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New Jersey Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws

Most states prohibit certain types of consensual sexual activity. While statutory rape sometimes seems to involve consenting partners, minors have no legal ability to give consent.

Continue reading for details about New Jersey's laws related to sexual activity. Also, see FindLaw's Sex Crimes section for more information.

History of Prohibiting Consensual Sexual Activity

Although these laws may seem antiquated today, there is a long history of prohibiting many forms of consensual sexual activity.

Some of the most well-known laws include those prohibiting sexual activity amongst same-sex partners.

In the landmark case Lawrence v. Texasthe Supreme Court of the United States struck down a Texas law that prohibited sex between same-sex partners. As a result of the decision in that case, sodomy laws were struck down in thirteen other states as well. However, this Supreme Court decision did not strike down all laws that prohibit consensual sexual activity.

The following table outlines laws related to sexual activity in New Jersey.

Sodomy Laws Applicable to

There is no law related to sodomy in New Jersey. It was repealed by the state in 1978.

Penalty for Sodomy

Not Applicable

HIV Exposure and Compelled Testing for Offenders

Under New Jersey Revised Statutes 2C:43-2.2, a court can order that the convicted perpetrator of a sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault undergo HIV testing upon the victim's request.

Other Crimes Relating to Consensual Sex Acts

Under New Jersey Revised Statutes 2C:34-4, public communication of obscenity is a crime of the fourth degree. "Public communication of obscenity" refers, for example, to the posting of sexually offensive material in public. It is penalized by a term in prison of up to 18 months.

Age of Consent

Under most circumstances, the age of consent in New Jersey is 16 years of age. Even when it appears as though someone under the age of consent has consented to sexual activity, New Jersey law still does not recognize their consent as valid. Engaging in sexual activity with someone under the age of consent is treated as a criminal offense. This criminal offense is known as statutory rape.

Sexual Assault

Under New Jersey Revised Statutes 2C:14-2, the following circumstances qualify as sexual assault and entail punishments for statutory rape:
  • The victim is under the age of 13,
  • The victim is between the ages of 13 and 16,
  • The perpetrator is related to the victim by blood or is related to the victim through marriage to the victim's parent,
  • The perpetrator is in a position of authority, or
  • The victim is incapacitated or intellectually or mentally disable.
These are treated as crimes of the first degree.

Prostitution

Under New Jersey Revised Statutes 2C:34-1, prostitution is a crime. Depending on the specifics of any particular violation of this statute, offenses of this nature are treated as crimes of the first degree through the fourth degree. For example, if the prostitute is under the age of 18, you could face a charge for a crime of the first degree. Consider reviewing the statute, linked immediately above, to review other aspects of what qualifies as a crime concerning prostitution.

Lewdness

Under New Jersey Code 2C:14-4, lewdness is a crime. Examples of lewdness include public nudity and indecent exposure. It is treated as a crime of the fourth degree.

Need More Help? Contact an Attorney

If you have been accused of a sex crime, you'll want to know how this will affect you and what kind of defense you might have. It's advised that you contact a criminal defense attorney near you if you find yourself under such a set of circumstances.

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Can I Solve This on My Own or Do I Need an Attorney?

  • Complex cases usually require a lawyer
  • Experienced lawyers can seek to reduce or eliminate criminal penalties
  • Sexual assaults & sex crime convictions often have long sentences and lifelong consequences

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