Many states refer to their statutes pertaining to sex offender registries as “Megan’s Law.” New Jersey is actually where Megan’s Law originated and still exists today. While some states impose time limits on registration, others do not.
In New Jersey, sex offender registration is permanent. Defendants convicted of qualifying sex offenses must register for life. However, some offenders may petition to be removed from the registry after 15 years if certain conditions are met. Not only that, but different rules might apply to defendants who were minors when their sex offenses occurred. If you must register for life, you should speak to an attorney about staying compliant with all registration requirements.
If you or someone you know must register as a sex offender, our Atlantic City criminal defense lawyers can offer guidance and advice. Contact our team at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych. Call (609) 616-4956 and ask about a free case review.
How Long Do You have to Register as a Sex Offender in New Jersey?
Generally, when defendants are convicted of qualifying sex offenses, they must register with New Jersey’s sex offender registry. Typically, registration is for life. This is somewhat different than other states which impose time limits on registration.
Registration rules and requirements are contained under N.J.S.A. § 2C:7-2. This broad and lengthy statute spells out how and when convicted defendants are required to register, but it does not mention when registration requirements expire. This is because registration requirements never expire. Once you are required to register, you must do so for the remainder of your life.
If you are convicted of a sex offense and required to register, you should immediately speak to a lawyer about registration requirements. Our Atlantic City sex crimes defense attorneys can advise you on complying with your registration requirements and avoid further penalties.
Petitioning to be Removed from New Jersey’s Sex Offender Registry
While registration is meant to be permanent, there may be some relief for those who meet specific criteria. According to N.J.S.A. § 2C:7-2(f), you may apply to the New Jersey Superior Court and request that your registration requirements be terminated. When submitting this application, you must provide proof that you have not committed another offense in the last 15 years following your conviction or release from incarceration. You must also demonstrate that you are not a safety risk or threat to others.
Keep in mind that your application is not guaranteed to be approved even if you meet all the requirements. Not only that, but not all registrants are eligible for termination. According to N.J.S.A. § 2C:7-2(g), registrants convicted of sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, or more than one sex offense may not be eligible for termination.
Our Ocean City criminal defense attorneys can review your case with you and determine if you are eligible for termination from the sex offender registry. If you are, we can begin putting your application together. If not, we can advise you on how to remain compliant with your registration requirements.
Sex Offender Registration Requirements for Juveniles in New Jersey
Juveniles convicted of sex offenses adhere to mostly the same rules when it comes to registration. Juveniles in New Jersey are required to register as sex offenders for life just like their adult counterparts. One key difference between how juvenile registrants are treated compared to adults is termination.
Under the law, juveniles in New Jersey may apply to be removed from the sex offender registry earlier if certain conditions are met. The juvenile must have been under the age of 14 when the offense was committed. They must also be over the age of 18 when they apply to be removed from the registry.
Much like an adult offender, nothing is guaranteed when a juvenile applies for removal, even if all application criteria are satisfied. The court can deny the application if it believes that the juvenile is still a safety risk or threat to others. Alternatively, if the juvenile committed an offense that would disqualify them from removal, they cannot apply in the first place.
How to Comply with New Jersey’s Sex Offender Registry Requirements
Being on the sex offender registry comes with a number of somewhat complicated rules and procedures to follow. Not only are you required to register, but you must continue to register over time. Depending on how you are classified, you may have to register each year or several times a year. Under N.J.S.A. § 2C:7-2(a)(3), failure to register on time may lead to third-degree felony charges.
To register, you must go to your local police station and submit the proper registration forms. Our New Jersey sex crimes defense attorneys can help you find these forms and assist you in filling them out so you remain compliant with your registration requirements.
You must also update your registration information if you move. Moving out of the state may be difficult and might require advanced notice to the authorities in New Jersey in addition to authorities in your new home state. If you move to New Jersey from another state and are required to register, you typically must do so within 10 days of arriving. This includes people moving to New Jersey and those who only plan to stay temporarily for work or school.
If you change address within New Jersey, you must notify law enforcement of the move at least 10 days prior. You must also update your new address with the police immediately. All changes of address must be brought to the attention of law enforcement or you may face additional criminal charges.
Contact Our New Jersey Sex Crimes Defense Lawyers
If you were convicted of a sex offense and must register as a sex offender, our New Jersey criminal defense attorneys can help you understand your requirements and help you apply for removal if you are eligible. Call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych. Call (609) 616-4956 for a free case evaluation.