New Jersey’s Megan’s Law requires convicted sex offenders to register for the state’s sex offender registry. If the sex offender moves, that person must update the information provided to the sex offender registry. The requirement is ongoing, unless a court order removes the offender from registration requirements.
If you are a registered sex offender in New Jersey, it is possible to eventually obtain a court order that would negate your need to continue registering as a sex offender. Your name, photo, and residence information would be removed from the registry.
The state has very specific requirements for those looking to remove themselves from Megan’s List reporting. If you want to remove the burden of registering as a convicted sex offender, the following will help you to better understand to process to do so in New Jersey.
Reporting Requirements for Megan’s Law
When convicted of certain sex crimes involving children, offenders are required to register as sex offenders on release from prison. The requirement lasts for the rest of that person’s life. However, a court could overturn it.
In New Jersey, you are subject to Megan’s Law reporting requirements if you are convicted of:
- Sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault
- Aggravated criminal sexual contact
- Child pornography
- Prostituting a child or soliciting sex from one
- Criminal sexual contact with a child under age 18
A conviction for kidnapping that includes sexual offenses against a minor could earn sex offender reporting requirements. So could a conviction for endangering a child while engaged in sexual acts that debauch or impair a child’s morals.
Penalties for Not Registering as a Sex Offender
Even after serving out a sentence for a criminal conviction, the state is very serious about the sex offender registry requirement. If you do not maintain your registration status, you could face severe penalties.
The penalties for not abiding by the sex offender registration requirements set forth by New Jersey’s Megan’s Law could put you back in prison. Anyone who does not register as a sex offender could be punished by up to five years imprisonment and a $15,000 fine.
Providing false information to the state’s sex offender registry also could lead to imprisonment and a fine. You could be sentenced to up to 18 months in prison and fined $10,000 for intentionally providing the registry with false information.
You must provide the correct information about your residence. You also must verify your residence to meet the Megan’s Law requirements.
Limitations on Megan’s Law Requirements
Megan’s Law enables those who do not have repeat offenses to be removed from sex offender registry requirements. If you were convicted of a qualifying offense but did not engage in subsequent acts for at least 15 years, you might qualify for removal from Megan’s Law requirements.
The 15 years do not start until you were released from custody. If the offense did not impose a prison sentence, you have 15 years from the date of the conviction. If you were a juvenile offender who was convicted while under age 14, the registry requirement could end on turning 18.
Whether you were convicted as an adult or were a juvenile offender, it is important to show evidence that you are not a threat to others’ safety. You also must not have any subsequent convictions of any kind.
Evidence that affirms you are not a threat to others could be provided by holding a job, obtaining a college degree, and through witness statements that affirm you are a responsible and non-threatening adult. Performing community service as a volunteer also could help to affirm that you are not a threat to others.
A mental health professional’s or similar expert’s statement affirming that you are not a threat to others would be required. The expert can submit a report along with the supporting statement.
Process for Overturning Megan’s Law Requirements
The process to get a court to overturn the requirement to register and report as a sex offender is very thorough. It takes a few months to complete but is worth the effort if your petition is approved.
It is important to note that some offenses are not eligible for removal from Megan’s Law. For example, a conviction for aggravated sexual assault would disqualify you from sex offender registration requirements.
You also might have accepted a plea bargain and pleaded guilty to a lesser offense. However, the actual offense might negate your eligibility for removal from Megan’s Law. The prosecutor in the case also might object to your request for removal.
An attorney experienced in criminal defense could help to determine your legal eligibility for removal from Megan’s Law. The lawyer also can help you to file a motion in a New Jersey court that could end the requirement to register as a sex offender.
Motion Must Have Supporting Documentation
You cannot just ask a judge to remove you from Megan’s Law after 15 years of good behavior. You must present a strong case with supporting evidence.
You will need to obtain important documents to support your motion. Those documents include the:
- Conviction judgment
- Probation record
- Police reports
- Evidence discovery from the trial
You also should provide any other documents that could help a judge to grant your motion. Your lawyer could help you to determine which records would be best to support your motion.
Once you have the necessary documents, your lawyer could file your motion. You must provide good evidence and supporting documentation that shows you are not a threat to others.
How a Mental Health Examination Works for Legal Purposes?
A mental health assessment is the tool that the New Jersey courts rely on the most to determine whether someone is a threat to others. A mental health evaluation might be court ordered or done voluntarily.
If you are subject to Megan’s Law and want to be removed from it, you need to undergo a psychological evaluation. A licensed psychiatrist or psychologist would have to conduct the mental health examination.
A mental health examination will try to determine if you are subject to one or more types of mental health issues. Factors such as bipolar disorder, depression, post-traumatic stress, and drug or alcohol addiction might have contributed to the prior crime for which you were convicted.
A mental health examination could determine whether such mental health issues are ongoing and impacting your life and decision-making. If so, the mental health professional might conclude that you are a potential threat to the safety of others.
However, if you have made significant advancements, you could be deemed a non-threat to others. It helps greatly if you are not addicted to drugs or alcohol, hold a job, are working on a college degree, or obtaining specialized training to enter into a career field. Such activities help to affirm that you are in control of your life and are non-threatening.
Your mental health assessment must include a report prepared by the individual who conducted the examination. Your attorney should include the mental health examination and accompanying report with your motion for removal from Megan’s Law.
Where to File Your Motion for Removal from Megan’s Law?
The court in which the prior conviction occurred is the one where you would need to file a motion to be removed from Megan’s Law. That is the jurisdiction where you were put on trial and convicted.
Because a particular court processed your criminal case and imposed the Megan’s Law requirement, that court is the one that would need to remove it. Therefore, the motion to remove you from Megan’s Law must be filed with the same court.
Even if you live in another jurisdiction or possibly in another state, you would have to return to that court to file your motion. There are no other courts of jurisdictions that could grant your motion to be removed from Megan’s Law.
Freehold Criminal Defense Lawyers at Ellis Law Help Qualified Clients to Overcome Megan’s Law
If you qualify for removal from Megan’s Law reporting requirements, a seasoned criminal attorney could help with the process. The Freehold criminal defense lawyers at Ellis Law will work to remove you from Megan’s Law and prove to the public you are not a threat. For a free, confidential consultation, call us at 732-308-0200 or complete our online form. We are located in Freehold, New Jersey, and help clients throughout East Brunswick, Toms River, Middletown, Jersey City, Neptune, Hudson County, Union County, Essex County, Monmouth County, Marlboro, and Ocean County, as well as Brooklyn, New York, and New York City.