Negotiating a Plea Deal for Woodbridge Criminal Sexual Contact Charges

In New Jersey plea bargains are permitted in sex crime cases.  In some states, this is not allowed and a person’criminal sexual contact.  A plea bargain is a bargain between the prosecution and the defense in which the prosecution agrees to give the defendant a smaller sentence in exchange for an ims attorney cannot negotiate for lesser penalties when defending crimes such as sexual assault or mediate guilty plea.  For example, consider a recent criminal sexual contact case in Woodbridge that was resolved with a plea bargain.  The defendant in the case was a 27-year-old teacher who had been charged with criminal sexual contact and endangering the welfare of a child after he touched a 14-year-old student in his van.  Criminal sexual contact is a third-degree crime that carries penalties of 3 to 5 years in prison on conviction, but in this case a plea bargain was negotiated and the defendant pled guilty in exchange for 364 days in prison, one day shy of a full year sentence.

Ideally, an attorney wants to eliminate prison time completely for his client however a reduction from a potential five year prison sentence to one year in prison has its benefits.  There are many factors that come into play when negotiating a plea bargain including the strength of possible defenses that could be raised by the defense.  For example, if the police made some kind of error during the arrest, but the violation is not strong enough to keep the evidence out of court, it may still be brought up as a factor in plea deal negotiation.  Plea deals are life changing decisions so it is important to hire an experienced attorney that you trust.  The more experience an attorney has the more accurate his perception of the potential outcome of a trial will be, particularly when he’s worked in the area for a long time and knows the local judges and prosecutors.  Also, when choosing the plea deal, it eliminates a lot of stress for the client because he does not have to sit through a trial wondering whether he will be convicted of 5 years in prison when it’s over.

 

A Slight Touching Can Lead to Criminal Sexual Contact Charges in New Jersey

Criminal sexual contact in New Jersey is a combination of sexual contact combined with another factor that makes the sexual contact criminal. Sexual contact itself is not criminal and is different than sexual penetration which is required for a conviction of sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault. Sexual contact is merely an intentional touching of a person’s sexual organs, anal area, inner thigh, groin, butt or breast. Additionally, it must be committed with the intention of degrading the victim or arousing the toucher. The touching can be as slight as a pat on the thigh and it does not have to be under the clothing in order to constitute sexual contact. However, in order for the contact to be criminal, it must be combined with another factor such as if the toucher uses force or the victim is between 13 and 16. For a full list of the combination factors, please visit my criminal sexual contact page.

For an example of how slight the touching must be in order to constitute sexual contact, consider a recent criminal sexual contact case in Woodbridge that resulted in a conviction. The charge stemmed from a situation in which a 36-year-old middle school teacher met with a 13-year-old student outside of school. They kissed and he placed his hand on her thigh. As a result of this incident, the man was charged with aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, two counts of endangering the welfare of child, and lewd comments. He was sentenced to 1 year in prison followed by 5 months on probation and a lifetime on the Megan’s Law sex offender registry. The man had been a teacher at the school for 7 years. Note that it was not the kissing that caused the conviction, but the touching of the thigh. Under the statute for criminal sexual contact, touching the thigh constitutes sexual contact. In this case, the man admitted that he touched the girl’s thigh for his own sexual gratification which is also a requirement under sexual contact. The girl’s age was the combination factor that made the touching criminal and he was therefore sentenced accordingly.