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What To Do If Your Child is Charged With A Sex Crime

juvenile sex crime

As a parent, it is terrifying to think of your child becoming a registered sex offender. When juveniles engage in sexual misconduct they become at risk of being convicted of a felony, which requires them to register on the sex offender list under Megan’s Law. Based on the severity of the conviction, there are a few possible outcomes. 

The Penalties for a Sexual Assault Conviction

Like any other type of indictable offense, sex crimes are divided into degrees, where the lower the degree, the more serious the crime and its associated penalties. In New Jersey, sexual assault is a second-degree crime according to statute, § 2C:14-2. In the worst case scenario, second-degree penalties include up to 10 years in prison and fines up to $150,000. Aggravated sexual assault is a more serious crime that usually includes a severe physical injury to the victim. This offense is a first-degree crime meaning it has penalties including up to 20 years in prison and $200,000 in fines. 

Megan’s Law and the New Jersey Sex Offender Registry 

Megan’s law is the common name for laws requiring information about registered sex offenders to be made available to the general public. Sex offender registration is required for adults and juveniles who are convicted of: 

  • Sexual assault
  • Aggravated sexual assault
  • Criminal sexual contact involving a minor
  • Aggravated criminal sexual contact
  • Endangering the welfare of a child
  • Child pornography

Read more: Tier 1 Of Megan’s Law Involves Sexual Crimes Involving Minors

Can You Be Removed From Megan’s Law?

All offenders who fall under Megan’s Law must be registered on the New Jersey Sex Offender list for the rest of their lives. However, if you have been registered for 15 years with no arrests you may apply to be removed from the registry if you can prove you are no longer a threat to the community. 

When Juveniles Are Tried As Adults

When a juvenile commits a minor crime such as petty theft or vandalism, their case will be settled in the juvenile court system where the penalties are less harsh. In the case of a sexual assault charge, a juvenile can be tried in an adult court and face harsher penalties. The judge will decide based upon their review of the prosecutor’s request. People under the age of 18 must still register as a sex offender if they are found guilty of sexual assault. In certain cases, the individual can be removed from the registry if they are over the age of 18 and the offense occurred when they were under the age of 14. 

Consequences of Criminal Conviction

A felony conviction, such as sexual assault, can prevent individuals from getting jobs, being approved for certain loans, and receiving necessary certifications for some careers. Prohibitions may apply too, so if the individual is prohibited from being in contact with children they will still be ineligible to work with children. Aggravated assault, as it is a more serious crime, is never eligible for expungement due to N.J.S.A. § 2C:52-2.

Read more: How Can A Criminal Defense Lawyer Help Me?

Contact An Experienced Union County Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Sexual Assault Charges In New Jersey

Were you arrested or charged with sexual assault in New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The criminal defense attorneys at Zegas Law have successfully represented clients charged with sexual assault in Hackensack, Orange, Newark, Bridgewater, and throughout New Jersey. Call (973) 379-1999 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office conveniently located at 60 Morris Turnpike, Summit, NJ 07901.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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