Criminal sexual contact is one of the more common sex offenses you can encounter at the Essex County Superior Court in Newark NJ. Although it is perhaps the “lightest” in terms of felony sex crimes in New Jersey, criminal sexual contact is still a serious offense that carries potential state prison jail. This is the case despite the fact that the “sexual contact” prohibited under N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3 is a far cry from penetration and can encompass any sexual touching of someones intimate parts, even if they are clothed.
The defense attorneys and former prosecutors at the Law Offices of Marshall, Bonus, Proetta & Oliver have extensive experience handling criminal sexual contact cases from both sides, having even served as prosecutors in the county. Our familiarity with the Essex County court system, along with our years in practice gaining invaluable knowledge and skill, provides our firm with the tools necessary to effectively defend any criminal sexual contact charge. For assistance with a pending charge, contact the Law Offices of Marshall, Bonus, Proetta & Oliver at 973-710-1520.
Montclair NJ Criminal Sexual Contact Defense Lawyers
What Conduct Constitutes Criminal Sexual Contact Under N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3?
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3, criminal sexual contact requires multiple proofs in order to sustain a conviction in Essex County, New Jersey. Specifically, the Essex County Prosecutor must demonstrate that there was sexual contact (defined above) and one of the following circumstances:
a) Use of physical force or coercion;
b) Victim was on probation, parole, or detained in a prison or other institution and defendant had supervisory or disciplinary power over the victim by virtue of defendant’s legal, professional or occupational status;
c) Victim was at least sixteen (16) but less than eighteen (18) and defendant is either
i. Related to the victim,
ii. Had supervisory or disciplinary power over the victim, or
iii. Stands in loco parentis within the household (i.e. foster parent or guardian); or
d) Victim was less than sixteen (16) but older than thirteen (13) and defendant was at least four (4) years older than the victim.
For the purpose of sexual contact any type of touching of the victim or attempts to kiss the victim will suffice. Masturbation is not necessarily a sufficient form of sexual contact to warrant a conviction for criminal sexual contact. The actor, in addition to the masturbation, must violate the victim’s bodily integrity by some form of force or coercion beyond the self-touching. This conclusion was upheld in State v. Lee, where the court determined that an individual masturbating in front of another adult in an elevator was more appropriately charged as lewdness rather than criminal sexual contact.
To prove sexual contact, the state is required to show the offender intentionally touched the victim for the purpose of degrading, humiliating, or sexually arousing or gratifying themselves.
What are the Penalties for Criminal Sexual Contact in NJ?
Criminal sexual contact is a crime of the fourth degree. Defendants convicted of this crime will face up to eighteen (18) months in prison and a fine up to $10,000.00. In addition to this potential fine. the state will impose mandatory surcharges of $900.00 to various state funds and organizations.
Megans Law and Criminal Sexual Contact
If the victim is under the age of 18 at the time of the offense, you will be required to register as a sexual offender under Megan’s Law. See our Megan’s Law page (hyperlink) for more information on Megan’s Law requirements and restrictions as a registered sex offender in New Jersey.
Criminal Sexual Contact Lawyer in Cedar Grove NJ
As clearly demonstrated above, criminal sexual contact in Essex County, New Jersey, is a serious matter. If you or someone you love is facing charges for criminal sexual contact, aggravated criminal sexual contact, luring, possession of child pornography, sexual assault or endangering the welfare of a child the attorneys at the Law Offices of Marshall, Bonus, Proetta & Oliver are available to help. Remember, the initial consultation is always provided free of charge.