In 1994, New Jersey adopted mandatory sex offender registration and community notification under "Megan's Law". This complex set of statutes is intended to counteract the risk of recidivism through a system of registration and supervision for those convicted of Megan's Law eligible sex crimes. If you have been charged with sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child based on sexual conduct or criminal sexual contact with a minor, you need to successfully defend your case in order to avoid mandatory registration as a sex offender. The lawyers at Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall can help you achieve this goal. We are former prosecutors and savvy defense attorneys with over 100 years in practice combined. A lawyer who is highly knowledgeable in Megan's Law is available for free consultations 24/7 at (732) 286-6500. An attorney is ready to assist you now.Sex Offenses That Fall Under Megan’s Law
A person is required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law if they have been convicted, adjudicated delinquent or found not guilty by reason of insanity for commission of a qualifying sex crime. Qualifying sex crimes include:
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Sexual assault
- Aggravated criminal sexual contact
- Endangering the welfare of a child by engaging in sexual conduct which would impair or debauch the morals of the child
- Knowingly promoting the prostitution of a child
If you are required to register, the appropriate form of registration will be a statement in writing signed by the person required to register acknowledging that the person has been advised of the duty to register and reregister imposed by this act and including the person’s name, social security number, age, race, sex, date of birth, height, weight, hair and eye color, address of legal residence, address of any current temporary residence, and date and place of employment. It must also include the date and place of each conviction, adjudication or acquittal by reason of insanity, indictment number, fingerprints, a brief description of the crime or crimes for which registration is required, and any other information that the Attorney General deems necessary to assess risk of future commission of a crime, including criminal and corrections records, non-privileged personnel, treatment, and abuse registry records, and evidentiary genetic markers when available.
The extent to which this information is then sent out to the public in the form of a public notification is dependent upon the risk of future offenses as assessed based on the following factors:
- Conditions of release that minimize risk of re-offense, including but not limited to whether the offender is under supervision of probation or parole; receiving counseling, therapy or treatment; or residing in a home situation that provides guidance and supervision;
- Physical conditions that minimize risk of re-offense, including but not limited to advanced age or debilitating illness;
- Criminal history factors indicative of high risk of re-offense, including whether the offender’s conduct was found to be characterized by repetitive and compulsive behavior, the offender served the maximum term, and/or committed the sex offense against a child;
- Other criminal history factors to be considered in determining risk, including the relationship between the offender and the victim, involvement of a weapon, violence, or infliction of serious bodily injury, the number, date and nature of prior offenses, psychological or psychiatric profiles indicate a risk of recidivism, the offender’s response to treatment, recent behavior, including behavior while confined or while under supervision in the community as well as behavior in the community following service of sentence and recent threats against persons or expressions of intent to commit additional crimes.
Based on the weighing of these factors, there are three levels of community notification that can be required. If risk of re-offense is low, law enforcement agencies likely to encounter the person registered shall be notified. If risk of re-offense is moderate, organizations in the community including schools, religious and youth organizations shall be notified in accordance with the Attorney General’s guidelines, in addition to the notice required to police. If risk of re-offense is high, the public shall be notified through means in accordance with the Attorney General’s guidelines designed to reach members of the public likely to encounter the person registered in addition to the notice required for low and moderate offenders.Internet Registration Under Megan’s Law
The internet component that was added in 2001 requires that the information concerning a registered offender to be made publicly available on the Internet shall include: the offender’s name and any aliases the offender has used or under which the offender may be or may have been known; any sex offense for which the offender was convicted, adjudicated delinquent or acquitted by reason of insanity, as the case may be; the date and location of disposition; a brief description of any such offense, including the victim’s gender and indication of whether the victim was less than 18 years old or less than 13 years old; a general description of the offender’s modus operandi, if any; the determination of whether the risk of re-offense by the offender is moderate or high; the offender’s age, race, sex, date of birth, height, weight, hair, eye color and any distinguishing scars or tattoos; a photograph of the offender and the date on which the photograph was entered into the registry; the make, model, color, year and license plate number of any vehicle operated by the offender; and the street address, zip code, municipality and county in which the offender resides.
However, it is important to note that internet registry, because of its potential for harassment of accused and convicted sex offenders is only required for those with a high or moderate risk of re-offense and even those with moderate risk of re-offense are sometimes not subject to internet registry.
This basic understanding of how Megan’s Law works is important when one considers that anyone who commits one of these above offenses can potentially be branded for life in their community and on the Internet as a sex offender. Having competent representation to minimize your exposure to laws that have Megan’s Law consequences is an absolute must.
Here at Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, we have over 100 years collective experience defending against sexual assault offenses and minimizing our client’s exposure to Megan’s Law consequences in Ocean County. Contact our Toms River Office at (732) 286-6500 to speak to one of our defense lawyers immediately. Initial consultation with an attorney are always without charge.