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What to do if the police charge you with statutory rape

On Behalf of | Jan 6, 2024 | Sex Offenses |

Navigating the legal system is challenging, and facing statutory rape charges in New Jersey adds a layer of complexity and emotional turbulence. These charges, involving sexual contact with a minor below the legal age of consent (16 in New Jersey), can carry significant consequences.

Understanding your rights is an important step in addressing this difficult situation.

Understand the severity

New Jersey categorizes statutory rape as serious offenses, with penalties varying depending on the specific circumstances. Statutory rape can result in prison sentences ranging from several years to decades, depending on the severity of the crime. For example, if convicted of having sex with a child under the age of 13, you could face 25 years to life in prison. You may also be responsible for paying hefty fines and mandatory sex offender registration. The emotional strain of such charges can be immense, impacting your reputation, relationships and future prospects.

Take immediate action

If you face statutory rape charges, immediate action is paramount. Remain calm and avoid discussing the accusations with anyone except trusted individuals and relevant authorities. Do not share details on social media or engage in any behavior that prosecutors could misconstrue as tampering with evidence.

Know your rights

You have fundamental rights throughout the legal process. You have the right to remain silent and the right to a fair trial. Do not hesitate to exercise these rights throughout the investigation and court proceedings. Cooperate with legal proceedings while understanding your right to privacy and refusing to answer questions that could incriminate you.

Navigating statutory rape charges is a complex and emotionally taxing journey. Remember, this type of charge does not define who you are. Focus on building emotional support networks and prioritizing your well-being. Justice takes time, so maintain patience and trust in the legal process.