New Jersey Juvenile Sex Offense Attorney
Sexual contact between juveniles that comes to the attention of authorities in today’s social climate may lead to criminal charges. It doesn’t necessarily mean something intentionally harmful has occurred. Children are curious, youths have strong emotions, and any juvenile is capable of poor judgment. But experienced legal representation is an absolute must.
Juveniles convicted of sex offenses in New Jersey potentially face imprisonment, fines and registration as a sex offender under Megan’s Law. Conviction as a juvenile sex offender can severely damage and limit the opportunities in a life that has barely begun. That’s why your child needs aggressive legal representation from an experienced New Jersey juvenile criminal defense attorney who can help separate mistakes from crimes.
Attorney Jason A. Volet, a former prosecutor in Monmouth County, NJ, focuses his legal practice entirely on protecting the rights of the accused, including juveniles. He is one of few lawyers certified as a Criminal Defense Attorney by the Supreme Court of New Jersey. He has handled more than 2,000 criminal defense cases.
Attorney Jason Volet understands that the New Jersey juvenile justice system is intended to rehabilitate juvenile offenders instead of punishing them. And he knows how the system actually works. He is dedicated to providing hands-on, knowledgeable legal advocacy that protects your child’s future.
What are Juvenile Sex Crimes in New Jersey?
Under New Jersey law, any form of unwanted, unwelcome or coercive sexual behavior, including touching another person or exposing another person to sexual acts or depictions of sexual acts, is considered a sex crime. Further, some juveniles who might willingly engage in acts of sex cannot legally consent to having sex. This includes anyone:
- Younger than 13 years old
- At least 13, but not yet 16 years old if the other individual is at least four years older than the alleged victim
- At least 16, but not 18 years old and
- The other individual is related to the alleged victim by blood or affinity to the third degree (i.e., adopted or related by marriage, e.g., a step-parent, step-child, step-brother, step-sister)
- The other individual has supervisory or disciplinary power over the victim by virtue of the actor’s legal or occupational status such as a guardian
- Who has a diminished mental capacity, who the defendant knew or should have known was physically helpless, mentally incapacitated or had a mental disease or defect that rendered the victim incapable of understanding the nature of the sexual conduct, including being incapable of providing consent. This includes a victim who was drunk, drugged or unconscious, or who has a developmental disability.
Any act of sexual penetration in any of the circumstances outlined above is sexual assault under New Jersey law. If the perpetrator uses a weapon or inflicts serious physical harm or there are multiple perpetrators, the charge may be filed as aggravated sexual assault, which carries harsher penalties.
Other sex offenses a juvenile might face include:
- Indecent Exposure
- Invasion of Privacy (making or sharing intimate images without consent)
- Promoting Prostitution
- Luring, Enticing, Solicitation
- Child Pornography
- Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Sexual Contact with a Minor)
- Failure to Register as a Sex Offender
- Criminal Sexual Contact.
Criminal sexual contact is the intentional touching … either directly or through clothing, of the victim’s intimate parts for the purpose of degrading or humiliating the victim or sexually arousing or sexually gratifying the perpetrator. It can include “sexual contact of the actor with himself” if the contact was “in view of the victim whom the actor knows to be present.”
How Do Sex Crime Sentences Differ For a Juvenile vs. an Adult?
New Jersey’s juvenile justice system is meant to promote the rehabilitation of juveniles through programs that allow juveniles to become responsible and productive members of the community. There are multiple programs available, typically if the alleged crime is a first offense and nonviolent:
- Deferred disposition, which includes dismissal of charges after completing certain court-imposed requirements
- Community service
- Probation (for up to 3 years)
- Release to a parent or guardian
- Required parental involvement
- Mental health and/or substance abuse treatment
- Transfer of custody, i.e., removing the juvenile from their home and placing him or her in the custody of a relative or other qualified individual
- Placing the juvenile in the custody of the Department of Children and Families
- Driver’s license suspension
- Work, educational, and/or vocational programs
- Juvenile detention.
If a juvenile is incarcerated for a sex crime, the sentence will be much shorter than it would be for an adult. For example, sexual assault is a third-degree offense, for which an adult may receive three to five years in prison. A juvenile faces two years of detention in a juvenile facility for a third-degree offense.
Juveniles convicted of sex crimes are required to register as sex offenders under New Jersey’s Megan’s Law, just as adults are. If the juvenile is not yet 14 at the time of the offense, he or she can apply at age 18 to be removed from the Megan’s Law registry. Otherwise, the juvenile must wait 15 years to apply for removal form the sex offender registry.
Most juvenile sex offense cases involve juveniles exclusively. A juvenile would likely be charged as an adult for an alleged sex offense against an adult, after previous criminal convictions or in an especially violent sexual assault or an aggravated sexual assault. A juvenile charged as an adult would face harsher penalties applied to adults.
Get Help from a New Jersey Juvenile Sex Offense Lawyer
Contact a New Jersey defense lawyer who will fight to protect your underage child’s future if he or she faces sex offense charges. Attorney Jason A. Volet will thoroughly examine the prosecution’s case, explain your child’s rights and legal options, answer your questions and – above all – dedicate himself to resolving the case in the manner most beneficial for your child.
Contact The Law Office of Jason A. Volet today by phone at (732) 491-8477 or reach out online 24/7. We assist families from Freehold, Neptune and throughout Monmouth County and surrounding areas in New Jersey. Contact us now.