Megan’s Law: What is it and How Does it Affect You?
You may have heard of the law but don’t know much about it, just that there’s a registry for sex offenders. Or you may think that Megan’s Law doesn’t affect you. But there’s a lot more to the law than you may realize. For the next two weeks, we will be examining Megan’s Law, the implications of what happens when you are listed on it, how you can get off the list, and what happens if you don’t disclose that you’re on the list. But first, a description of the law and how it can affect you.
Megan’s Law is a federal law that requires all law enforcement to make information available to the public regarding registered sex offenders. Created after the 1994 murder of Megan Kanka, the law requires persons who have been convicted of any type of sex crime to notify local law enforcement of any change in address or employment after their release from custody, be it prison or a psychiatric facility. The offender is required to notify police for a fixed period of time which can range from about 10 years or permanently.
In addition to the federal law, New Jersey has its own version of Megan’s Law. According to state law, when you are convicted of a sex crime you will be placed in in a three-tier system. As we’ve explained before, registrants are ranked using a Risk Assessment Scale and the worse your crime was, the higher the tier you’ll be placed in.
But how does this affect you? Because you may be living next door to a sex offender. Megan’s Law was designed to inform the public about any sexual offenders who may be living near you through an online registry. However, thanks to the tier system, any low-risk tier 1 or tier 2 offenders will not appear on the online registry. According to a recent article in the Trentonian, nearly 72 percent of Megan Law’s offenders don’t appear online. According to a former state senator, there have been constitutional challenges to the current laws, hence the tier classification system, so obviously Megan’s Law is not a perfect solution.
So how does someone get on the online registry in the first place? Find out in Friday’s blog.
If you have been charged with a sex crime and need legal assistance, contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone today for a free consultation.