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What is Megan's Law?


In New Jersey, Megan's Law was originally signed into law on Oct. 31, 1994, requiring those convicted of sex offenses to register and setting community notification standards for the areas in which convicted sex offenders reside. The law was broadened to include mandatory Internet registration when a new portion was signed into law on July 31, 2001. Since that time, people convicted of certain sex crimes have registration requirements, and the communities in which some live are also notified of where they reside.

The mandatory registration provisions cover specific sex offenses. People who are convicted as an adult, adjudicated as a juvenile or who are found not guilty by reason of insanity for any of the covered offenses are all required to register. People who were convicted of aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, kidnapping with an underlying sexual component, aggravated criminal sexual contact or an attempt to commit any of these acts all are required to register as well. Also covered are offenses such as endangering the welfare of a child for sexual purposes, inciting the prostitution of a minor, false imprisonment or the criminal restraint of a minor by a non-parent, luring or enticing, and criminal sexual contact if the child is a minor.

The sex offender registration law is retroactive, meaning even those who were convicted prior to the law will need to register if their offense is applicable. Registration involves time limits and routine updating. Failure to follow the registration time tables is a new criminal offense and is punishable as a fourth-degree crime in New Jersey.

People who are accused of sex crimes could, if convicted, face penalties that will continue long after a sentence is completed. Individuals accused of these serious crimes may benefit from the help of a criminal defense attorney who accepts sex crimes cases. Building a strong case as early as possible is crucial.

Source: The State of New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety Office of the Attorney General, "Megan's Law", November 21, 2014

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