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New Jersey Considers Stricter Sex Offender Registration Requirements

A new bill would make several changes to New Jersey’s Megan’s Law, including making information about all registered sex offenders available online.

Two New Jersey lawmakers have introduced a bill that would make the state’s sex offender registry requirements stricter to comply with the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act. According to The Bergen Dispatch, only convicted sex offenders who are deemed “high-risk” are currently included in a publicly accessible online database. The bill would make information for every person on New Jersey’s sex offender registry available online.

Current Registration Policies

Under Megan’s Law, convicted sex offenders currently must register with authorities and provide identifying information, including name, Social Security number, birth date, descriptions of physical characteristics, place of employment and legal or temporary address. However, according to The Bergen Dispatch, the information about each offender that is made publicly available depends on the alleged offender’s risk of recidivism.

Offenders currently are classified into three tiers: low, moderate and high risk. Only local law enforcement authorities receive notice of a low-risk offender’s presence, while schools, child care centers, neighbors and some community groups receive notice of a high-risk offender’s presence. Online information is handled similarly. Information about high risk offenders and some moderate risk offenders is available online, while information about low risk offenders is not.

Strict Proposed Changes

The bill would require information about all offenders, including the addresses of their homes, places of employment or schools, to be published online. The bill would also establish a new classification system. Convicted offenders would be classified as follows:

  • Fifteen-year registration – people convicted of offenses such as invasion of privacy or lewdness would have to register for 15 years and provide updated address information once each year.
  • Twenty-five year registration – for convictions such as sex trafficking or distributing child pornography, offenders would have to register for 25 years and update their information once every 180 days.
  • Lifetime registration – for offenses such as sexual assault, convicted offenders would have to register for life and provide current information every 90 days.

The bill also would require New Jersey to provide information to other states and the National Sex Offender Registry. Furthermore, convicted offenders would be required to register with local authorities immediately after their sentencing and give authorities at least three weeks warning of plans to travel abroad.

Help For Sexual Offense Allegations

If this bill passes, more people may suffer from the stigma and other negative effects that come with public identification as a sex offender. Even if the bill fails, the consequences of a sex crime conviction and inclusion on the sex offender registry can be steep. To reduce the risk of these negative outcomes, anyone who is facing charges involving sexual offenses in Hazlet should consider meeting with an attorney for help protecting personal rights and future interests.

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