New Jersey has some of the toughest laws in the country for people convicted of sex crimes. Individuals not only face prison and the stigma of being labeled a sex offender, but they also must try to abide by a laundry list of restrictions and rules under Megan’s Law, including Parole Supervision for Life.
The consequences for a sex crime conviction could not be more serious. That is why it is critical that anyone facing charges for a sex crime obtain skilled legal counsel. The attorneys at Law Offices of John J. Zarych are known for their aggressive defense tactics. John Zarych has built a national reputation as a defender of adults with autism who have been accused of sex crimes.
If you are accused of a sex crime in Northfield or Cape May, you have too much to lose if you do not hire the right lawyer. Do not take chances with your future. Call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956 for a complimentary confidential consultation. You can also reach us online.
What is Megan’s Law?
New Jersey’s enactment of Megan’s Law changed the landscape for individuals convicted of a sex offense. Megan’s Law was named after a girl named Megan Kanka, who was murdered by a neighbor after he sexually assaulted her. The purpose of the law is to put members of the public on notice of the presence of a convicted sex offender in the community.
Megan’s Law requires individuals who were convicted of certain sex offenses, such as sexual assault or aggravated sexual contact, to register where they live with local law enforcement and to keep police informed when they move.
Our goal is to help our clients fight charges that would result in mandatory sex offender registration. This requires detailed investigation of the underlying charges and evidence.
What Criminal Offenses Require Defendants to Register as Sex Offenders in New Jersey?
In New Jersey, certain offenses mandate sex offender registration. These offenses encompass sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child, criminal sexual contact involving a child, aggravated criminal sexual contact, promoting prostitution of a child, kidnapping, luring or enticing, false imprisonment, and criminal restraint.
Being convicted, found guilty by reason of insanity, or adjudicated delinquent for any of these offenses necessitates registration. To register, individuals must submit a form containing personal details, such as their address and place of employment, to the local police department. If there are any changes in address or employment, they must promptly notify law enforcement.
Sex offenders are required to remain registered for life, and failure to comply may result in the charge of a fourth-degree crime. If you were accused of a sex crime, then assistance from our criminal defense attorneys can be crucial when fighting to avoid mandatory sex offender registration.
The Notification Process for Registered Sex Offenders in New Jersey
Upon receiving your registration, the local police department will forward your forms to county prosecutors for a risk assessment, evaluating the likelihood of reoffending. Subsequently, you will be categorized into one of three tiers based on the level of risk you pose to the community. Tier 1 includes low-risk individuals, Tier 2 comprises moderate-risk offenders, while Tier 3 encompasses those deemed to pose the highest risk to their communities.
As a registered sex offender, the notification process varies depending on your tier classification. Tier 1 offenders’ registration will be notified only to local law enforcement agencies. For Tier 2 offenders, the notification extends to law enforcement agencies, licensed day care centers, schools, summer camps, and registered community organizations. In contrast, Tier 3 offenders’ information is made public, and residents are personally notified about the location of all Tier 3 offenders in their neighborhoods. Local police officers, state police officers, or investigators from county prosecutors’ offices are responsible for providing these notifications.
Regardless of the tier classification, the notifications will contain essential information about the offender, including their name, description, photograph, address, place of employment or school, license plate number, vehicle description, and a description of their offense.
Disputing Your Sex Offender Tier in New Jersey
After your tier has been established, the local prosecutor’s office will inform you of the determination. Within 14 days of receiving this notification, you will have the option to contest the prosecutor’s decision. When appealing the tier decision, it is essential to have competent legal representation to safeguard your rights and interests effectively.
How Parole Supervision for Life Works
In 2004, Megan’s Law was made tougher by the addition of Parole Supervision for Life. Parole Supervision for Life (PSL) is different from other forms of parole. It is highly invasive. Individuals convicted of a sex offense must submit to searches of their homes or themselves by a parole officer if they are suspected of violating the terms of parole. They may also be forced to take a polygraph once a year.
Parole Supervision for Life touches almost every aspect of an individual’s life. Individuals may have their Internet use monitored and are prohibited from creating profiles on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The worst part of Parole Supervision for Life is that it does not terminate. The only way for an individual to get off PSL is to petition the parole board after 15 years. The parole board must be convinced that the individual is no longer a threat to the community and there have not been any other offenses committed in the interim time.
According to N.J.A.C. § 10A:71-6.12, Parole Supervision for Life individuals convicted of committing or attempting to commit the following offenses may be sentenced to Parole Supervision for Life:
- Sexual assault
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Aggravated criminal sexual contact
- Endangering the welfare of a child
- Child luring
Evidence Used to Petition for Termination of Parole Supervision for Life
When seeking to be released from “Parole Supervision for Life” (PSL) or any other form of lifetime parole, defendants may present various types of evidence to demonstrate that they are no longer a threat to their community. Examples of such evidence include the following:
Rehabilitation and Treatment
Defendants seeking to demonstrate that they are no longer a threat to the community can present evidence of their successful completion of rehabilitation programs and therapy. This can include certificates, records, or testimonials from licensed professionals or counselors indicating progress and positive behavioral changes. Evidence of consistent participation in treatment programs may illustrate the defendant’s commitment to addressing the underlying issues contributing to their past offenses.
Employment and Education History
Showing stable employment and educational achievements can be influential evidence. Steady employment indicates responsibility and stability, while further education can demonstrate a willingness to improve oneself and acquire new skills. Records of academic accomplishments, diplomas, and employment history can help convince the parole board that the defendant is leading a productive and law-abiding life.
Letters of support and character references from family members, friends, employers, or community members can provide valuable insights into the defendant’s current standing in society. Positive testimonials highlighting the individual’s commitment to positive change, involvement in community activities, and contributions to society can demonstrate that the person is not a threat to public safety.
Mental Health Assessments
Comprehensive mental health evaluations conducted by qualified professionals can be critical evidence. A favorable assessment can indicate that any mental health issues contributing to past criminal behavior have been addressed and managed effectively. It may also demonstrate the defendant’s ability to make responsible decisions and maintain emotional stability.
Evidence of the defendant’s involvement in community support groups or volunteer work can be compelling. Active participation in organizations focused on rehabilitation, supporting victims, or promoting public safety can showcase the individual’s dedication to reform and integration into society.
Past Behavior and Track Record
Providing evidence of law-abiding behavior during the period of parole supervision can be persuasive. This includes records of compliance with parole conditions, lack of criminal charges or convictions, and any commendations for good behavior or achievements during the parole period.
Risk Assessment Evaluations
A comprehensive risk assessment conducted by professionals specializing in sex offender risk assessment can be useful evidence. The evaluation should address the defendant’s current risk level and the potential for reoffending. A low-risk assessment can support the argument that the individual no longer poses a threat to the community.
Talk to Our Attorneys About Building Your Sex Crimes Defense
Our lawyers understand what is at stake for individuals charged with these offenses, and we know how to build an effective defense. We fight aggressively for our clients’ rights. We frequently appear in Atlantic and Cape May county courthouses as well as many other counties in New Jersey.
If you are facing sex crime charges, get help from a skilled defense firm. Schedule a free consultation by completing our online form or calling us toll free at (609) 616-4956.