Megan’s Law is named after a case that came out of Mercer County (Hamilton) New Jersey. The law gained national prominence in the aftermath of the crime, and most states and the federal government now have Megan’s Law statutes.
Under New Jersey Megan’s Law, the punishment does not end after being released from prison. If you have been convicted of a sex-related offense, mandatory sex offender registration will apply. This involves informing law enforcement as to your address, where you work and other changes in your life. Your name address and photograph will be placed into the State Police Sex offender Registry which can be accessed by your friends, neighbors and co-workers via the internet at www.njsp.org. In addition to your name, address and photograph, your place of work, description of your vehicle and license plate number as well as a brief description of the offense you were convicted of will be available on the registry. On certain offenses, you will also be subjected to Parole Supervision for Life (PSL). Under PSL, you will face a number of additional restrictions on your freedom. These requirements will negatively impact many area of your life, such as your ability to find a place to live, to move out of state, get a job or go to school.
As part of the registration process, the County Prosecutor will make a determination as to your risk to the community to re-offend. You will be classified as either a Tier 1 (low risk), Tier 2 (moderate risk) or Tier 3 (high risk) offender. Your classification in a Tier will determine who is notified of your presence in addition to the Sex Offender Registry.
If you are a Tier 1 offender only law enforcement agencies are notified. If the risk level is Tier 2, in addition to law enforcement agencies, schools, licensed day care centers, summer camps, and registered community organizations are notified of sex offenders that they are likely to encounter because of the perceived possibility that pedophiles and sexual predators will be drawn to these places. If you are a Tier 3 offender, in addition to all of the above, your entire neighborhood or area that is likely to encounter you will be notified by a door-to-door canvas by law enforcement.
All sex offenders subject to Megan’s Law must register for the rest of their lives. Sex offenders may apply to the court to be removed from the Sex Offender Registry if they committed only one offense, have not committed another offense for 15 years, and prove that they are not likely to pose a threat to the safety of others. Juvenile sex offenders may also apply to the court to be removed from the Sex Offender Registry if they were under the age of 14 at the time of their offense but are now over the age of 18.
Failure to comply with Megan’s Law is a fourth degree crime.