Felony Sexual Assault Charges Downgraded to Disorderly Persons Offense
Proetta & Oliver was able to secure a significant downgrade for one of their clients this month. Our client, who was a juvenile at the time of his arrest, was in the midst of an absolute nightmare. On the verge of graduating high school and about to embark on his college career, he was accused of sexually assaulting another at a party. The alleged victim in the case had indicated to authorities that our client had singled her out due to her level of intoxication and had coerced her into a bedroom in order to engage in sexual intercourse. The victim further alleged that despite her numerous requests to not engage in sexual intercourse that our client had forced himself upon her.
Our client was arrested and formally charged with sexual assault. Sexual assault is New Jersey’s version of rape. It is considered a second degree felony offense. Since our client was a juvenile, if convicted, he would be facing three years in Jamesburg, which is New Jersey’s juvenile prison, forced to register under Megan’s Law and be on Parole Supervision for life. Furthermore, due to his age and the severity of the allegations, it was a real risk that the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office could have sought to waive our cleint up and prosecute him as an adult. If that was the case he would be facing up to a decade behind bars.
Charged with a Sexual Assault in Somerset County?
Fortunately for our client, the local authorities had conducted a very in depth investigation and had obtained statements from approximately ten different witnesses, each of whom were present at the party. It was evident at the outset that the alleged victim’s statements about how the incident had occurred was filled with inconsistencies and at times, what appeared to be flat out lies. Our client, who had never denied engaging in sexual intercourse with the alleged victim vehemently denied that he had coerced her into doing so or that he had ever forced himself upon her.
The case was ultimately handled in juvenile court, which is located in the Family Division of the Somerset County Superior Courthouse. After numerous court appearances and countless discussions with the prosecution, they finally agreed to downgrade the second degree sexual assault charges to a disorderly persons offense lewdness charge. A disorderly persons offense is New Jersey’s version of a misdemeanor. At the end of the day, our client was formally sentenced to a term of probation for one year. So, at the end of the day our client went from facing three years in Jamesburg (up to 10 years in a prison if waived up to adult court), forced to register under Megan’s Law and be on parol supervision for life to a being placed on probation for one year. This was a tremendous outcome from our client who had spent his entire senior wondering if he was going to be attending college or prison in the upcoming fall.
Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyer in Somerville NJ
If you or a loved one has been alleged of a crime like sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child, luring, possession of child pornography in Somerset County, we strongly urge that you speak to an attorney as soon as possible about your options. Understanding the allegations, possible defenses and weakness in the prosecution’s case is absolutely crucial when it comes to mounting a successful defense. If you would like to speak to one of the criminal defense attorneys at Proetta & Oliver about your options, please contact our Bridgewater Office directly at 908-533-1064. As always, our initial consultations are free of costs. We serve all of Somerset County, including Bridgewater, Somerville, Franklin, Hillsborough, Bedminster, Bernards, Watchung and North Plainfield.