25 years in prison
– Second degree rape: 2-7 years in prison
– Third degree rape: 1.5-4 years in prison

The amount of prison time an offender is ultimately sentenced to, in either jurisdiction, may be increased based on other factors, including whether this is a second or subsequent offense and whether the offender has any other unrelated felony convictions. Conversely, offenders may also be eligible for alternate sentencing with lower level convictions, such as sexual assault in New Jersey and second or third degree rape in New York.

Those convicted of a sex crime will also have to pay fines and penalties for their acts. For example, New Jersey law requires those convicted of a sex offense to pay a penalty to the Sex Crime Victim Treatment Fund. Someone convicted of aggravated sexual assault has to pay a $2000 penalty while someone convicted of sexual assault has to pay a $1000 penalty.

 Sex Offender Registration

Another consequence of being convicted of a sex crime is mandatory registration in a sex offender registry. Sex offender registries are available on-line and are searchable by the public. The type of information available in the registry varies depending on the jurisdiction, but usually contains the offender’s name, address, type(s) of sex offense, level of sex offender and a photograph.

The amount of time an offender is required to register as a sex offender also varies by jurisdiction. For example, New Jersey requires life-time registration for anyone convicted of a sex offense in the state. New York, on the other hand, only requires Level 2 and 3 sex offenders to register for life. Level 1 sex offenders are required to register for 20 years. In New York, offenders are assigned levels based on the risk that they will commit another sex crime, with Level 1 reserved for the lowest risk and Level 3 indicating the highest risk of becoming a repeat offender.

 Life-Long Consequences for Registered Sex Offenders

Registration as a sex offender can have a major impact on a person’s life. Since the registry is available to the public, employers, neighbors, friends and family members all have the capacity to locate information on the Web site.

Employers may use the registry to deny an employment application. Certain types of jobs are unavailable to convicted sex offenders, including positions working with children, like teaching jobs. However, even if the job is not officially unavailable to a convicted sex offender, other employers may still deny an application based on the conviction.

Registration as a sex offender also can limit where a person can live. Many states have laws that forbid convicted sex offenders from living within a certain distance of elementary schools, playgrounds and other public facilities likely to be used by children. In other instances, landlords may not want a convicted sex offender living in their rental properties and may refuse to rent to them.

Additionally, a person convicted of a sex offense may find it difficult to gain acceptance into various advanced education programs. Universities, colleges and technical schools may run criminal background checks and/or ask about a potential student’s criminal history and may use the conviction as a reason to deny an application.

 How Can a Lawyer Help?

There is a crippling social stigma attached to the title of sex offender, no matter what offense you may have committed, how long ago it may have been or the circumstances of the offense. A conviction for a sex crime in any state will change your life forever. Do not make the mistake of taking the charges against you lightly or thinking they will simply go away and you will be free to move on with your life.

If you have been charged with a sex offense, you need to begin working with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to prepare your defense. The attorney can investigate the evidence against you and the conditions of your arrest and examine any other relevant information to your defense.

Article provided by David T. Schlendorf Law Offices
 Visit us at http://www.sex-crimes-dtslawfirm.com


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