Is Sexual Harassment a Crime in New Jersey?

sexual harassment

In New Jersey, sexual harassment is not its own enumerated crime, but some underlying actions that may be characterized as sexual harassment like criminal sexual contact, lewdness, or harassing are against the law and may lead to criminal charges. If you have been accused of sexual harassment, recently learned you are the subject of an investigation for unlawful sexual behavior, or have been charged with a sexual offense, you should not face these allegations alone. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can counsel you on your options and the best ways to defend you against accusations that are sexual in nature. Contact the Law Offices of William Proetta Criminal Law in Union County, NJ, at (908) 838-0150 for immediate assistance with your case. We provide free, completely confidential consultations.

What Is Sexual Harassment?

Typically, sexual harassment refers to unwanted advances or comments of a sexual nature. With the rise of the #MeToo movement, sexual harassment in the workplace has become a hot topic. These types of allegations generally result in civil discrimination lawsuits or internal disciplinary action within an employment environment. However, if you are accused of sexual harassment involving actions that constitute a criminal offense in New Jersey, you may also face criminal charges and even jail time.

What Type of Sexual Harassment Is Criminal in New Jersey?

There is no criminal offense known as “sexual harassment” under New Jersey law, but other offenses like lewdness, criminal sexual contact, and harassment that may be characterized as sexual harassment are punishable under criminal law. Below is a thorough explanation of each of these sex crimes and what they may mean if you are ultimately found guilty.

Charged with Lewdness in Elizabeth NJ

You may be charged with lewdness under N.J.S.A . 2C:14‑4 if you act in a fragrantly lewd and offensive manner that you know or reasonably expect non-consensual individuals, who would be alarmed by the behavior, will observe. A lewd act is typically a disorderly person offense, punishable by up to 30 days in prison and fines of $1,000, if convicted. Lewdness can be charged as a fourth degree crime if a child under 13 years of age or a person with a disability that prevents them from understanding the nature of the act observes the lewd behavior. If you are convicted of 4th degree lewdness, an indictable offense, you could be sentenced to up to 18 months in prison and be ordered to pay fines of up to $10,000.

Arrested for Criminal Sexual Contact in Cranford

In New Jersey, criminal sexual contact is a fourth degree offense. To be convicted, the prosecution must prove that you intentionally touched another person or yourself in front of the victim for your own sexual pleasure or to humiliate the victim.

Facing Harassment Charges in Linden NJ

If you threaten to or subject another person to offensive touching, hitting, shoving, or kicking, or engage in any alarming conduct to purposefully alarm or annoy a person, you may be charged with harassment. You can also be charged with this offense if you purposefully communicate anonymously at extremely inconvenient hours with offensive language or in a way that is likely to cause a person alarm or annoyance. Harassment is typically charged as a disorderly persons offense and carries potential penalties of up to 30 days in jail. You can learn more about harassment offenses in New Jersey by accessing our page on NJSA 2C:33-4.

These are just a few examples of offenses you may be charged with for conduct related to sexual harassment allegations. Depending on the facts in your case, other charges may include aggravated criminal sexual contact, sexual assault, and aggravated sexual assault.

Lawyer for Illegal Sexual Conduct Defense Union County NJ

It is extremely important to seek the advice and assistance of an experienced lawyer if you are a facing allegations related to sexual harassment. Our highly knowledgeable team of sex crime defense attorneys will review all of the details of your case to determine the strength of the prosecution’s case against you and what we can do to fight them. Our firm serves all of Union County and surrounding areas, including Elizabeth, Cranford, Roselle Park, Linden, New Providence, Berkeley Heights, and Summit. Contact our local Cranford office today at (908) 838-0150 to speak with an attorney right away.

With more than a decade of experience defending clients against criminal charges, founding partner William A. Proetta has successfully handled and tried thousands of cases, from DWI to murder. As a New Jersey native, he has focused his career on helping people in the area where he grew up, serving Middlesex, Ocean, Hudson, and Union counties.