Megan’s Law in New Jersey
Megan’s Law, also known as Sex Offender Registration, applies to anyone convicted of specific sexual offenses. Enacted in October 1994, this law requires any individual convicted of a sexual related offense in New Jersey to register with the local police department and may additionally require the notification of local schools near the offender’s home and place of business. Depending on one’s associated risk to the public, a photo of the registrant may also be placed in an online internet database of Megan’s Law offenders. This can be a traumatic and serious experience for the registrant and their family.
Typically Megan’s Law Registration is required if an individual is convicted of any of the following:
- 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 those required to register under Megan’s Law. Tier I refers to a low risk sexual offender, Tier II refers to a moderate risk offender, and Tier III classifies high risk offenders. Each tier has different public notification requirements. The classification of the registrant is determined by the County Prosecutor’s Office and is based on a point system involving many factors. To classify an individual into a specific Tier, the Prosecutor’s Office takes into consideration 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.
Tier Classification Appeal
Based on the point system of the prosecutor, a sex offender who is required to register under Megan’s Law is classified as a Tier I, Tier II, or Tier III risk level. A score of less than 37 indicates Tier I, a score between 37 and 73 indicated Tier II offender, and a score of greater than 73 indicated a high risk Tier II offender. It is possible that mistakes can be made in the scoring process. An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to file an appeal of the classification. The appeal will then be litigated at a formal hearing before a Superior Court Judge. If you have been classified at a higher Tier than necessary for your crime, this will effect who is notified of the registrant’s status. A higher tier could require additional notification of schools around the home and business of the accused as well as photos placed online to be easily found by the general public. Because the time frame to file for an appeal of the classification is narrow, contact an experienced attorney right away to make sure you are not classified as a greater risk than you deserve.
Motion to be Removed from Megan’s Law
If you have been convicted of sexual related offense and must register under Megan’s Law, skilled criminal defense attorneys such as those at Ellis Law may be able to file for a Motion to be Removed from Megan’s Law Registration requirements or removed from Community Supervision for life. This can apply if you have been on Megan’s Law for 15 years with no other convictions during this time. Contact our offices for immediate assistance or with any questions regarding Megan’s Law in the State of New Jersey.
An individual required to register under Megan’s Law may apply to the Superior Court to terminate their registration. This appeal requires proof that the individual is not a threat to the safety of others and has not committed any offenses within 15 years of their conviction or release from a correctional facility. The motion is filed to the Chief Judge in the County in which the defendant resides and is registered. You may no longer fall under Megan’s Law pending the proof that the registrant is no longer a threat, has not been convicted of any offenses which bar their removal for Megan’s Law Registration, and upon completion of a comprehensive psychological evaluation.