Morris County NJ Juvenile Sexual Assault Lawyer
Sex Crimes Defense Attorney with Offices in Denville and Totowa NJ
Sexual assault is often associated with the term “rape.” In fact, the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention refers to these offenses as “rape,” citing that 3,300 juveniles in the U.S. were arrested for rape in 2014. In addition, the most recent data shows that 9,400 juveniles were arrested for sex offenses other than forcible rape and prostitution in the same year. In recent years, rape on college campuses has become a serious hot-button issue, but by their very nature, all cases of alleged sexual assault are emotionally-charged. Unfortunately, a mere allegation of rape has the potential to utterly destroy the life of the accused. This is true for juveniles and criminal defendants in all age groups. More often than not, sexual assault cases are far more complex than they appear, requiring an investigative eye and a person willing to listen. When you or your child are accused of sexual assault, finding an aggressive legal advocate who can protect and defend you is essential.
Alissa Hascup is a highly acclaimed criminal defense attorney who vigorously defends juveniles, young adults, and juveniles charged as adults in New Jersey. During her career, she served as an Assistant County Prosecutor in Morris County, where she prosecuted sex crimes such as aggravated sexual assault and other criminal offenses. This experience provided her with invaluable insight into way prosecutors formulate their cases, which she now uses to develop the most effective defenses for her clients. Her immense knowledge and unwavering dedication to protecting those she represents has allowed Alissa to obtain positive results for her clients in courts across New Jersey, from Essex to Bergen, and Passaic to Middlesex counties. She regularly advocates for students at universities like Montclair State, William Paterson, Rutgers, and Fairleigh Dickinson, as well as juveniles and other young adults. To discuss your case with Ms. Hascup, contact her offices today at 862-257-1200 for a cost-free consultation.
Juvenile and Student Sexual Assault in New Jersey
Sexual assault is among the egregious criminal violations in New Jersey, the details of which are outlined in section N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2 of the State s criminal code. Sexual assault can occur under a variety of circumstances. First and foremost, any act of sexual contact may be considered sexual assault if it occurs with a person who is less than 13 years old, as long as the as the actor is at least 4 years older than the victim. In New Jersey, “sexual contact” can refer to “any intentional touching by the victim or actor, either directly or through clothing, of the victim s or actor s intimate parts for the purpose of degrading or humiliating the victim or sexually arousing or sexually gratifying the actor. Sexual contact of the actor with himself must be in view of the victim whom the actor knows to be present.”
Additionally, sexual assault charges apply when sexual penetration occurs and:
- The actor uses physical force or coercion, but the victim does not sustain severe personal injury;
- The victim is on probation or parole, or is detained in a hospital, prison or other institution and the actor has supervisory or disciplinary power over the victim by virtue of the actor s legal, professional or occupational status;
- The victim is at least 16 but less than 18 years old and:
- The actor is related to the victim by blood or affinity to the third degree; or
- The actor has supervisory or disciplinary power of any nature or in any capacity over the victim; or
- The actor is a resource family parent, a guardian, or stands in loco parentis within the household;
- The victim is at least 13 but less than 16 years old and the actor is at least four years older than the victim.
Note that a person can be charged with sexual assault if he or she is 17 and has intercourse with a person who is 13. Regardless of whether or not the two individuals involved “consent,” the 13-year-old cannot legally consent under New Jersey law. This is often referred to as “statutory rape.”
Juvenile Charges for Sexual Assault in New Jersey
If you are charged with sexual assault as a juvenile in New Jersey, your case will likely be adjudicated within the juvenile justice system. This means that you will be required to appear in the Family Division of the Superior Court in the county in which you currently reside. In other words, if you are accused of sexual assault in Hackensack, but you live in Newark, you will appear in the Family Division of the Essex County Superior Court. You are required to have an attorney during these proceedings and your case will be decided by a single Family Court judge.
If you are found guilty of sexual assault, you are technically adjudicated delinquent, which is similar to a criminal conviction for an adult. Sexual assault is a second degree crime in New Jersey, which means you may be sentenced to serve up to 3 years in a juvenile detention center. Moreover, juveniles convicted of sexual assault are required to register as sex offenders under New Jersey’s Megan’s Law. If the juvenile committed sexual assault prior to turning 14, he or she can apply to be removed from Megan’s Law registry when over the age of 18. If the juvenile was 14 or older at the time of the offense, they can apply for Megan’s Law removal after 15 years if: they committed a single offense, did not commit another in the last 15 years, and do not pose a threat to the public safety.
Sexual Assault Charges for Adults and Juveniles Charged as Adults in NJ
If you are 18 or older, or you are a juvenile charged as an adult with sexual assault in New Jersey, you will be required to appear in the Superior Court in the county where the alleged offense occurred. The prosecutor’s office may file a motion to have a juvenile case waived to adult court if the juvenile has committed previous offenses, if the crime if particularly egregious, or if the juvenile is nearing the age of 18. For adults and juveniles charged as adults, sexual assault is an indictable crime, which means the case must be indicted by a grand jury and if it proceeds to trial, will be decided by a jury.
As mentioned above, sexual assault is a second degree crime in New Jersey; however, the potential penalties for adults are much more severe than those for juveniles. Specifically, a conviction for sexual assault may result in a sentence to serve between 5 and 10 years in New Jersey State Prison, in addition to registration as a sex offender and life-long community supervision.
Contact a Totowa NJ Student Sexual Assault Attorney Today
If you are a juvenile, young adult, or juvenile charged as an adult with sexual assault in New Jersey, the repercussions of an accusation of this kind can be extremely damaging to your reputation and your future. Contact Alissa Hascup to discuss your case and find the answers you need to protect yourself. With centralized offices conveniently located in Denville and Totowa, we defend clients in courts across the state. Simply call 862-257-1200 today.