Criminal Sexual Contact v. Sexual Assault in New Jersey

In New Jersey, criminal sexual contact and sexual assault are similar crimes because both result when two people with a particular relationship or age difference engage in a sexually prohibited act.  The statutory guidelines which set out the age difference and particular relationship required are relatively similar in both crimes.  For example, both crimes can be charged when certain sexual conduct takes place between a child between the ages of 13 and 16-years-old and an adult at least four years older.  However, where the two crimes really diverge is in the type of sexual conduct required for a charge.  Sexual assault requires sexual penetration for a charge, but criminal sexual contact only requires a sexual contact.

In New Jersey, sexual contact is an intentional touching (under or over clothing) of a person’s sexual organs, genital area, anal area, inner thigh, groin, butt or breast, committed with the purpose of degrading the victim or sexually arousing the toucher.  Sexual contact can also occur if the actor touches himself while the victim is watching.  Sexual penetration means vaginal intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, anal intercourse, and insertion of the hand, finger or object into the anus or vagina.  It does not matter how deep the penetration is.  A little is enough.  Thus, in sum, sexual assault requires that the parties engage in heavier sexual conduct in order for a charge to result, whereas criminal sexual conduct may result simply from a sexual rubbing over the clothes.

My name is Anthony N. Palumbo, New Jersey sex crimes attorney and I have a lot of experience defending people charged with both criminal sexual contact and sexual assault in New Jersey.  Few charges are as overwhelming for a client as those involving illegal sexual acts.  The stigma associated with such crimes can easily destroy a life without much evidence and even without a shred of veracity.  When a person is charged with a sex crime, it is imperative to contact an attorney immediately.  While all cases are easier handled from the beginning, this is especially true with sex crimes and it is important to have an aggressive attorney by your side to make sure unnecessary incriminating evidence does not accumulate against you.  If you would like to discuss your situation with a seasoned attorney who won’t judge you or make you feel uncomfortable, contact me today at 1-866-664-8118 for a free and private consultation.  I also encourage people to visit my website at