New Jersey law enforcement agencies aggressively investigate and prosecute sex crimes committed over the internet. The penalties for these crimes can be incredibly severe. This article delves into several internet sex crimes commonly charged in the New Jersey and the potential consequences you might face if you convicted. If you have been charged with a child pornography offense, solicitation of a minor online, cyber harassment, or another sex crime on the Internet, contact us today to speak to an attorney with in-depth knowledge of how these crimes are typically investigated, types of evidence used against defendants, and how to effectively challenge Internet sex crime allegations. We are available anytime to discuss your case in a free consultation, so please feel free to call (201) 793-8018 or contact us online.
Internet Sex Crime Charges in New Jersey
Charged With Child Pornography
New Jersey law prohibits individuals from possessing child pornography. It is a third degree crime to possess any photographs or videos depicting child pornography. If you distribute or intend to distribute child pornography, you can be charged with a more serious second degree crime. If you allow or force a child to engage in an act for the purpose of creating child pornography, you can be charged with a first degree indictable offense, the most serious category of crime in New Jersey. The penalties for child pornography offenses vary based on the specific degree of the charges, explained in greater detail below.
Accused of Soliciting a Minor on the Internet
New Jersey law criminalizes using the internet or any other electronic method to contact, lure, entice, or otherwise encourage a minor to meet with you for the purposes of committing a crime. You can be sentenced to severe penalties for a second degree indictable offense if prosecutors can establish that you intended to commit a sex crime such as sexual assault or criminal sexual contact at the meeting.
Arrested for Cyber Harassment of a Minor
State law similarly prohibits you from harassing another person online. According to New Jersey’s law against cyber harassment, you can be convicted of this offense for communicating with someone on the Internet in a manner than involves lewd, indecent, or obscene material. Cyber harassment charges can be considered third or fourth degree crimes, depending on the case. A typical charge is a fourth degree, but if the defendant is 21 or older and disguises themself as a minor in order to harass a minor online, this is elevated to a third degree crime.
How Does the State Prove Internet Sex Crimes in NJ?
Police will often set up online “stings” to prosecute internet sex crimes. A member of law enforcement may pose as a minor in an online forum or chatroom and discuss meeting up with you in person. An undercover officer may similarly discuss child pornography with you. Law enforcement will likely record any online communications with you and pass those communications along to state prosecutors. If police have probable cause to arrest you or obtain a search warrant, they may seize your computer, your car, your phone, and other property that they will argue you intended to use to facilitate an internet sex crime. Information obtained from this property may be used against you at trial.
What Are the Penalties for Internet Sex Crimes?
All of the above Internet sex crimes are considered indictable offenses. The specific charge and the circumstances of the case will then dictate the consequences you face if convicted. In addition to a number of other penalties specific to the crime in question, a conviction for a fourth degree sex crime can generally result in an 18 month prison sentence and fines up to $10,000. Third degree sex offenses can subject you to five years in prison and up to a $15,000 fine. Second degree sex crime charges can result in 10 years in prison and up to $150,000 in fines. The most serious offenses, indictable offenses of the first degree, carry up to 20 years in prison and $200,000 in fines.
In addition to these fines and prison time, you may also be required to register for life as a sex-offender under Megan’s law if you are convicted of certain internet sex crimes in New Jersey.
Get Defense for Your Internet Sex Crime Case in Hudson County NJ
If you have been charged with an internet sex crime in Hudson County or anywhere else in New Jersey, you need an aggressive defense strategy. The consequences of being convicted in these cases can be permanent and jeopardize your freedom for years to come. Contact our Hudson County sex crime attorneys for immediate assistance with a case in Jersey City, Hoboken, Weehawken, Kearny, Newark, North Bergen, and other communities throughout New Jersey. You can reach us anytime at (201) 793-8018 for a confidential free consultation.