Due to a 1994 incident involving a young girl named Megan Kanka and an older male, there was public outrage and demand for greater access to public information regarding the identity and whereabouts of previously convicted sex offenders who might prove a threat to the safety of those in the community. This resulted in what is now referred to as Megan’s Law (formally called Registration and Community Notification Laws). Under N.J.S.A. 2C:7-1 through N.J.S.A. 2C:7-18, certain sex offenders are required to register with a state website registry that provides community notifications based on the individual’s movements. While many individuals challenged the constitutionality of this law, the New Jersey Supreme Court in Doe v. Poritz, ruled that Megan’s Law was constitutional. The exact requirements and restrictions applicable under Megan’s Law are based on the criminal violation and individual “tier” assessment. Failure to register will result in a fourth degree criminal charge under N.J.S.A. 2C:7-2.
The purpose of Megan’s Law is to provide pertinent information to law enforcement and, in appropriate circumstances, to neighbors, parents and children, as well as community organizations which care for or supervise women or children. It is hoped that, armed with knowledge of the descriptions and whereabouts of sex offenders and pedophiles, community members will be in the best possible position to protect their children and themselves. As a result, individuals convicted of certain sex offenses are forced to register with the embarrassing and career-altering website registry accessible by the public.
What Crimes Require You To Register Under Megan’s Law?
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:7-2, you are required to register under Megan’s Law for the following criminal offenses or juvenile adjudications:
Aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual contact, kidnapping pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:13-1 or an attempt to commit any of these crimes if the court found that the offender’s conduct was characterized by a pattern of repetitive, compulsive behavior, regardless of the date of the commission of the offense or the date of conviction;
A conviction, adjudication of delinquency, or acquittal by reason of insanity for aggravated sexual assault; sexual assault; aggravated criminal sexual contact; kidnapping pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection c. of N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1; endangering the welfare of a child by engaging in sexual conduct which would impair or debauch the morals of the child pursuant to subsection a. of N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4; endangering the welfare of a child pursuant to paragraph (4) of subsection b. of N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4; luring or enticing pursuant to section 1 N.J.S.A. 2C:13-6; criminal sexual contact pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3b. if the victim is a minor; kidnapping pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1, criminal restraint pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:13-2, or false imprisonment pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:13-3 if the victim is a minor and the offender is not the parent of the victim; knowingly promoting prostitution of a child pursuant to paragraph (3) or paragraph (4) of subsection b. of N.J.S.A. 2C:34-1; or an attempt to commit any of these enumerated offenses if the conviction, adjudication of delinquency or acquittal by reason of insanity is entered on or after the effective date of this act or the offender is serving a sentence of incarceration, probation, parole or other form of community supervision as a result of the offense or is confined following acquittal by reason of insanity or as a result of civil commitment on the effective date of this act;
A conviction, adjudication of delinquency or acquittal by reason of insanity for an offense similar to any offense enumerated in paragraph (2) or a sentence on the basis of criteria similar to the criteria set forth in paragraph (1) of this subsection entered or imposed under the laws of the United States, this State or another state.
What Information is Available Under Megan’s Law Registration in New Jersey?
This sex offender Internet registry includes information pertaining to sex offenders determined to pose a relatively high risk of re-offense (tier 3 offenders) and, with certain exceptions, information about sex offenders found to pose a moderate risk of re-offense (tier 2 offenders). The Internet registry excludes any information about offenders determined to present a low risk of re-offense (tier 1 offenders). Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:7-13, the following information may be disclosed to the public under the registry:
The offender’s name and address
Any aliases used by the offender
Any Megan’s Law sex offenses committed by the offender, including a brief description and the date and location of disposition of any such offense
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.
How Can I Get Removed from Megan’s Law Registry?
If you are required to register under Megan’s Law, then you may make application to the Superior Court of this State to terminate the obligation upon proof that the person has not committed an offense within 15 years following conviction or release from a correctional facility for any term of imprisonment imposed, whichever is later, and is not likely to pose a threat to the safety of others. The last part is the most difficult hurdle and you should consult with an attorney about what recent case law has held to qualify as “threat to the safety of others” in New Jersey.
However, a person required to register under this section who has been convicted of, adjudicated delinquent, or acquitted by reason of insanity for more than one sex offense as defined in subsection b. of this section or who has been convicted of, adjudicated delinquent, or acquitted by reason of insanity for aggravated sexual assault pursuant to subsection a. of N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2 or sexual assault pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection c. of N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2 is not eligible to be removed from Megan’s Law at any point.
Is It Illegal For Someone to Use Megan’s Law Registration Information Against Me?
Yes. Information provided to the central registry under Megan’s Law, while public, cannot be used in certain situations. Specifically, use of any of the information disclosed pursuant to this act for the purpose of applying for, obtaining, or denying any of the following, is prohibited:
Education, scholarships, or fellowships;
Benefits, privileges, or services provided by any business establishment, unless for a purpose consistent with the enhancement of public safety; or
Housing or accommodations.
If you believe that your status on Megan’s Law has been used illegal to prohibit you from obtaining one of the above-listed services/benefits, please contact our office.
Megan’s Law Removal Attorneys Burlington County NJ
If you are facing criminal charges likesexual assault or criminal sexual contact and you would like to consult with an attorney, please contact our office at (609) 850-8284. Alternatively, if you were previously convicted of one of these offenses and you are now seeking to be removed from Megan’s Law, our office will gladly consult with you about your eligibility and how the process can be started.
Our phones are answered 24 hours a day. We are available weekdays during business hours. We also meet with clients on evenings and weekends by request. We have four office locations conveniently located in Mount Laurel, Point Pleasant, Princeton and Middletown. All major credit cards are accepted.