Sex Crimes: Definitions and Penalties
New Jersey

Last Updated: December 2017
Aggravated Sexual Assault in the First Degree Answer

How is it defined?

Committing an act of sexual penetration with another person under any one of the following circumstances:

  • The victim is less than 13 years old;
  • The victim is at least 13 but less than 16 years old; and
    • The actor is related to the victim by blood or affinity to the third degree, or
    • The actor has supervisory or disciplinary power over the victim by virtue of the actor's legal, professional, or occupational status, or
    • The actor is a resource family parent, a guardian, or stands in loco parentis within the household;
  • The act is committed during the commission, or attempted commission, whether alone or with one or more other persons, of robbery, kidnapping, homicide, aggravated assault on another, burglary, arson or criminal escape;
  • The actor is armed with a weapon or any object fashioned in such a manner as to lead the victim to reasonably believe it to be a weapon and threatens by word or gesture to use the weapon or object;
  • The actor is aided or abetted by one or more other persons and the actor uses physical force or coercion;
  • The actor uses physical force or coercion and severe personal injury is sustained by the victim; or
  • The victim is one whom the actor knew or should have known was physically helpless, mentally incapacitated, or had a mental disease or defect which rendered the victim temporarily or permanently incapable of understanding the nature of his conduct, including, but not limited to, being incapable of providing consent. 

What are the punishments for this crime?

  • For convictions where the victim is less than 13 years old:
    • 25 years to life in prison, provided that at least 25 years are served before eligible for parole.
    • the prosecutor, in consideration of the interests of the victim, may offer a negotiated plea agreement in which the defendant would be sentenced to a specific term of imprisonment of not less than 15 years, during which the defendant shall not be eligible for parole
  • Otherwise, between 10 years and 20 years imprisonment.

Anything else I should know?

  • Sexual penetration” means vaginal intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio or anal intercourse between persons or insertion of the hand, finger or object into the anus or vagina either by the actor or upon the actor's instruction. The depth of insertion shall not be relevant as to the question of commission of the crime.
  • Severe personal injury” means severe bodily injury, disfigurement, disease, incapacitating mental anguish or chronic pain.
  • Physically helpless” means that condition in which a person is unconscious or is physically unable to flee or is physically unable to communicate unwillingness to act.
  • Mentally incapacitated” means that condition in which a person is rendered temporarily incapable of understanding or controlling his conduct due to the influence of a narcotic, anesthetic, intoxicant, or other substance administered to that person without his prior knowledge or consent, or due to any other act committed upon that person which rendered that person incapable of appraising or controlling his conduct.

Statutory citation(s):

  • N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(a),(d)





Sexual Assault in the Second Degree Answer

How is it defined?

  • An actor is guilty of sexual assault if he commits an act of sexual contact with a victim who is less than 13 years old and the actor is at least 4 years older than the victim.
  • Committing an act of sexual penetration with another person under any one of the following circumstances:
    • The actor uses physical force or coercion, but the victim does not sustain severe personal injury;
    • The victim is on probation or parole, or is detained in a hospital, prison or other institution and the actor has supervisory or disciplinary power over the victim by virtue of the actor's legal, professional or occupational status;
    • The victim is at least 16 but less than 18 years old and:
      • The actor is related to the victim by blood or affinity to the third degree; or
      • The actor has supervisory or disciplinary power of any nature or in any capacity over the victim; or
      • The actor is a resource family parent, a guardian, or stands in loco parentis within the household; or
    • The victim is at least 13 but less than 16 years old and the actor is at least four years older than the victim.

What are the punishments for this crime?

  • Between 5 and 10 years imprisonment.

Anything else I should know?

  • Sexual contact” means an intentional touching by the victim or actor, either directly or through clothing, of the victim's or actor's intimate parts for the purpose of degrading or humiliating the victim or sexually arousing or sexually gratifying the actor. Sexual contact of the actor with himself must be in view of the victim whom the actor knows to be present.
  • Intimate parts” means the following body parts: sexual organs, genital area, anal area, inner thigh, groin, buttock or breast of a person.
  • Sexual penetration” means vaginal intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio or anal intercourse between persons or insertion of the hand, finger or object into the anus or vagina either by the actor or upon the actor's instruction. The depth of insertion shall not be relevant as to the question of commission of the crime.

Statutory citation(s):

  • N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(b-c)





Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault in the Third Degree Answer

How is it defined?

  • Actor commits an act of sexual contact with another person under any one of the following circumstances:
    • The victim is at least 13 but less than 16 years old; and
      • The actor is related to the victim by blood or affinity to the third degree, or
      • The actor has supervisory or disciplinary power over the victim by virtue of the actor's legal, professional, or occupational status, or
      • The actor is a resource family parent, a guardian, or stands in loco parentis within the household;
    • The act is committed during the commission, or attempted commission, whether alone or with one or more other persons, of robbery, kidnapping, homicide, aggravated assault on another, burglary, arson or criminal escape;
    • The actor is armed with a weapon or any object fashioned in such a manner as to lead the victim to reasonably believe it to be a weapon and threatens by word or gesture to use the weapon or object;
    • The actor is aided or abetted by one or more other persons and the actor uses physical force or coercion;
    • The actor uses physical force or coercion and severe personal injury is sustained by the victim;
    • The victim is one whom the actor knew or should have known was physically helpless or incapacitated, intellectually or mentally incapacitated, or had a mental disease or defect which rendered the victim temporarily or permanently incapable of understanding the nature of his conduct, including, but not limited to, being incapable of providing consent.

What are the punishments for this crime?

  • 3 to 5 years in prison.

Anything else I should know?

  • Sexual contact” means an intentional touching by the victim or actor, either directly or through clothing, of the victim's or actor's intimate parts for the purpose of degrading or humiliating the victim or sexually arousing or sexually gratifying the actor. Sexual contact of the actor with himself must be in view of the victim whom the actor knows to be present.
  • Severe personal injury” means severe bodily injury, disfigurement, disease, incapacitating mental anguish or chronic pain.
  • Physically helpless” means that condition in which a person is unconscious or is physically unable to flee or is physically unable to communicate unwillingness to act.
  • Mentally incapacitated” means that condition in which a person is rendered temporarily incapable of understanding or controlling his conduct due to the influence of a narcotic, anesthetic, intoxicant, or other substance administered to that person without his prior knowledge or consent, or due to any other act committed upon that person which rendered that person incapable of appraising or controlling his conduct.

Statutory citation(s):

  • N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3(a)





Criminal Sexual Contact in the Fourth Degree Answer

How is it defined?

Committing an act of sexual contact under any of the following circumstances:

  • The actor uses physical force or coercion, but the victim does not sustain severe personal injury;
  • The victim is on probation or parole, or is detained in a hospital, prison or other institution and the actor has supervisory or disciplinary power over the victim by virtue of the actor's legal, professional or occupational status; or
  • The victim is at least 16 but less than 18 years old and:
    • The actor is related to the victim by blood or affinity to the third degree; or
    • The actor has supervisory or disciplinary power of any nature or in any capacity over the victim; or
    • The actor is a resource family parent, a guardian, or stands in loco parentis within the household; or
  • The victim is at least 13 but less than 16 years old and the actor is at least 4 years older than the victim

What are the punishments for this crime?

  • Up to 18 months in prison.

Anything else I should know?

  • Sexual contact” means an intentional touching by the victim or actor, either directly or through clothing, of the victim's or actor's intimate parts for the purpose of degrading or humiliating the victim or sexually arousing or sexually gratifying the actor. Sexual contact of the actor with himself must be in view of the victim whom the actor knows to be present.
  • Severe personal injury” means severe bodily injury, disfigurement, disease, incapacitating mental anguish or chronic pain.

Statutory citation(s):

  • N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3(b)








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