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What constitutes sexual assault in New Jersey?

Sexual assault in New Jersey is considered a crime of the second degree. An act of sexual assault does not necessarily require physical force, but it can also include sexual acts when the person committing the act has power over the other or sexual acts with individuals who are underage.

If a person engages in intercourse with someone under 16 years of age and is at least four years older than the victim, they may be considered guilty of sexual assault. Likewise, engaging in sexual activity with someone under 18 years of age who is a blood relative could also be considered assault. Someone could also face assault charges for engaging in sexual activity with someone they have power over as a supervisor or a family guardian.

Charges may be increased to first degree if someone is found guilty of aggravated sexual assault. This can take place if the victim is under 13 years of age, is under 16 years old and is a relative or someone the individual has power over as a guardian or supervisor or is someone the individual should have known was physically helpless or mentally incapacitated. If the act is committed during the commission of another crime such as robbery or kidnapping, or if the individual was armed, it could also be considered aggravated assault.

Someone who has been charged with sexual assault or other sex crimes may wish to seek the assistance of a criminal defense lawyer. A lawyer may be able to help form a defense against the charges or negotiate for lighter sentencing.

Source: Womenslaw.org , "Chapter 14. Sexual Offenses", October 02, 2014

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