Megan’s Law New Jersey
In New Jersey, Megan’s law sex offender registry requires convicted sex offenders to provide information to the local community about what they look like, where they live, and their past crimes so the community can be aware of their presence. While it’s important to protect the community, it’s also important to give sex offenders a genuine shot at rehabilitation, and Megan’s list can make that difficult.
My name is Anthony N. Palumbo and I defend New Jersey sex offenders. Depending on your circumstances, I can vacate your original plea, reduce your tier status to limit the amount of information disseminated, or even terminate your registry obligations. I have successfully terminated registries within the past months, and in a vast majority of cases, I receive favorable outcomes for clients. Contact me today for a free consultation at 908-643-6801 , and discuss your case openly, privately, and without embarrassment with an experienced New Jersey Criminal Lawyer.
Megan’s Law Crimes
Megan’s law applies to almost every crime that has a sexual nature. The New Jersey statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:7-2, sets out a list of crimes to which Megan’s law applies. Additionally, the statute contains a catch-all clause which states that if a crime similar to the ones listed is committed, but it is not on the list, a judge may order the offender to be placed on the registry. The law applies to convictions, adjudications of delinquency, and acquittals by reason of insanity for the following crimes:
- Aggravated Sexual Assault
- Sexual Assault
- Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact
- Kidnapping a child who is under 16
- Luring or Enticing of a minor
- Criminal Sexual Contact (if victim under 18)
- Kidnapping (if the victim is under 18 and the offender is not a parent of victim)
- Criminal Restraint (if the victim is under 18 and the offender is not a parent of victim)
- False Imprisonment (if the victim is under 18 and the offender is not a parent of victim)
- Promotion of Prostitution if a child
- Endangering the Welfare of a Child (Sexual Contact)
- Endangering the Welfare of a Child by receiving in any manner, with the purpose to disseminate in any manner, any kind of media or construction of a child involved in a prohibited sexual act or simulation thereof.
An attempt to commit aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault or the kidnapping of a child under 16 will also place a person on Megan’s law if the conduct was characterized by a pattern of repetitive, compulsive behavior.
Megan’s Law Notification
When a person has been convicted of a Megan’s law crime, they will be subjected to a notification system. Under the system, people are grouped into tiers based on the severity of the crime. The tiers determine how much information an offender must provide and who gets to see it. The notification system applies to all Megan’s law sex offenders in New Jersey. If a person is convicted out of state, they must register within 10 days of moving to New Jersey, and must register even if just attending school or working in New Jersey.
Megan’s Law Tiers
A person may be ranked as Tier 1 (low risk), Tier 2 (moderate risk), or Tier 3 (high risk offender). The risk factor refers to the likelihood that the individual will commit another similar crime. When determining tiers, many factors are taken into consideration including the characteristics of the past crime, treatment, responsiveness, and community support. A hearing is held in which the final rank is determined by the court. When a person is ranked Tier 2 or Tier 3, an attorney can file a motion to reduce the tier level.
Who Gets Notified?
Only law enforcement agencies are notified of Tier 1 offenders. For Tier 2 offenders, law enforcement, schools, day cares, camps, and community organizations are notified. For Tier 3 offenders, all the above parties are notified, and in addition, the information is placed on the internet so that the public can view it. In exceptional situations, Tier 2 offenders will also be placed on internet.
What Information Is Disclosed?
The list below contains the information which must usually be disclosed. Failure to disclose the required information is a fourth degree crime that carries up to 18 months in prison and $10,000 in fines.
- Name (including aliases)
- Addresses (must update)
- Modus Operandi
- Date of Birth
- Eye Color
- Distinguishing scars or tattoos
- School (if applicable)
- Dated Photograph
- Vehicle information: make, model, color, year and license plate number
Terminating The Obligation To Register
In New Jersey, a defendant convicted of a sex offense must remain on the Megan’s law sex offender registry for 15 years. When 15 years has expired, the sex offender can request a termination of the obligation to register. It must be shown that the offender is no longer a threat to the community and has not been convicted of a subsequent sex crime.
Permanent Megan’s Law Registry
Some offenders cannot terminate their obligation to register, and must remain permanently registered for life. Offenders who have been convicted, adjudicated delinquent, or acquitted by reason of insanity of the following crimes cannot petition for removal:
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Sexual assault involving physical force or coercion; or
- Conviction of more than one sex offense
Do Juveniles Have To Register?
Juveniles have to register, but depending on the age when the crime was committed, they may not be subjected to the 15 year rule. Juvenile delinquents who commit a Megan’s Law offense when they are under 14-years-old may terminate at the age of 18 if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the juvenile does not pose a threat to the safety of others.
Defeating Megan’s Law
If you have been charged with a sex crime in New Jersey, or even suspect that you may be charged in the future, I urge you to contact an experienced New Jersey criminal lawyer immediately. Contacting an attorney in the beginning of a case can make a huge difference in the outcome, and this is especially true in sex offense cases. The best way to beat Megan’s law is to defeat the original charge, and the earlier you contact an attorney, the easier it is to prevent incriminating evidence from building against you.
As a former prosecutor, I have insight on how cases are perceived by the state, and this is one of the many reasons why I’ve been able to help countless clients for over 35 years. Contact me today at 908-643-6801 for a confidential, private, free consultation with an experienced sex crimes defense attorney. Together we can discuss the legal issues you face, and if you decide to retain my services, I will do everything in my power to protect your freedom and reputation.