What to Expect After Becoming a Registered Sex Offender
A sex crime conviction in New Jersey can result in harsh punishments, including prison time. Moreover, the punishment for a sex crime conviction doesn’t end after you have served your time. That’s because Megan’s Law requires anyone convicted of a sexual offense to register as a sex offender. As a result, you could find yourself dealing with the consequences of one mistake for the rest of your life.
Registry in Sex Offender Databases
Under the NJ Registration and Community Notification Laws, more commonly known as Megan’s Law, a person convicted of certain sexual offenses is required to register as a sex offender with the Division of State Police. You will need to register as a sex offender regardless of whether your conviction was in New Jersey or another state.
New Jersey maintains a state registry of sex offenders and an Internet web site registry. If you are convicted of a sex crime, your name will appear in both databases. The Division of State Police will provide your information to the National Sex Offender Registry, as well as all other relevant agencies.
Some of the sexual offenses that may require sex offender registration in New Jersey include:
· Aggravated Sexual Assault
· Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact
· Endangering the Welfare of a Child
· Luring or Enticing
You will be required to register prior to your release from prison or from a supervised release program. Moreover, within 48 hours of your release, you will also need to register with the chief law enforcement officer of the municipality in which you reside.
If you fail to comply with Megan’s Law requirements, you can be charged with Failure to Register as a Sex Offender. This is a third degree felony in New Jersey and carries a potential punishment of 3-5 years in NJ State Prison.
Community Notification Requirements under Megan’s Law
Megan’s Law also imposes a community notification requirement. Prior to your release from prison, the prosecutor’s office in the county where you were convicted will evaluate your case and place you into one of three categories or tiers – with the tiers distinguished by the level of risk you pose of re-offending in the future. The community notification procedures vary, depending on the tier in which you have been placed. Since the classification is subject to judicial review, it may be possible for a criminal defense attorney to challenge your initial classification and petition the court to place you in a lower-risk tier.
One aspect of the community notification procedures is law enforcement going door-to-door and notifying your neighbors and local organizations about your presence in the neighborhood. These individuals and groups will be provided with your name, your physical description, and your address.
Knowingly providing false information about your place of residence when registering is a fourth degree felony and could result in you being sentenced to up to 18 months in New Jersey State Prison.
Verification of Your Address under Megan’s Law
If you have been placed into the highest-risk tier, you will need to verity your address with your local police department every 90 days. If you have been placed into a lower-risk tier, you will have to verify your address every year.
In the event that you move, you will need to notify the local police departments in both your old municipality and your new municipality. You must report a change of address at least 10 days prior to establishing a new residence. Failure to notify law enforcement about a change in residence is a fourth degree felony and carries a penalty of up to 18 months in state prison.
The same strict requirements apply when you change your place of employment and when your school enrollment status changes. If you fail to notify law enforcement about these changes within five days, you will also face serious prison time.
If you have been accused of a sex crime in Atlantic County or anywhere else in New Jersey, it is crucial that you have an experienced criminal defense attorney representing you. The experienced, aggressive criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty can help you fight your charges. Contact us immediately to schedule a free consultation.