Failure to Register as a Sex Offender
New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney
New Jersey imposes strict sex offender registration requirements, and the failure to register as a sex offender or comply with periodic reporting provisions can result in serious criminal penalties. Because of this, it’s important for convicted sex offenders to understand and be aware of their registration obligations, and the penalties for noncompliance.
To speak with a New Jersey sex crime lawyer about Megan’s Law’s requirements and what to do if you’ve been charged with failing to register, you can schedule a free and confidential consultation with me, Anthony N. Palumbo, by emailing me or calling 1-866-664-8118.
Sex offender registration under Megan’s Law
New Jersey’s Megan’s Law statute requires offenders who’ve been convicted of sodomy, rape, child pornography, child molestation, sexual battery, and other sex crimes to provide information to the police and the local community about what they look like, where they live, and the nature of their past crimes. Although Megan’s Law applies to nearly all sex crime convictions, the statute provides different registration and community notification requirements depending on the circumstances, nature, and severity of each offense, with registration information for the highest risk offenders being publicly available on the internet. Sex offenders must remain on the Megan’s Law registry for at least 15 years, but some offenders cannot terminate their registration obligations and must remain registered for life.
Megan’s Law registration requirements
For sex offenders convicted in New Jersey, registration requirements commence when they’re paroled or finish their sentences. Offenders who’ve been convicted in other states must also comply with Megan’s Law whenever they relocate to New Jersey or commence employment or education within the state. In most cases, registrations are filed with the local law enforcement agency, but they may also be filed with state law enforcement authorities in some cases. Specific registration requirements include the following:
- an offender who is under supervision in the community on probation, parole, furlough, work release, or a similar program must register at the time he is placed under such supervision;
- an offender who is confined in a correctional or juvenile facility must register prior to his release and re-register within 48 hours of being released;
- an offender moving to or returning to New Jersey from another state must register within 10 days of first residing in or returning to the state;
- an offender who is required to register as a sex offender in another state and who is enrolled at an educational institution in New Jersey must register in the municipality where the educational institutional is located within 10 days after commencing attendance, as well as with the law enforcement unit of the educational institution, if it has one; and
- an offender who is required to register as a sex offender in another state and who is employed in New Jersey for more than 14 consecutive days or for an aggregate period exceeding 30 days must register in the municipality where the employer is located within 10 days after commencing employment.
Offenders must also report periodically to verify their registration information. The statute provides that:
- upon a change of address, an offender must notify the local law enforcement agency with which he is registered and re-register with the appropriate municipal law enforcement agency no less than 10 days before he intends to first reside at the new address;
- upon a change of employment or school enrollment status, an offender must notify the appropriate law enforcement agency no later than 5 days after such change;
- an offender must include in his registration information regarding whether he has routine access to a computer or any other device with internet capability; and
- offenders convicted of the most serious sex crimes must verify their addresses with the appropriate law enforcement agency every 90 days, and offenders convicted of other sex crimes must verify their addresses annually.
Penalties for failing to report under Megan’s Law
Failing to register under Megan’s Law constitutes a third degree crime and is subject to a penalty of 3 to 5 years in prison. Moreover, the confidentiality provisions of Megan’s Law which limit the dissemination of low and moderate risk offenders’s registrations do not apply in cases involving a failure to register, as the offense is separate and distinct from the underlying sex crime. As a result, indictments for failure to register need not be under seal and the offender may be treated in accordance with the regular judicial process, including any attendant publicity.
Several other types of reporting failures are classified as fourth degree crimes, which are punishable by up to 18 months in prison. These include failing to notify law enforcement within 10 days of a change of address or within 5 days after a change in employment or school enrollment status. It’s also a fourth degree crime if an offender fails to notify law enforcement of his access to a computer or other device with internet capability, or if he knowingly provides false information concerning his place of residence or fails to verify his address in a timely manner.
For offenders who are subject to parole supervision for life, a failure to register or report under Megan’s Law may also result in parole revocation.
Contact Anthony N Palumbo
If you’ve been charged with failing to register or report under Megan’s Law, a criminal defense attorney may be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed. A lawyer will also be able to help you understand your reporting obligations under Megan’s Law and how to avoid future problems resulting from missed deadlines or noncompliant registrations. Contact me today online or at 1-866-664-8118 for a free and confidential consultation. I will help you.