The consequences of a conviction for a sex crime can last far beyond when your probation sentence ends or you are released from jail. The law in its current form intentionally enables the stigma of a sex crime conviction follow the person around for life. While New Jersey’s laws are certainly not as draconian as they were in the days when, for example, sexual relationships between consenting adults of the same sex were criminalized under sodomy laws, the punishments can still be harsh even for sex-related crimes where no minors, violence, or non-consensual sex acts were even involved.
Police may try to scare you into thinking that your life is ruined just because you offered by text message to pay another adult for sexual favors, but defendants in sex crimes cases have the same rights as defendants in any other kind of criminal case. One of those rights is the right to legal representation by an attorney. The Essex County sex crimes defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall focus exclusively on this mission; the only cases we take on are criminal defense and DWI, so you never have to worry that your lawyer is unprepared to provide you with the defense you deserve.
The only thing we care about is justice in criminal cases, and we have represented the prosecution and the defense in criminal cases in Essex County and several of its towns. If you add up the experience of all 11 attorneys at our firm, it adds up to more than 200 years. The Essex County sex crimes defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall are certified criminal trial lawyers, and we will spare no effort in helping you exercise your right to due process, proving your innocence when possible, and avoiding excessive punishments.
Sexual Assault Attorneys in Essex County NJ
Title 14 of the New Jersey Criminal Code is captioned Sex Offenses. This section of the code is not, however, the only place where NJ sex crimes can be found. The following is a comprehensive list of all sexually based criminal offenses set forth under New Jersey law with links to a detailed discussion regarding each violation:
- Aggravated Sexual Assault
- Sexual Assault
- Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact
- Criminal Sexual Contact
- Invasion of Privacy
- Endangering the Welfare of a Child
- Possession or Distribution of Child Pornography
- Prostitution (e.g. Promoting, Soliciting, etc.)
What is the New Jersey Sex Offender Registry?
People who are convicted of the following sex-related crimes in New Jersey must register with the New Jersey sex offender registry:
- Sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault
- Aggravated criminal sexual conduct
- Criminal sexual conduct when the victim is a minor
- Sexual exploitation of minors, including forcing minors to engage in sex work and creating photographs or videos of the sexual abuse of minors
- Kidnapping or false imprisonment of minors
Registering as a sex offender means keeping your local police department updated with accurate information about your residential address and your place of employment. If you were convicted of a qualifying sex crime in juvenile court, you are still required to register. Likewise, if you registered as a sex offender in another state following your conviction there, you must register on the New Jersey sex offender registry no later than 10 days after you move to New Jersey.
The good news is that, except in the most serious of cases, you will one day be eligible to apply for your name to be removed from the sex offender registry, but you may have to stay on it for five years or more. The ideal solution would be not to have your name listed on the sex offender registry in the first place. The best way to accomplish this is to hire the Essex County sex crimes defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, who can help you get your charges dropped or reduced or argue for your innocence at trial.
Internet Sex Crimes
Not all sex crimes involve physical contact; there are some situations in which you can be charged with a sex crime simply for online communications. For example, you could get into legal trouble for sexually harassing someone online or for sharing sexually explicit images of someone without their consent. Likewise, possession of sexually explicit material depicting a person below the age of consent is also illegal, even if you are not the one who created the image and have never met the victim in person. The Essex County sex crimes defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall can stand up for your rights as a defendant even if the prosecution is unfairly vilifying you.
Possession of Child Exploitative Material
The law takes a zero-tolerance attitude toward the creation, distribution, and possession of pornographic images and videos that show the sexual abuse of minors. You can face criminal charges even if there is only one image on your computer showing a person below the age of consent nude or in a sexual situation. If you get convicted of possession of child exploitative content, you could be barred from working in a profession where you have contact with children, and the court might even limit your opportunities to interact with your own children, such as by ordering supervised visitation instead of unsupervised parenting time.
A federal law known as the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act of 2018 also sets forth guidelines for paying restitution to child sexual abuse victims. It is based on the premise that anyone who purchases or views an image of sexual abuse of a child continues to add to the harm caused to the victim. The law is named after three children whose abuse was depicted in widely distributed images; specifically, it is named after the pseudonyms by which the courts identified the victims in the cases against their abusers. The court might order you to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to the victim who was exploited and photographed against their will when they were a child, even if decades have passed since the image was made.
Sex Work and Solicitation of Sex Workers
Society’s attitudes toward cannabis consumption being something that adults have the right to choose to do have undergone a sea change during our lifetime, but the same cannot be said for sex work. Some states have relaxed their laws against sex work, and Nevada even has a legally regulated sex work industry, but New Jersey still takes a hard stance against exchanging sex for money. It takes the attitude that paying for sex is an essentially exploitative activity. The following actions are still illegal in New Jersey:
- Prostitution- engaging in sex acts in exchange for money
- Solicitation – paying or offering to pay someone to engage in sexual activities with you
- Pandering – accepting payment for arranging a meeting in which someone exchanges sex for money
If you are accused of any of these offenses, the Essex County sex crimes defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall will represent you and stand up for your rights.
Sexual Assault and Aggravated Sexual Assault in Essex County
By far the most serious sex crimes charges are those involving physical violence and non-consensual sex. People convicted of sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault often stay on the sex offender registry for life, and this is after serving a long sentence in prison. When the public hears the terms ‘rape’ and ‘sexual assault,’ they usually think of physical coercion or the threat of physical violence, but you can still be convicted of sexual assault even if you did not hold the victim at knifepoint or physically overpower a victim who tried desperately to fight you off and escape. According to New Jersey law, sexual activity is considered non-consensual if the victim is below the legal age of consent, even if the teen victim verbally agreed to engage in the behavior. Adults with certain types of intellectual disabilities are also considered legally unable to give consent to sexual activity. Likewise, a sexual act is considered non-consensual if a victim of any age could not meaningfully consent because they were asleep, unconscious, or too intoxicated by alcohol or drugs to understand their actions and give meaningful consent.
Essex County, New Jersey Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer
Sexuality is a normal part of human existence, and the law does not seek to restrict people’s sexual behavior except to prevent harm to others. The consequences are severe for causing physical and emotional harm to an adult or child through exploitative or non-consensual sex acts. The law takes into account the severity of the harm, though, and while a criminal charge for lewdness (for example, public nudity) is not the same as one for sexual assault, and it will not cause you to spend years in prison and then register as a sex offender for life.
The stigma attached to certain types of sexual activity is real, and even if the court of public opinion has found you guilty, the law gives you a right to the presumption of innocence and to a fair trial. No matter what you are accused of doing, you are not a sex offender until you are proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt or until you enter a guilty plea. The Essex County sex crimes defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall will help you exercise your rights at every stage of the process, even if you have already been convicted or are already registered as a sex offender. Contact the Essex County defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall in Newark or Bloomfield to discuss your sex crimes defense case.