Newark Sexual Offense Criminal Defense Lawyer
A sexual offense conviction will have life-changing ramifications for you and anyone that knows you. At the Newark, New Jersey, Law Offices of Kevin Crawford Orr, we can provide you with the best defense.
Quality and Responsive Legal Services
Law Offices of Kevin Crawford Orr • (973) 824-5520
The consequences that you face if charged with a sexual offense are serious. Unlike other criminal charges, the consequences are far reaching.
We can help you with a variety of crimes:
- Offensive Touching - N.J.S.A. 2C:33-4(b)
- Lewdness - N.J.S.A. 2C:14-4
- Prostitution - N.J.S.A. 2C:34-1
- Sexual Contact - N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3
- Sexual Assault - N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2
- Statutory Rape - N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(c)(4)
- Invasion of Privacy - N.J.S.A. 2C:14-9
- Date Rape - N.J.S.A. 2C:25-19(d)
- Photographing Children - N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4
- Violating a Condition of Community Supervision for Life - N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6.4
- Failure to Register as a Sex Offender - N.J.S.A. 2C:7-2
New Jersey law authorizes the Division of State Police to make available to the public over the Internet information about certain sex offenders required to register under Megan's Law. The sex offender Internet registry law can be found in the New Jersey Code at 2C:7-12 to -19. Sex Offender Internet Search
Changes in New Jersey's Sexual Contact Laws
As as result of tireless efforts and hard work representing one of our many clients, New Jersey will be redefining criminal sexual contact statute.
The New Jersey Law Revision Commission issued a Report on June 11, 2012 proposing changes to the definition of criminal sexual contact. Although a bill was introduced to the New Jersey State Legislature on June 25, 2012, as A3152, it negatively impacts the present criminal sexual contact statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3(b).
The elimination of section (c)(1) (i.e., the force and coercion element) in the sexual assualt statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2, is a good idea, as it brings the rape statute into conformity with existing case law, namely State in Interest of M.T.S., 129 N.J. 422 (1992). M.T.S. involved a rape case, in which the New Jersey Supreme Court defined "force or coercion" in N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(c)(1) as being equivalent to an absence of affirmative and freely voluntary consent to engage in the sexual act of penetration. Practically speaking, the New Jersey Supreme Court rewrote the statute to eliminate “force or coercion” and to instead require the absence of affirmative and freely voluntary consent.
The concern is that elimination of the “force or coercion” element in N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(c)(1) negatively impacts the criminal offense of “criminal sexual contact,” N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3(b), which itself cross-references the definition in N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(c)(1). The tentative report of the New Jersey Law Revision Commission (dated September 24, 2012) discusses a proposal to eliminate the force and coercion element in both statutes. Such a revision is inappropriate. The criminal sexual contact statute should be rewritten as a standalone statute, and it should retain “force or coercion” as an element of the offense.
The proposed New Jersey Law Revision Commission revision criminalizes all sexual contacts, which is something the Legislature never intended. See New Jersey Criminal Law Revision Commission, The New Jersey Penal Code, Vol. II: Commentary, § 2C:14-4, 200 (1971) (“Vol. II”); See also New Jersey Criminal Law Revision Commission, The New Jersey Penal Code, Vol. I: Report and Penal Code, § 2C:14-4 (Sexual Assault), at 62-63 (1971) (“Vol. I”); Cannel, New Jersey Criminal Code Annotated, Source History for N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3 (2009)(The criminal sexual contact statute was a “new” statute under the Code). The drafters of the Code stated that they did not intend to criminalize all “sexual advances” (i.e., sexual contacts), including sexual contacts occurring in the absence of affirmative and freely-given permission by the other person. When the criminal code was first adopted, some but not all "sexual contacts" were criminalized under a newly created section, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3. The new section criminalized two classes of sexual contacts by cross referencing certain circumstances more specifically defined under the related "sexual assault" section, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2. Third degree Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contacts, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3(a), were limited to those occurring under the circumstances in NJSA 2C:14-2(a)(2) through (7), and fourth degree criminal sexual contacts, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3(b), were limited to those occurring under the circumstances in NJSA 2C:14-2(c)(1) through (4).
In the context of “criminal” sexual contacts, the original code drafter’s objective was to avoid “too strict a standard of criminality, considering the frequency with which tentative sexual advances are made without explicit assurance of consent.” Vol. II, Comment 3 to §2C:14-4, Page 200 (emphasis added). The intent was to shift the focus from the actor’s knowledge of whether the sexual contact was welcomed by the other person (i.e., with consent) to a more workable definition that focuses on the consequence of the sexual contact upon the other person. See N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3(a) and 2C:14-2(a)(6) (victim sustains “severe personal injury”) and N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3(b) and 2C:14- 2(c)(1) (victim does not sustain “severe personal injury”). In the context of a touch, it is difficult to avoid discussion of Sir Isaac Newton’s third law of motion. That law is often simplified into the sentence, "To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." Using such a basic law of physics, the inescapable conclusion is that “the action” of a touch by an actor has an inherent amount of force associated with it. If no force is used, there can be no reaction. Because we are dealing with a human victim, the only viable measurement of “the reaction” must focus on the degree of feeling or injury sustained as a result of the force applied. Also, because force is inherent in the touch (i.e., sexual contact), the only quantifiable variable capable of use to distinguish between degrees of seriousness is whether injury occurs as a result of the applied force. Evidently aware of this, the legislature focused on the reaction (i.e., degree of injury) in criminalizing two different classes of sexual contacts resulting from an actor’s use of force or coercion. If the victim sustains “severe personal injury” as a result of the actor’s use of force or coercion, the crime is of the third degree. N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3(a) and 2C:14-2(a)(6). On the other hand if the personal injury is not severe, the crime is of the fourth degree. N.J.S.A. 2C:14- 3(b) and 2C:14-2(c)(1).
During the lengthy oral argument in the Triestman case, which involved an unwanted sexual advance in the workplace, one of the Appellate Judges expressed concern with applying the M.T.S. definition of “force or coercion” (i.e., the absence of affirmative and freely voluntary consent) to all types of touches. The specific question was whether a touch of an intimate part (e.g., a breast), which occurs in a movie theater by an actor on a date that wraps his arm around the date and makes contact, should be criminalized? Another reasonable question is whether the touch of another’s buttocks in a crowded elevator or rush hour PATH train should be criminalized? The Triestman Court, bound by the precedent of M.T.S., had little choice but to follow the judicially created definition in the context of sexual contacts. The legislature must not allow criminalization of all sexual contacts, including tentative sexual advances made without explicit assurance of consent.
A major concern is that under the proposed revisions, juveniles and young adults of high school and college age (i.e., the group most likely to make tentative sexual advances made without explicit assurance of consent ) reasonably testing the bounds of sexuality will face serious criminal charges. We, as a society, should avoid too strict a standard of criminality. The concern is made all the more serious by the amendments (effective February 1, 2013) to the DNA Database and Databank Act of 1994, N.J.S.A. 53:1-20.20, which requires arrestees, both juveniles and adults alike, charged with criminal sexual contact, to submit DNA samples. Although expungement of DNA records from the State Database is authorized under N.J.S.A. 53:1-20.25, no provision is made for automatic removal from the federal database, CODIS.
Other concerns are more legal in nature. In that regard, elimination of the "force or coercion" requirement of "criminal sexual contact" does not solve the disharmony that exists between harassment, assault, and criminal sexual contact. Also, by eliminating "force or coercion" the offense of lewdness, wherein an actor commits sexual contact with himself without using force or coercion upon the victim, is rendered meaningless. State v. Lee, 417 N.J.Super. 219 (App. Div. 2010) certif. denied 206 N.J. 64 (2011).
The consequences of a sex crime conviction can change your life forever. At the Essex County Law Offices of Kevin Crawford Orr, we can help. Contact us today for more information.