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A Short Guide To Sexually Motivated Crimes And Sentencing

sexual assault lawyer cherry hill njOverview of Sex Crimes and Their Consequences in New Jersey

American law has evolved significantly over the past century in regards to defining and creating legislation for sex-based crimes. The potential punishment for the defendant varies depending on the state and the type of crime they are charged with, but all sexually motivated crimes are serious charges and should not be taken lightly. Here is a short run-down of common sex crimes and their consequences.


Rape is considered the most serious form of sex crime in every state. Each jurisdiction may define or categorize this type of sexual assault in different ways, but in all instances, rape includes unwanted or non-consensual sexual contact with another person. A number of charges fall under this umbrella including date rape and spousal rape. States may use the term sexual assault instead of rape and have different degrees for charging individuals depending on the circumstances. For instance, aggravated sexual assault involves unwanted sexual contact combined with physical violence. Such factors will make a difference in how the crime is charged and what the ultimate sentence will be.

Statutory Rape & Crimes Against Children

Laws for sexual crimes against minors often see an overlap between statutory rape and child molestation/sexual assault of a child. Broadly, any contact with a person under the legal age of consent (which differs from state to state) is considered a crime. Minors simply do not possess the legal capacity to consent to sexual conduct. Punishment for child sexual abuse varies based on the age of the child, the relationship between the two parties, and the age of the accused. There are some states that have exceptions for adolescent sexual relationships (think teenagers) that either reduces or eliminates punishment, sometimes called Romeo & Juliet laws. Another group that cannot give consent are the mentally handicapped, therefore sexual contact with a person legally determined to be mentally incapacitated are protected by very similar laws.

Other Sex Crimes

The advance of technology has brought a nasty side effect: the exploitation of vulnerable people. In response, new laws are now in place to protect these groups. Possessing or sending child pornography is a federal crime with severe consequences, and states are now having to pass legislation to criminalize the unlawful distribution of nude or sexual photos, sometimes known as revenge porn.

Consequences of Sex Crimes in New Jersey

The most obvious punishment for the convicted is prison time, which varies based on the level of crime and the jurisdiction. The conviction then goes on a person’s official criminal record, which can be nearly impossible to expunge. And even when someone has served their time, they are often required to provide their information for a sexual offender database in their state and locality. Being branded a sex offender usually limits a person’s right to travel, live, and work where they please, sometimes for life. Because a sex-based conviction can impact someone’s life in such a huge way, it’s incredibly important that anyone accused of such a crime contact a criminal defense attorney to protect their rights.

Contact A Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Sexual Assault Charges Today!

Were you arrested or charged with sexual assault or another sex-based crime in New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. David Gelman, Esq. has successfully represented clients throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. Call us at 856-861-4236 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. Our office is conveniently located at 1940 Rt 70 East, Suite 4, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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