Megan’s Law: An Overview of New Jersey’s Sex Offender Registration

Megan’s Law provided for the creation of a state sex offender registry and a community notification procedure.

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Registered sex offenders are placed into three categories distinguished by their level of risk to re-offend. According to the 2020 Megan’s Law Annual Report, the New Jersey State Police report that 16,995 people have registered under Megan’s Law.

Megan’s Law ensures that the consequences of your conviction follow you long after your sentence is complete. Clark, Clark & Noonan, LLC has secured numerous case dismissals for clients just like you. We’ll file motions to suppress evidence, stand up for your rights in court, and evaluate any available defense options.

What’s Included on the Registry?

Megan’s Law requires convicted sex offenders in New Jersey to register with the local police and document the following:

  • Where they live
  • Changes in address
  • Changes in employment
  • Changes in schooling, or other changes

We represent individuals who want to request modifications of the tier level of offense which ultimately impacts the severity of government intrusion.

Who Has to Register?

Under Megan’s Law, anyone who has been convicted, adjudicated delinquent, or found guilty by reason of insanity must register as a sex offender.

How Long is Registration Required?

Anyone required to register as a sex offender under New Jersey law must remain registered for the rest of their life. However, certain circumstances may allow for you to be removed from the sex offender registry. An attorney can assess your case and determine if you’re eligible for removal.

What Offenses Require You to Register?

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
  • Kidnapping
  • Criminal restraint
  • False imprisonment (if the victim is a minor and the individual is not a parent of the victim)

How Are Sex Offenders Classified?

Once registered with the local police department, the county prosecutor’s office determines a sex offender registrant’s risk to the community. In making that determination, the prosecutors weigh many factors set by statutes and the Attorney General Guidelines.

Prosecutors classify individuals in one of three tiers:

  • Tier 1 – Low risk
  • Tier 2 – Moderate risk
  • Tier 3 – High risk

The process involves the examination of the following:

  • Seriousness of the offense
  • Prior criminal record
  • Personal characteristics
  • Community support available

Tiering Points Reporting

A point system assigns all these factors and combines points for a final score.

  • Low – Tier 1: Below 37 Law Enforcement Authorities
  • Moderate – Tier 2: 37 to 73 Above, plus schools, licensed daycare centers, summer camps, and registered community organizations
  • High – Tier: 3: 74-111 Above, plus members of the public

What Tier Offenders Are Included in the Internet Registry?

All Tier Three (high risk) offenders are included in the Internet Registry, regardless of the age of the offender.

All Tier Two (moderate risk) offenders are included in the Internet Registry unless the court has ordered notification as if the offender is a low risk to offend or the sole sex offense committed by the offender is one of the following:

  • A conviction or acquittal by reason of insanity for a violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2 or N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3 under circumstances in which the offender was related to the victim by blood or affinity to the third degree or was a foster parent, guardian, or stood in loco parentis (assumes parental status) within the household; or
  • A conviction or acquittal by reason of insanity for a violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2 or N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3 in any case in which the victim assented to the commission of offense but by reason of age was not capable of giving lawful consent.

No Tier One (low risk) offenders are included on the Internet Registry.

Can You Appeal or Dispute a Tier?

Once the prosecutor assigns a tier, the registrant is then notified by the Prosecutor’s Office about their classification and scope of community notification. Fourteen days from the date of the notice, the registrant has the right to object to the prosecutor’s tiering.

Other Megan’s Law Limitations

With the requirement to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law comes several additional impositions that influence the life of a registrant. One might experience anything from community supervision to special requirements for entering and leaving the state of New Jersey.

Community Supervision for Life

Community Supervision for Life (also known as Parole Supervision for Life) requires sex offenders convicted of specific offenses to adhere to certain restrictions indefinitely.

What Offenses Result in Community Supervision for Life?

Some offenses that could result in this consequence include:

  • Kidnapping
  • Aggravated sexual assault
  • Endangering the welfare of a child

Community Supervision for Life Restrictions

The restrictions that come with Community Supervision for Life include those regarding the use of a computer or any device with access to the internet. Furthermore, parole officers may be permitted to come into the individual’s home to check on them. The individual may also be forced to obtain permission before leaving the state or country.

Can Community Supervision for Life Be Removed?

Although this supervision requirement is indefinite, there are instances where you could petition to the court to remove this consequence. You must prove that you have not committed another offense for at least 15 years and that you no longer pose a threat to society.

Requirements for Moving within New Jersey

When you move to a new address within New Jersey, you must notify the local police department where you live and where you will be moving.

Notification must be no less than ten days before you can live at your new address. In addition, if you change your job or school status, you must also notify the local police department within five days after any such change.

Failure to notify law enforcement is a fourth-degree crime that carries a penalty of up to 18 months in the New Jersey State Prison.

Requirements for Moving out of State or Into New Jersey

If you live outside of New Jersey and are required to register as a sex offender, you will need to register in New Jersey once you move there. Additionally, you may need to register if you are enrolled on a full-time or part-time basis in any public or private educational institution in this State, including:

  • Any secondary school
  • Trade or professional institution
  • Institution of higher education
  • Other post-secondary schools

You also must register if you are employed in this State, on either a full-time or a part-time basis, with or without compensation, for more than 14 consecutive days or an aggregate period exceeding 30 days in a calendar year.

If you are moving to New Jersey or returning to New Jersey from another state, you must register with the chief law enforcement officer of the town in which you will live. If the city does not have a local police force, you must register with the Superintendent of State Police within ten days of first residing in or returning.

Out of State Convictions

Conviction in another state or federal court requires registration so long as the offense is similar to the listed offenses requiring registration. For them to be similar, the following must apply:

  • The crimes contain the same essential elements
  • The underlying purposes of the crimes are consonant.

The Penalties for Violating Megan’s Law

Megan’s Law must be followed to avoid criminal punishment. Violating any of these strict guidelines can result in heavy penalties.

Failing to Report

If an individual fails to report a change of address, they can be charged with a crime. An individual must provide the necessary information to the police department, including their:

  • Name
  • Fingerprints
  • Social security number
  • Age
  • Race
  • Sex
  • Date of birth
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Hair color
  • Eye color
  • Address
  • Date
  • Place of employment

If this information goes unreported, they can be charged with the crime of Failing to Report. This is a fourth-degree crime that carries 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, re-registration is required. Failure to do so may result in a charge of failing to register.

Violation of PSL/CSL

If you violate Parole Supervision for Life or Community Supervision for Life, you can be charged with a second- or fourth-degree crime. Often, individuals are being charged with a parole violation which will be heard by a hearing officer. In that situation, individuals will be placed in custody and often will await a hearing for several months.

Violation of Condition of PSL – Second Degree

A second-degree violation of condition of PSL could result in up to 10 years in New Jersey State Prison. Some offenses that may warrant a second-degree violation include murder, felony murder, and aggravated manslaughter.

Violation of Condition of PSL – Fourth Degree

You could be guilty of a fourth-degree violation if you knowingly violate the terms of your PSL. This violation could result in up to 18 months in jail.

Can You Terminate Your Obligation to Register?

There are some instances where an individual can be removed from their 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
  • Prove they are not likely to pose a threat to the safety of others

Can Juveniles Be Removed from the Sex Offender Registry?

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 are not over the age of 18.

In 2001, the New Jersey Supreme Court held that Megan’s Law registration and community notification order for juveniles who committed an offense when they 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).

Megan’s Law Prosecutor Offices

Megan’s Law Unit
Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office
4997 Unami Blvd.
1. O. Box 2002
Mays Landing, N.J. 08330-6350
(609) 909-7800

Megan’s Law Unit
Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office
10 Main Street, Room 215
Hackensack, New Jersey 07601
(201) 646-2300

Megan’s Law Unit
Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office
New Court Facility
49 Rancocas Rd.
P.O. Box 6000
Mount Holly, New Jersey 08060
(609) 265-5035

Megan’s Law Unit
Camden County Prosecutor’s Office
25 N. 5th Street, 3rd Floor
Camden, New Jersey 08102-1231
(856) 225-8400

Megan’s Law Unit
Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office
DN-110 4 Moore Road
Cape May Court House, New Jersey 08210
(609) 465-1135

Megan’s Law Unit
Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office
43 Fayette Street
CN-01
Bridgeton, New Jersey 08302
(856) 453-0486

Megan’s Law Unit
Essex County Prosecutor’s Office
Essex County Courts Building
50 W. Market Street
Newark, New Jersey 07102
(973) 621-4700

Megan’s Law Unit
Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office
Justice Complex
Hunter & Euclid Streets
P.O. Box 623
Woodbury, New Jersey 08096
(856) 384-5500

Megan’s Law Unit
Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office
Administration Building
595 Newark Avenue
Jersey City, New Jersey 07306
(201) 795-6400

Megan’s Law Unit
Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office
Justice Complex
65 Park Avenue
P.O. Box 756
Flemington, New Jersey 08822
(908) 788-1129

Megan’s Law Unit
Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office
Court House
P.O. Box 8068
Trenton, New Jersey 08650
(609) 989-6309

Megan’s Law Unit
Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office
25 Kirkpatrick Street, 3rd Floor
New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901
(732) 745-3300

Megan’s Law Unit
Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office
71 Monument Park
Freehold, New Jersey 07728-1261
(732) 431-7160

Megan’s Law Unit
Morris County Prosecutor’s Office
Administration & Records Building
P.O. Box 900
Morristown, New Jersey 07963-0900
(973) 285-6200

Megan’s Law Unit
Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office
119 Hooper Avenue
P.O. Box 2191
Toms River, New Jersey 08754
(732) 929-2027

Megan’s Law Unit
Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office
401 Grand Street
Paterson, New Jersey 07505
(973) 881-4800

Megan’s Law Unit
Salem County Prosecutor’s Office
Fenwick Building
87 Market Street
P.O. Box 462
Salem, New Jersey 08079-0462
(856) 935-7510

Megan’s Law Unit
Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office
40 N. Bridge Street
P.O. Box 3000
Somerville, New Jersey 08876
(908) 231-7100

Megan’s Law Unit
Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office
19-21 High Street
Newton, New Jersey 07860
(973) 383-1570

Megan’s Law Unit
Union County Prosecutor’s Office
32 Rahway Avenue
Elizabeth, New Jersey 07202-2115
(908) 527-4500

Megan’s Law Unit
Warren County Prosecutor’s Office
Court House
413 2nd Street
Belvidere, New Jersey 07823
(908) 475-6275