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Passaic County Sex Crimes Defense Attorneys
If you’ve been charged with a sex offense in Paterson, Passaic, Wayne, Totowa, Little Falls, West Milford, Bloomingdale, or other municipality in Passaic County, you face not only potential jail time but also being labeled as a sex offender, with lifelong community registration and supervision requirements. The public stigma of such a conviction can limit or prohibit your access to college loans and scholarships, employment, housing, and other opportunities.
The Passaic County criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall have successfully represented individuals facing charges of sexual assault, lewdness, prostitution and other sex crimes. Our firm has a lengthy presence in New Jersey’s courtrooms, with lawyers who previously worked as both defense attorneys and prosecutors.
Our legal team also draws upon 100 combined years of experience, with the resources and skills to understand what’s required to prove certain criminal offenses, how to unravel a prosecution’s weak case, and how to negotiate lesser charges, lighter sentences, and other plea agreements that best serve our clients and the interests of justice.
Call our Wayne office today for a free initial legal consultation — or fill out our online form to arrange a meeting with one of our experienced Passaic County sex crime attorneys. We’ll be glad to answer any questions you have at no further obligation.
How Our Attorneys Fight for Your Rights when Facing a Sex Offense
A sex offense or sex crime is any form of unwelcome, unwanted, or coercive sexual behavior. This includes touching another person or exposing another person to sexual acts or depictions of sexual acts. Sex crimes range from inappropriate touching or penetration with a victim who is unable to consent to sexual stalking over the Internet.
At the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our seasoned Passaic County criminal defense attorneys have handled a vast array of sex offenses, including:
Despite the stigma associated with sex crimes, we believe that all defendants deserve a vigorous legal defense and the opportunity to avail themselves of the most favorable outcome the law allows. The sooner we become involved in your case, the better we can ensure that the courts uphold your rights while working on your defense.
Contact us now, so that our Passaic County defense team can:
- Petition for your release, if you are being held, at the lowest possible bail or request that you be released on your own recognizance
- Begin an independent investigation into the charges against you, including examining any evidence used to indict you and arguing to exclude any disputable evidence from future proceedings
- Track down any proof of fault or misconduct during your arrest or the prosecution’s case, such as:
- Any bias (profiling) based on race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, religion, age, or gender
- False witness testimony
- Mistaken identity or a faulty identification in a lineup of suspects
- Fabricated or faulty evidence
- Improper forensic testing (of a rape kit or other DNA evidence)
- Illegal search and seizure
- Illegal arrest
- Seek witnesses who will testify on your behalf
- Examine and question statements from the prosecution’s witnesses, including the alleged victim
How Can Someone Claim Lack of Consent in a Passaic County Sex Crime Case?
Many sex crime charges are based on moments where only two people can say what really happened. Consent is often the question at the core of these cases. A defendant may admit to the sex act but claim that the accuser consented.
However, New Jersey law states that there are certain instances where a person is legally unable to consent. Specifically, that’s a person who:
- Is younger than 13 years old
- Is at least 13 but not yet 16 years old (in cases where the accused is at least four years older than the alleged victim)
- Is at least 16 but less than 18 years old, and
- Is related to the accused by blood or affinity to the third degree (adopted or related by marriage, for example, such as a step-parent, stepchild, or step-sibling)
- The accused has supervisory or disciplinary power over the alleged victim by virtue of legal, professional or occupational status
- The accused is a guardian, a resource family parent, or stands in loco parentis within the household
- Has a diminished mental capacity, or whom the defendant knew or should have known was mentally incapacitated, physically helpless, or had a mental disease or defect that rendered the victim permanently or temporarily incapable of understanding the nature of the sexual conduct, including but not limited to being incapable of providing consent. This includes someone who has a developmental disability or who was drunk, high, drugged, or unconscious.
Sex Crime Penalties in Passaic County, New Jersey
Like other criminal offenses, sex crimes in Passaic County fall into different degrees. Aggravated sexual assault, or rape, is a first-degree offense because it may involve a weapon or a forced sex act during another crime, such as a kidnapping. The penalty for sexual assault, or rape, without a weapon depends on the victim’s age and the nature of the crime, but generally, this is considered a second-degree offense.
- A first-degree offense can result in 10 to 20 years in a New Jersey state prison and a fine up to $200,000.
- A second-degree offense can result in 5 to 10 years in a state prison a fine up to $150,000.
- A third-degree offense can result in 3 to 5 years in a state prison and a fine up to $15,000.
- A fourth-degree offense can result in up to 18 months in prison a fine up to $10,000.
Toward the other end of the scale, lewdness such as exposing one’s genitals for purpose of arousal is a disorderly persons offense. Disorderly persons offenses, which may be called misdemeanors in other parts of the country, can be punishable by up to six months in a county jail and a fine up to $1,000.
However, even these degrees of charges can escalate. A person accused of lewdness may be charged as a fourth-degree offense if he or she is accused of exposing themselves to someone younger than 13 and is at least four years older than this child, for instance.
Depending on the circumstances, a conviction also may result in a restraining order or other restriction.
More commonly, some sex crime convictions require people to register with the state under Megan’s Law and be identified to the public as a sex offender.
Sex Offender Registration in Passaic County
Registering as a sex offender in Passaic County requires a convicted individual to contact local law enforcement and provide their name, physical description, and photograph; home address; a description of their vehicle and license plate number; a brief description of their crime; and their place of school or employment, if applicable.
Megan’s Law typically requires sex offender registration if a person is convicted of one of the following crimes:
- Sexual Assault
- Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact
- Statutory Rape
- Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Sexual Contact with a Minor)
- Luring or Enticing a Minor
- Child Pornography
- Criminal Sexual Contact (with a minor)
- Criminal Restraint (of a minor and you are not a parent)
- False Imprisonment (of a minor and you are not a parent)
- Kidnapping (of a minor and you are not a parent)
The Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office assigns each sex offender to a tier based on their level of risk and other qualities. The offender’s tier determines whether their name is included on a public registry and other publicity, such as notifying schools and other organizations near their home or place of business of their status.
A person can appeal their classification if the prosecutor’s office has rated them improperly, provided they have a skilled Passaic County defense attorney on their side. Megan’s Law also allows for the potential removal from registration after 15 years, provided the registrant has met certain criteria.
Contact Our Passaic County Sex Crime Defense Lawyers Today
If you have been arrested for a Passaic County sex crime, exercise your legal right to remain silent and contact our seasoned criminal defense attorneys as soon as you can. Although sex crime cases can involve forensic evidence, there are times when these cases come down to one person’s word against another’s, leaving our team room to negotiate on dismissing these charges or demonstrating how justice may be better served by a reduced charge or lesser sentence.
Contact the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall now for a free initial legal consultation, or visit our Wayne office at 73 Mountainview Blvd. You also can call us to discuss your situation and understand your legal options.