Understanding the requirements of Megan’s Law is an important step for individuals trying to move on after a sex crime conviction. Under this law, individuals convicted of certain crimes must register with a state program providing addresses of their residence and place of employment. Certain notifications must be made to the public about the location of registered sex offenders. Following the reporting and notification requirements under Megan’s Law is a necessary part of the rehabilitation process for convicted individuals.
A person who has been convicted, found not guilty by reason of insanity, or is an adjudicated delinquent for the commission of specified sex offenses must follow the registration requirements.
The sex offenses include:
- Aggravated criminal sexual conduct
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Certain kidnapping crimes
- Criminal restraint or false imprisonment of a minor
- Criminal sexual conduct
- Endangering the welfare of a child by engaging in sexual conduct, which would impair or debauch the morals of a child
- Knowingly promoting prostitution of a child
- Luring or enticing
- Sexual assault
A conviction of Attempt to Commit any of the listed crimes could also result in required registration.
Individuals who need to register must do so at the time they are placed under community supervision as part of their probation, parole, furlough, work release, or other community supervision program. Those individuals serving time in a correctional or juvenile facility must register prior to their release back into the community. Change and verification of address, which typically occur every 90 days, must also be reported in a timely manner. New Jersey requires the names of convicted sex offenders be entered into an online sex offender registry.
Individuals who were convicted of a sex offense and are returning or moving to New Jersey must also register. Within 70 days of the move, the individual must register with their new municipality or the Superintendent of State Police. Individuals required to register as sex offenders, but fail to do so, can be charged with a fourth-degree crime.
Megan’s Law also requires communities be notified when a registered sex offender resides or works in the area. The type of notice depends on the likelihood the individual will recommit the crime. Factors used to determine the extent of notification required include the amount of time served for the conviction, advanced age or debilitating illness of the convicted sex offender, whether a weapon was used in the commission of the sex offense, age of the victim, treatment received by the offender, history of threatening behavior, number of prior offenses, and the psychological profile of the offender.
For cases where low risk of reoffending is found, notification must be made only to those law enforcement agencies the registered offender is likely to encounter. In cases of moderate reoffending risk, community organizations, including schools, sport organizations, and church programs must also be notified. When the factors indicate a high risk of re-offense, notification to the broader community is required.
Seeking Removal from the Registry
Convicted sex offenders do not need to remain on the registry for the rest of their lives. Individuals who can submit proof they have not committed an offense within 15 years after their conviction or release from prison can apply to the New Jersey Superior Court to end their reporting obligations. With the assistance of an experienced sex crime defense lawyer, the applicant can show the Court they are not likely to pose a threat to the safety of others in the future.
Misuse of Disclosed Information
The civil rights of registered sex offenders cannot be violated by the inappropriate use of the information found in the Megan’s Law registry. Registry information cannot be used to deny insurance, loans, credit, education, scholarships, or other benefits. When this occurs, a registered sex offender is entitled to enforce their own legal rights.
A South Jersey Sex Crime Defense Lawyer at Agre & St. John Protects the Rights of Individuals Accused of Sex Crimes
If you or a loved one was arrested or charged with a sex crime or has questions about whether the requirements of Megan’s Law apply to you, the experienced South Jersey sex crime defense lawyers at Agre & St. John are ready to assist you. With offices conveniently located in Haddonfield, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, and Salem County. Call us today to schedule a confidential consultation at 856-428-7797 or submit an online inquiry form.