NJ Sex Crimes
Defense Lawyers

How Serious Are Criminal Sexual Assault Charges In New Jersey?

Criminal Sexual Assault charges are among the most serious criminal charges that a defendant can ever face in New Jersey. 

These criminal charges are always graded as either First or Second degree crimes

If a defendant pleads guilty or is found guilty of either a First or Second degree crime, he or she will be sentenced anywhere from 5 to 10 years and depending on the number of counts, may even be sentenced to multiple decades of incarceration.

If you are charged with either sexual assault or even worse, aggravated sexual assault, stop reading this now and call us immediately. 

When you are charged with a Sex Offense, inevitably your world comes crashing down.  These criminal charges are without a doubt, painfully humiliating and demoralizing.  If you are a person charged with lewdness in New Jersey, you may be extremely embarrassed. You may face serious consequences affecting your life, including your job, social life, and relationships with friends and family.

A lewdness conviction is devastating because it stays on your criminal record.  

These convictions are expensive and may potentially incarcerate you for a period of time. Ask yourself how you would feel if you had to explain a lewdness conviction to someone you cared about. How would your spouse, child, employer, or employee think about you if they learned that you were convicted of lewdness? These are the types of cases that you must fight for obvious reasons. A criminal conviction for lewdness can haunt you for a long time. A lewdness conviction can have the danger of ruining one’s chances of obtaining a good job, or other respectable position in society.

Lewdness charges present special problems. Defendants charged with lewdness are often labeled as sexual deviants or perverts because they were literally caught with their pants down. Many couples who go “overboard” with their Public Displays of Affection (PDAs) are also arrested and charged with lewdness. The facts in these cases must thoroughly be examined and challenged. At our firm, we often take these matters to trial. There is too much at stake for our clients to be found guilty or plead guilty to these types of crimes.

Unfortunately, many of our clients charged with lewdness in New Jersey were extremely intoxicated when they engaged in sexual acts. Although they engaged in sexual activity with their consenting partner, they did it in public. 

Had they been sober, they never would have done what they did. Other clients were also under the influence of alcohol when they were charged with lewdness for urinating in public. You expose yourself when you urinate in public right?

The examples of lewd acts are too many to list. 

Examples of a lewd act could be any of the following:

  • Sexual acts in a public bathroom; or
  • Touching of male or female genitalia in public; or
  • Sexual acts in a car; or
  • Sexual acts in parks or places of public access; or
  • Sexual acts on a beach; or
  • Exposing oneself in public; or
  • heavy and inappropriate petting in a public are.

Most lewdness charges are a Disorderly Persons (misdemeanor) offense and they are tried in the New Jersey Municipal Courts.
However, a lewdness charge can be raised from a Disorderly Persons offense to a Third Degree crime when a person knows or reasonably expects to be observed by a child under the age of thirteen. A lewd act will result in a Fourth Degree charge where the observer suffers from a mental disease or disability.

If a lewdness charge is filed as an indictable offense then the case will be prosecuted in the New Jersey Superior Court. A third degree lewdness charges carries a prison term of 18 months to 5 years, and a fourth degree lewdness charges carries a prison term of up to 18 months.



Is It A Minor Offense Or A Serious Criminal Charge?

Crimes that involved sexual activities or are sex-related are considered “Sex Offenses.”

The list includes aggravated sexual assault, solicitation, lewd conduct, prostitution and pimping.

Any accusation of a sex crime, even a false accusation, can greatly impact your life.

If you have been falsely accused of a sex crime, it is vital that you have legal representation and keep your record clean.


Under New Jersey law, “Prostitution” (N.J.S.A. 2C:34-1a(1) is defined as:

Sexual activity with another person in exchange for something of economic value.

Sexual activity is very loosely defined. It can be virtually anything.

Prostitution charges in New Jersey become very serious charges depending on the age of the actors involved. If the actors involved are under 18 years of age, or if the actor knowingly promotes prostitution of his/her own child, ward, or any other person for whose care the actor is responsible, the crime is charged in the Second Degree. 

If you are reading this and have been charged with Second Degree Prostitution in New Jersey, 

Prostitution is charged as a Third degree crime in New Jersey if

  1. the actor promotes the prostitution of their spouse or
  2. if the actor engages in prostitution with a person under the age of 18 or
  3. enters or remains in house of prostitution for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity with a minor.

Again, if you are facing prostitution charges in New Jersey, call us immediately.

In more common scenarios, when two adults engage in an act of prostitution, he or she will be charged with a Disorderly Persons offense in New Jersey. However, if the illegal act of prostitution occurred in a car, there are serious consequences such as a six-month loss of a driver’s license privilege. If the actor has been charged on multiple occasions with prostitution, the offense rises to a Fourth degree charge. Most importantly, affirmative defenses are available to victims of human trafficking.

For more on U.S. Government Entities Combating Human Trafficking, click here.

Immigration Consequences Of A Prostitution Charge

In the Immigration context, Prostitution is a Crime Involving Moral Turpitude. Crimes involving moral turpitude serve as the underlying offense to which a Non-U.S. Citizen may be deported. A Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), may be deported or placed in Removal Proceedings if they have been convicted of a Prostitution charge. Call our firm immediately. We have experience representing clients with Immigration-sensitive matters. If you are charged with Prostitution in New Jersey, you may find yourself in an Immigration Detention Center waiting to be deported. 

Loitering For Purposes Of Engaging In Prostitution

This criminal charge is by far the most prevalent out of all of the “Prostitution-Related” charges under New Jersey law.

Under N.J.S.A. 2C:34-1.1, it is a Disorderly Persons offense to “wander, remain, or prowl” in a public place for the purpose of engaging in prostitution for the purpose of promoting prostitution. 

This type of conduct is usually defined or characterized by “repeatedly attempting to stop pedestrians or motorists with the clear intention of either seeking or selling sexual services.

Although these types of crimes are handled in Municipal Court, a criminal conviction for Loitering can seriously impair your ability to obtain employment. Not only is it embarrassing and damaging to your reputation, but these types of “sex-crime” convictions will prevent you from pursuing advanced educational degrees and licenses such as nursing.

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