What is Megan’s Law and How Does it Work in NJ?
New Jersey’s Sex Offender Registry, which is more commonly known and referred to as Megan’s Law was enacted in October of 1994. Megan’s Law is named after Megan Kanka, a seven year old from Hamilton Township who was brutally raped and murdered by a neighbor who was a twice convicted sex offender. The general purpose behind enacting Megan’s Law was to create a system of registration, one that would alert local law enforcement of convicted sex offenders living within their community. It is a tiered system that requires different levels of notification based on what tier the individual is classified as. Although the main goal of Megan’s Law is to promote community awareness it also is geared to try and prevent repeat offenders and provided enhanced treatment to those in need. It is important to note here that this applies to both adults and juveniles. Unless the underlying conviction was for aggravated sexual assault or sexual assault, an individual placed on Megan’s Law could petition the court to be removed if certain conditions are met.
Will I Be Placed on Megan’s Law in New Jersey?
Megan’s Law is in essence a component of a sentence. The underlying criminal charge and in some cases the specific subsection will dictate whether or not an individual must be placed on the registry. Here is a complete list of crimes in New Jersey that mandate an individual be placed on the registry if they plead guilty to or found guilty of:
- Criminal Restraint
- False Imprisonment
- Promoting Prostitution of a Child
It is important to note here that a conviction for an attempt to commit any of the above crimes will also subject an individual to the register. Also, not everyone of the offenses above will be forced to register, in some instances, only certain subsections of the crimes will require register. Here is a complete list of the statutes and there subsections where registry is mandatory: N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2a (1) -(7); N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2b; N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2c (1) – (4); N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3a; N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3b if the victim is less than 18; N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4a -sexual conduct; N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b (3); N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b (4); N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b (5); N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4b (5)(b); N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4.1a; N.J.S.A. 2C:13-6; N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1(c); N.J.S.A. 2C:13-2; N.J.S.A. 2C:13-3; N.J.S.A. 2C:34-1(3) or (4)
Can I Be Removed From Megan’s Law in Mercer County?
Pursuant to NJSA 2C:7-2f, certain sex offenders may petition the court to be removed from the registry. In order to removed from the Megan’s Law, certain condition must be met. They are as follows:
- The individual petitioning the court must not have committed an offense within the last fifteen years (date of conviction or release, whichever is later controls);
- The individual must not pose a threat to the safety of others
- In order to convince the court that the individual does not pose a threat to the safety of others an evaluation by a physician.
- In addition, the individual must not have been convicted of one of the above enumerated offenses (see above) on more than one occasion and that conviction can not be for aggravated sexual assault (N.J.S.2C:14-2(a) or sexual assault (N.J.S.2C:14(c)1).
NJSA 2C:7-2f specifically states:
- Except as provided in subsection g. of this section, a person required to register under this act 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.
What if I was Placed on Megan’s Law as a Juvenile?
If the individual was a under the age of fourteen at the time of the offense and was not convicted of either aggravated sexual assault or sexual assault then they can petition the court to be remove once they turn eighteen. With that being said, they will still need to follow the proper procedure and a formal motion will need to be filed. Furthermore, the New Jersey Supreme Court recently ruled in State of New Jersey In the Interest of C.K., that the lifetime ban for juveniles convicted of certain sex offenses (aggravated sexual assault / sexual assault) is unconstitutional and that they can petition the court for removal if they otherwise satisfies the conditions of NJSA 2C:7-2f.
Do I Have to File a Motion to be Removed from Megan’s Law in Trenton?
If the individual satisfies the conditions of NJSA 2C:7-2f they may petition the court to be removed from the registry. In order to petition the court to be removed, a formal motion to removed must be filed with the court. This motion should include the evaluation as well. Once the motion is formally filed, the judge will set a hearing date. At the formal hearing, it will be on defense counsel to convince the Judge by clear and convincing evidence that the individual does not pose a threat to the safety to the community and that they can be removed from the registry.
Need Local Defense Attorney in Mercer County for Megan’s Law Removal
Keith Oliver Criminal Law fully understands the consequences of being forced to register under Megan’s Law. That is why we strongly recommend that if you or a loved one is eligible to be removed from the registry that you speak to an attorney about your options. Our office serves all of Mercer County, including towns like West Windsor, Hamilton, East Windsor, Ewing, Lawrenceville, Trenton, Robbinsville, Princeton, Hightstown and Hopewell. To speak to one of our Mercer County Megan’s Law defense attorneys today, then please call our Hamilton office at 609-789-0779 or you can try contacting us online.