Registering for the New Jersey Sex Offender Registry under Megan’s Law can destroy families and be devastating to your family and your reputation. Attorneys at Clark & Clark are aware of all the issues facing individuals charged with sexual offenses and the implications of Megan’s Law from both the defense and prosecutor’s perspective.
The attorneys at Clark & Clark have substantial experience handling and trying these matters in sex crimes units as prosecutors and as defense attorneys. If you have received notification of a Tier Hearing, we have the expertise to guide you though this process which includes handling the hearing as well as filing a motion to terminate your obligation to register. Contact our offices in Jersey City by calling 732-303-7857 to discuss your situation with one of our lawyers.
What Is Megan’s Law in New Jersey?
Megan’s Law requires convicted sex offenders in New Jersey to register with the local police, documenting where they live, any changes in address, any changes in employment or schooling, or other changes. This is often referred to as sex offender registration.
The sex offender register law can be found in the New Jersey Code at 2C:7-1 to 21. Individuals must fill out a registration form and submit it to their local police department. The form requests personal information such as home and place of employment.
The following is a list of the offenses which require registration:
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Sexual assault
- Aggravated sexual contact
- Criminal sexual contact if the victim is a minor
- Endangering the welfare of a child (by engaging in sexual conduct)
- Endangering the welfare of a child (child pornography)
- Promoting prostitution
- Luring or enticing
- Criminal restraint
- False imprisonment (if the victim is a minor and individual is not a parent of the victim)
Individuals who have been convicted of these offenses are required to register under Megan’s Law which went into effect on October 31, 1994. If a person was serving a sentence on the effective date of the law, then they were also required to register. In addition, individuals who have been found to be repetitive and compulsive by experts and the courts, regardless of the date of conviction, are required to register.
Failing to Report Under Megan’s Law
Some individuals subject to Megan’s Law must register for the remainder of their lives. If an individual fails to report a change of address, they can be charged with a crime called Failing to Report. If an individual does not provide the necessary information to the police department such as his or her name, fingerprints, social security number, age, race, sex, date of birth, height, weight, hair color and eye color, address, date and place of employment, then they can be charged with the crime of Failing to Report, which is a fourth degree crime, subject to a maximum term of 18 months in New Jersey State Prison.
If a registrant moves out of New Jersey or to New Jersey from another jurisdiction, the re-registration is required. Failure to do so may result in a charge of failing to register as well.
Terminate My Obligation to Register
You may be eligible to terminate your obligation to register under Megan’s Law. Individuals may apply to the court to be removed from the Sex Offender Registry if they committed only one offense, have not committed another offense for 15 years, and prove that they are not likely to pose a threat to the safety of others. Juvenile sex offenses may also apply to the court to be removed from the Sex Offender Registry if they were under the age of 14 at the time of their offense but they are not over the age of 18. In 2001, the New Jersey Supreme Court held that the Megan’s Law registration and community notification order for juveniles who committed an offense when there were under the age of 14 will terminate at 18 if the Court determines by clear and convincing evidence that the juvenile is not likely to pose a threat to the safety of others. In the Matter of Registrant J.G., 169 N.J. 304 (2001).
Learn more at our Megan’s Law Registry Chart page
We Represent You at Your Sex Offender Tier Hearing
Once an individual registers with the local police department, the county prosecutor’s office must determine the risk to the community – the likelihood that the sex offender will commit another crime. In making that determination, the prosecutors weight many factors set by statutes and the Attorney General Guidelines. The prosecutors classify individuals in one of three tiers based on the degree of risk posed to the public:
- Low risk (Tier 1)
- Moderate risk (Tier 2)
- High risk (Tier 3)
The process involves the examination of the (1) seriousness of the offense; (2) prior criminal record; (3) personal characteristics and (4) community support available. There is a point system which assigns all these factors which combines points for a final score.
Tiering Points Reporting
- Low – Tier 1: Below 37 Law Enforcement Authorities
- Moderate – Tier 2: 37 to 73 Above, plus schools, licensed day care centers, summer camps and registered community organizations
- High – Tier: 3: 74-111 Above, plus members of the public
Once the prosecutor assigns a tier, the registrant is then notified by the Prosecutor’s Office as to their classification and scope of community notification. 14 days from the date of the notice, the registrant has the right to object to the prosecutor’s tiering. As a result, it is critical that you contact an experience Megan’s Law Tiering attorney to protect your rights. At the hearing, the registrant has the ability to challenge the prosecutor’s tiering and then the court reviews the tier assignment, scope of notification and Sex Offender Internet Registry.
Community Supervision for Life
Community Supervision for Life (also known as Parole Supervision for Life) augments the intrusion in an individual’s life when they re-enter the community. In addition to Megan’s Law registrations, parole officers may be permitted to come into the individual’s home to check up on them and the individual may be forced to obtain permission before leaving the state or country.
Protect Your Rights
The intrusions set forth by Megan’s Law and Community Supervision for Life will impact an individual for the remainder of their life, unless they take steps to terminate their requirement. However, termination may only occur after a significant amount of time has lapsed (usually 15 years after completion of the sentence). We represent individuals who want to request modifications of the tier level of offense which ultimately impacts the severity of government intrusion.
If you are attempting to move on from a situation, but an incident has severely hampered your abilities to do so, contact an attorney experienced in Megan’s Law, at Clark & Clark by calling 732-303-7857 or completing our online form for a free consultation.