Federal Megan’s Law was enacted as a subsection of the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act of 1994, which merely required sex offenders to register with local law enforcement. The Megan’s Law sex offender Internet registration in New Jersey was initially signed into law in 2001. Subsequently, on October 31, 1994, New Jersey enacted the Megan’s Law sex offender registration and community notification provisions were signed into law.
New Jersey lawmakers enacted this law partially because:
The danger of recidivism posed by sex offenders and offenders who commit other predatory acts against children, and the dangers posed by persons who prey on others as a result of mental illness, require a system of registration that will permit law enforcement officials to identify and alert the public when necessary for the public safety. 2C:7-1
Because of New Jersey, Lawmaker’s concerns that sex offenders would repeat their crimes they required and implemented a system to register and keep track of all those who have been convicted of certain sexual crimes.
Who has to Register under Megan’s Law?
Megan’s Law, which is also known as Sex Offender Registration, applies to any person who has been convicted of certain sexual offenses as outlined in the statute. Megan’s Law has been in place for close to two decades and requires any individual convicted of a sexually related offense in New Jersey to register with the local police department. In addition, a person who has been convicted of any of the offenses, which would require Megan’s Law registration, may be required to notify any local schools, as well as any places of businesses that may be in close proximity. In addition, your photo may be placed on an Internet database for Megan’s Law offenders depending on the severity of the charge. These requirements can cause a person a great deal of embarrassment and cause them to be isolated from the rest of the community.
As stated in the New Jersey Megan’s Law, a person is required to register if they are convicted of any one or more of the following crimes:
- Statutory Rape
- Sexual Assault
- Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact
- Child Pornography
- Sexual Contact with a Minor (Endangering the Welfare of a Child)
- Enticing or Luring a minor
- Kidnapping of a minor (if the individual is not a parent)
- False Imprisonment of a minor (if the individual is not a parent)
- Criminal Restraint of a minor (if the individual is not a parent)
There are three tiers of classification for a person who has been convicted of any of the above-mentioned offenses and is thus required to register under Megan’s Law.
- Tier I – A tier I classification denotes that the registers person is considered to be a low-risk sexual offender.
- Tier II – a Tier II classification establishes that the convicted party should be considered a moderate risk offender.
- Tier III – a Tier II classification is reserved for the most serious offenses and being placed in this tier denoted that you are considered a high-risk offender.
Depending on the tier a person is assigned to they will have different public notification requirements. This classification system is determined by the County Prosecutor’s Office. To make their decision about the classification a person will be placed under they take into account the registrant’s criminal history, the nature of the prior offense, counseling or rehabilitation that has occurred since the offense, and community support for the registrant. An experienced defense attorney should represent you during a Tier Classification Hearing, which occurs before a Superior Court Judge in your county.
Is Removal from Megan’s Law Possible?
Many people are curious if they are able to be removed from Megan’s Law registration, or if they are required to stay on the list for their entire lives. While it is not something the court will hand out for any reason.
An individual who has been convicted of any of the above-mentioned sexual offenses and is thus required to register under Megan’s Law may apply to the Superior Court to terminate their registration. However, this is not an easy task and the court will examine any application to be removed from the registration with a narrow focus. In order to file an effective appeal, you will need to demonstrate to the court that you do not pose a threat to the safety of others. In addition, to being removed from Megan’s Law registration requirements, you will need to demonstrate that you have not committed any offense with the previous 15 years of your conviction and subsequent release from jail and or any other correctional facility the court may sentence you to. In addition, the court will generally require that a person undergoes a comprehensive psychological evaluation before they will approve a previously registered person to be removed from all Megan’s Law registration requirements. In these situations, it is good practice to have an attorney file this application on your behalf.
Contact an Atlantic City Criminal Attorney if You’re Facing Megan’s Law Registration
If you have been charged with a sexual crime in New Jersey you may face strict prison sentences, harsh penalties, and be required to register under Megan’s Law as a sex offender. When the consequences are so severe, do not trust your case to just any attorney. John J. Zarych and his team of attorneys have served New Jersey residents for over 40 years in all criminal matters. No matter the case, we will provide aggressive representation to help protect your rights. Contact an Atlantic City criminal defense lawyer and schedule a free and confidential consultation at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych by calling (609) 616-4956 or contact our firm online.