South Jersey’s Sexual Assault Defense Attorney
Defending and protecting your constitutional rights.
You’ve been arrested. You may be facing potentially life-altering consequences. With Ken Aita, you are in good hands.
If you have been accused of sex crimes in New Jersey, your first priority should be finding a criminal defense attorney. A conviction for sexual assault will ruin your life. To maintain your innocence and freedom when accused of sex crimes, you need to retain a lawyer who will proactively fight for you. Waiting until charges have been filed to seek legal representation is often too late.
Rape and sexual assault in New Jersey carry some of the harshest penalties of any crime imaginable. Even with a spotless record, a sex crime conviction means decades in prison, where the nature of the offense marks you as a public enemy even among fellow prisoners.
And upon release, you would be publicly branded a sex offender for the rest of your life, required to register with your local police department and living under observation from both law enforcement and various vigilante groups.
Defending Against Sexual Assault Allegations
If you have been accused of sexual assault or any other sex crime, the most important thing to remember is that you are innocent until proven guilty. Prosecutors have to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you committed a crime. If they cannot, you are not guilty. You do not need to prove that you are innocent.
Every criminal case is different. Quite often, police will end their investigation before charges are even pressed. Even if charges are pressed by a county prosecutor, there will be an opportunity to try to have charges dismissed. Other times, you may have to fight all the way through a trial. At each of these stages, a defense lawyer has an arsenal of legal tools to intercede on your behalf.
What Not to Do if Accused of Sexual Assault
If you have been accused of sexual assault, you need to act immediately to protect your innocence. It is vital to obtain legal counsel for advice specific to your case, but there are some pieces of general advice that anyone accused of sexual assault should follow:
Do not contact the alleged victim under any circumstances.
Do not speak to police or prosecutors without your attorney present.
Do not make any public statements, Facebook posts, or tweets about the allegations.
Avoid compromising situations or suspicious behavior.
Mistaken Identity and False Allegations
Many people make the mistake of assuming that since they are innocent, there is no need to worry—police will figure everything out. Think like that and you’ll soon be wearing prison orange.
Many sexual assaults happen at night. Many also happen at social gatherings where alcohol is present. These victims know that someone at a gathering assaulted them, but frequently misidentify their attacker. Police pressure to find a suspect can lead to biased lineups and mistaken identity.
False allegations of sexual assault are also unfortunately common in contested divorces and other situations where a jilted former spouse or lover is involved, either as a way to gain an advantage in a custody battle or simply as revenge.
By working with a defense attorney, you can fight these false allegations and protect both your reputation and freedom from a damaging sexual assault conviction.
Potential Penalties for Accused Sex Offenders
Aggravated Sexual Assault is a crime of the 1st Degree and one of the worst possible sex-crime charges in New Jersey. You could face 20 years in prison. Sexual assault charges are also covered by New Jersey’s No Early Release Act (NERA), so if convicted, you must serve at least 85% of your sentence.
Sexual Assault is a crime of the 2nd Degree. You could face up to ten years in prison.
Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact is a crime of the 3rd Degree and can carry up to 5 years in prison.
Lewdness is a crime of the 3rd Degree if witnessed by a minor under 13 years old, and can carry up to 5 years in prison.
Other Penalties for Convicted Sex Offenders
Besides the harsh prison sentences and the No Early Release Act, New Jersey adopted the Supervision for Life parole guidelines in 1994. NERA was part of the package of laws creating a state sex offender registry. If convicted, your name, face, address, and crimes will be publically available at the click of a mouse
Most sex crimes, including sexual assault and any criminal contact with a minor, will result in lifetime surveillance by the State Parole Board. The Parole Board maintains surveillance on the more than 5,000 paroled sex offenders (as of the latest public report) living in New Jersey. This includes polygraphs and regular contact with repeat or particularly heinous offenders.
Since 2007, the Parole Board has also used real-time GPS monitoring to keep track of those it considers high-risk or serial sex criminals. The Parole Board also frequently shares information with the FBI and State Police during sex crime investigations.
What does this mean for anyone facing sexual assault or similar charges in New Jersey? It means a conviction is effectively a life sentence. While other criminals may be considered rehabilitated after release or parole, convicted sex offenders will be monitored and tracked for life.
NJ Sexual Assault Allegations FAQ
What is the difference between sexual assault and rape?
New Jersey uses the term “sexual assault” to refer to all kinds of criminal activity involving sexual penetration. A sexual assault is any penetration activity where force or coercion is used, or where the victim cannot legally consent because they are underage, mentally or physically incapacitated, or heavily intoxicated. It is one of the legal terms for rape in New Jersey.
What is the difference between sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault in NJ?
Aggravated sexual assault includes the elements of sexual assault, but with an additional factor that makes the crime even more serious. Aggravating factors include, but are not limited to: the victim being a minor, an adopted or blood relative, the perpetrator is in a position of authority, the use of drugs to subdue the victim, or the use of a weapon to intimidate the victim.
What is “criminal sexual contact” in New Jersey?
Criminal sexual contact is another crime that might be considered a form of rape. It is the non-consensual touching of a victim’s sex organs, inner thigh, or buttocks for the purpose of humiliation or sexual gratification of the perpetrator. Unlike sexual assault, it does not require an act of penetration. Like sexual assault, violence or the age of the victim can create a crime of aggravated criminal sexual contact.
What is lewdness in New Jersey?
Lewdness is sexual activity or exposure of one’s sex organs in a public place, or where there is a reasonable expectation that a non-consenting individual would see it. Under normal circumstances, this is a disorderly person’s offense, though if done in front of minors or the disabled, lewdness is a 3rd- or 4th-degree indictable offense.
What is the age of consent in New Jersey?
The age of consent in New Jersey depends on the social relationship between sexual partners. The general age of consent is 16. Teenagers as young as 13 may consent to a sexual relationship, as long as their partner is at least 13 and no more than four years older than them. When a position of power exists, such as between teachers and students, employers, coaches, etc. the age of consent is 18. Absolutely no one younger than 13 can legally consent to sexual activity.
If Accused of Sexual Assault, You Need A Defense Lawyer
KENNETH D. AITA, ESQUIRE
Mr. Aita has successfully defended thousands of criminal cases. When you or a loved one is charged with a crime, it is an extremely daunting and frightening time. Criminal charges and convictions can have devastating effects on your life. You can be fired from your job, you can hurt your ability to get employment in the future, and most importantly could lose your precious freedom. Mr. Aita not only has the experience and expertise to represent you, but the compassion and understanding to help you through this difficult and confusing process. In a criminal case, everyone is against you; the police, the judge, and certainly the prosecutor, whose job is to get convictions. Mr. Aita is not only your skilled legal advocate, but is in your corner to protect you against the vast government resources that are against you. Make no mistake, fighting a criminal case is a war. You need an attorney willing to go to battle. Mr. Aita is in the trenches every single day tirelessly fighting for justice for his clients.
Mr. Aita is an expert in constitutional law. He has successfully argued numerous motions to suppress evidence based on a violation of constitutional rights. Mr. Aita successfully defended a client in the case of State v. Brown, 216 N.J. 508 (2014) https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=4426320586496151805&q=state+v.+brown&hl=en&as_sdt=4,31. This is now the leading case in the State outlining when the police may enter and search a home that they allege to be abandoned. This is only one example of a successfully argued and defended matter.