Statutory rape occurs when a person who is over the age of consent has intercourse with a person who is under the age of consent. In the state of New Jersey, the general age of consent is 16.
Unlike child molestation, statutory rape involves a sexual act that would not have been considered a crime if everyone involved had been at least 16 years old.
In New Jersey, statutory rape is actually charged as aggravated sexual assault under N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2, which is a felony. If convicted, you will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life. You will also be under parole supervision for the rest of your life.
Since statutory rape in New Jersey involves the doctrine of strict liability, you can be charged even if the person who was younger than the age of consent was willingly involved in the sexual act. You could also be charged if you did not know that the other person was younger than the age of consent.
If you are facing charges related to New Jersey’s age of consent law, contact my office to discuss your situation. I will evaluate your case, investigate your arrest, and help you structure a comprehensive defense. Call the Law Office of Eric M. Mark today at 973-453-2009 to speak with a criminal lawyer in Newark.
What Is the “Romeo & Juliet Law?”
There are certain situations when charging a person with statutory rape simply does not seem justified—for example, when a 17 year old has consensual sex with a 15-year-old partner. This is why the state of New Jersey has a close-in-age exemption, also called the “Romeo & Juliet Law.”
Under this law, a person who is younger than 16 but older than 13 can have consensual sex with another person as long as the older person is fewer than four years older than the younger. For instance, under this law, an 18 year old can have consensual sex with a 15 year old, but a 20 year old cannot have sex with a 15 year old even if the act is consensual.
Contact a Newark Criminal Lawyer to Discuss Your Case
Depending on the facts of your case, it may be possible to use extenuating circumstances in your defense and possibly to have the sentence or charges reduced. With the assistance of a criminal lawyer, it may even be possible to avoid having to register as a sex offender, and you might face probation rather than prison time.
If you are facing charges for aggravated sexual assault, contact my office to discuss potential defense strategies that apply to your case. Call 973-453-2009 today to schedule a consultation with a criminal defense attorney in Elizabeth. You can learn more about criminal defense strategies by visiting the USAttorneys website.