Sex Offender Registration in NJ
In wake of the well publicized sexual assault and murder of Megan Kanka, the New Jersey Legislature established requirements for mandatory registration of sex offenders. This law is contained at N.J.S.A. 2C:7-1 and is known as Megan’s Law. There are two (2) major components to this law — imposition of a requirement that individuals subject to the law register with law enforcement and second that there exist means for community notification of the identity, location and other information concerning a registered sex offender. If you wait to avoid falling under Megan’s Law, you need to make sure that you are not convicted of an offense that would trigger registration. Our attorneys can help you achieve this result. Give us a call for a free initial consultation at 862-203-4070.
What Offenses Require Registration under Megan’s Law?
There are two categories of offenses which require registration in New Jersey. The first category requires registration regardless of the date of the commission of the offense or the date of the conviction. If an individual has a conviction that falls within this category, then they must registration. Convictions falling within this category include aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual contact, and kidnapping where there was a sexual assault or sexual contact with a child under 16, where endangering the welfare of a child was committed based on a sexual act, or where the victim was sold for economic gain. The second category of offenses requiring registration are those occurring after October 31, 1994. This category includes the following types of offenses:
- aggravated sexual assault;
- sexual assault;
- aggravated criminal sexual contact;
- person who distributes the photo or reproduction or receives the photograph or reproduction for purposes of distributing it;
- knowingly promoting prostitution of a child;
- luring or enticing a child for purposes of committing an offense with or against the child;
- criminal sexual contact offenses when the victim is under the age of 18;
- certain kidnapping crimes:
- sexual assault of sexual contact where victim was less than sixteen;
- sexual act committed during kidnapping and endangering the welfare of a child; or
- the kidnapper sold or delivered the victim to another person for pecuniary gain
- certain endangering the welfare crimes:
- endangering by engaging in sexual conduct which would impair or debauch the morals of the child;
- endangering the welfare of a child by photographing or filming a child in a prohibited sexual act or in simulation of a such an act or who uses any device including a computer to reproduce or reconstruct the image of a child in a prohibited sexual act or in simulation of such an act.
When Do You Register as a Sex Offender?
Persons whose offenses fall within the first category must verify their address with the appropriate law enforcement agency every 90 days. Other offenders must verify their address annually.
What are the Penalties for Failing to Register as a Sex Offender?
It is a crime of the third degree for a person who has been either convicted, adjudicated delinquent or found not guilty by reason of insanity for the commission of a registration required offense, to fail to register as required by Megan’s Law. If convicted, the defendant will face a $15,000 fine and a term of incarceration of up to five (5) years.
It is a crime of the fourth degree for a person who has been either convicted, adjudicated delinquent or found not guilty by reason of insanity for the commission of a Megan Offense to knowingly provide false information concerning his place of residence or to fail to annually verify his address. If convicted, the defendant will face a $10,000 fine and a term of incarceration up to eighteen (18) months.
Does The Sexual Offender Registration Requirement End?
There are certain persons who are not eligible to terminate the registration obligation. These are persons who have been either convicted or adjudicated delinquent for more than one sex offense which required registration or someone convicted of aggravated sexual assault or sexual assault in which an act of sexual penetration has been committed using physical force or coercion.
Generally, if you have been convicted of a crime requiring registration, there is a fifteen (15) year period before you may terminate required registration. The applicant has the burden of proving that fifteen (15) years have elapsed following the conviction or if there has been a confinement, fifteen (15) years from the release from a correctional facility during which time the applicant has not committed an offense. Most importantly, it must be proven that the applicant is not likely to pose a threat to the safety of others.
Megan’s Law for Juveniles
With respect to juveniles adjudicated delinquent for sexual offenses committed when they were under the age of fourteen (14), registration and community notification orders may terminate at eighteen (18). Before the court will grant this, the juvenile will have to demonstrate that they are not likely to pose a threat to the safety of others.