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Megan's Law questions and issues


First enacted in New Jersey in the mid-1990s, Megan's Law requires that sex offenders register in a timely manner with local police upon being released from custody. While the law is designed to provide information to authorities and the public, those subject to the law may have questions about its requirements and implications.

An individual who has been convicted since the law became effective or who was serving a relevant sentence at the time of the law's enactment must submit the appropriate registration materials to the local police department upon release from prison. A sex offender moving to the state must register within 10 days of the move. Juvenile offenders are required to register as well. Changes of address must also be reported.

Upon receipt of a registration, county officials determine the level of risk posed to the community, using a tier system to determine who will be notified of a registered offender's presence. In case of a high-risk offender, personal notifications are made by representatives of the police or county prosecutor. This information is intended for personal use only, and those who are notified may not share that information or take any negative actions against the individual in question.

An individual who has been convicted of sex crimes may worry about retaliation from neighbors upon registering in accordance with Megan's Law. If threats, vandalism, or other negative issues related to that individual's status as a registered sex offender occur, it may be important to seek assistance from the authorities to ensure that such illegal actions are halted. An individual might also consider discussing such a situation with an attorney if harassing activities continue. Registration indicates that a sentence has already been served for the incident in question and that the individual is in compliance with Megan's Law.Source: National Institute of Justice, "About Megan's Law"

Source: State of New Jersey, "Common Questions About Megan's Law", September 19, 2014

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