Sexual offender registration in New Jersey
People convicted of sex crimes may be required to register with local police departments when out of jail.
Since 1994, New Jersey has adopted what is known as Megan's Law. According to the United States Department of Justice, this law went into effect after the sexual offense of a girl named Megan. It requires that convicted sex offenders register with local police departments once released from custody.
Who is required to register?
The state of New Jersey identifies three levels of sexual offenders. These levels are designated based upon the believed potential for a repeat offense. A tier three classification is reserved for those defendants identified as having the greatest possibility of engaging in future offenses. A tier one classification is for persons with the least possibility of engaging in future offenses.
Defendants identified as tier one offenders need only to provide information to victims and law enforcement officials. Information about tier two offenders is made available to places like daycare centers or schools where children are likely to be present. Information about tier three offenders can be available to most persons, including via the Internet. There may also be posters or other information published.
What offenses require registration?
The New Jersey State Police website notes that anyone convicted of sexual assault , aggravated sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault or kidnapping in relation to such a crime can be required to register once released. People convicted of engaging in sexual behaviors that may harm the morality of a child can also be forced to register.
If a person required to register with the sex offender program fails to do so, they can be charged with a third degree crime. Once required to register, a person can only be released from this requirement by moving out of the state of New Jersey, by death or by demotion to a tier one classification.
What is sexual assault in New Jersey?
A variety of situations can result in a sexual assault charge in New Jersey. According to a publication of the State of New Jersey Law Revision Commission, sexual penetration without the express consent of the alleged victim can be deemed sexual assault.
Aggravated sexual assault can be the charge if the alleged victim was under 16 years old or unable to provide consent such as with a mentally disabled person. This charge can also relate to cases in which the alleged offender was a parent or had some other supervisory role.
Important facts for defendants
People who are charged with sexual offenses have rights like any other person. Talking to an attorney as soon as an arrest happens is recommended.