Additional Charge In Sexual Assault On Minor Does Not Always Mean More Time
- September 16, 2013
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Although he did not escape guilt, the defendant did receive a reduced sentence for charges of first degree aggravated assault, second degree sexual assault and second degree endangering the welfare of a minor in State v. W.L. Following a jury trial, the defendant was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment with an 85 percent period of parole ineligibility under the No Early Release Act (NERA), N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2, for the crime of 1st degree sexual assault into which the crime of 2nd degree sexual assault was merged. The defendant was also sentenced to 7 years for endangering the welfare of a minor to be served consecutively to the 15 years for the other charge. When sentencing, a Judge may count aggravating factors only once and must apply a Yarbough analysis when imposing an excessive sentence. The judge in State v. W.L. applied aggravating factors 2 (gravity of the offense), 3 (risk defendant will commit another offense) and 9 (the need to deter such activity) and mitigating factors 7 (defendant’s lack of criminal history) and 8 (the likelihood the defendant’s behavior will recur). An essential element of the conviction for aggravated sexual assault was the child’s age and finding of an aggravating sentencing factor cannot be based solely on an essential element of the crime charged. Additionally, the sentencing Judge failed to apply the appropriate standards from State v. Yarbough, 100 N.J. 627, 643-644 (1985) in determining whether to impose a consecutive sentence for count 3, endangering the welfare of a minor. If you are facing charges for sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a minor or similar charges, you should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. If you are convicted or plea to a sex crime in New Jersey, in addition to incarceration you face lifelong listing on a registry which can affect your ability to obtain employment, restrict where you may reside and generally have a negative impact on the remainder of your life. For more information about soliciting a minor, statutory rape, child molestation, internet crimes, child pornography or other sex crimes in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com. This blog is for informational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of an attorney.