If you were previously convicted of a sex offense, you may be required to register as a sex offender under New Jersey law. Commonly referred to as Megan's Law, individuals convicted of certain offenses are required to register as sex offenders in the state of New Jersey. This requirement comes with certain restrictions and requirements to register not only once, but in a continuing fashion for a set number of years or even your lifetime. Failure to register as a sex offender is a crime separate and apart from the underlying sex offense and can lead to years in prison.
If you face a charge of failure to register as a sex offender in New Jersey, you need an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney to defend your case and protect your constitutional rights.
New Jersey Failure to Register as a Sex Offender Defense Attorney
With many years of experience working in different roles in the New Jersey justice system, Joseph Lento is a uniquely qualified New Jersey criminal defense attorney with a comprehensive knowledge of how the criminal justice system works, from start to finish.
If you have been charged with failure to register as a sex offender in New Jersey and need a comprehensive, customized defense, contact the attorneys at Lento Law Firm. Joseph Lento built his practice on the ideals of customer service and justice and he will fight for your rights and freedom. Call (215) 535-5353 today to schedule your free consultation and discover what Joseph Lento can do to clear your name.
Failure to Register as a Sex Offender Charges in New Jersey
Under N.J.S.A. § 2C:7-2, individuals found guilty of a sex offense, adjudicated delinquent, or found not guilty by reason of insanity of a sex offense are required to register as a sex offender in the State of New Jersey. This requirement applies to certain charges, including:
- The act or attempted act of aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, or aggravated criminal sexual contact if the court has found that the conduct of the offender was considered compulsive, repetitive behavior.
- Any conviction, adjudication of delinquency, or acquittal by reason of insanity for aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual contact, endangering the welfare of a child, luring or enticing, criminal sexual contact with a minor, kidnapping or false imprisonment of a minor, promoting the prostitution of a minor; or the attempt to commit any of these crimes.
Failure to register as a sex offender is a separate crime from the sex offense itself. This means that upon your release from prison if you fail to register as sex offender or commit certain other violations related to your registration, you could find yourself back in prison on new charges.
The person is required to register prior to release, and this process is usually aided by the correctional staff at the prison. However, it is always best to be proactive and make sure you are meeting all of your registration requirements.
Change of Address Requirements
A person registered as a sex offender is required to fill out all forms given to him or her by the appropriate agency. On this form is always information related to where you live. If your address is going to change or has recently changed, you are required to update your registration information.
Depending on your classification, you are also required to re-register and update your address information on a periodic basis.
You must inform the agency of your change of address at least 10 days before you change the address. You will also have to inform them of any employment change or school enrollment change within 5 days of that change.
Use of Computers and Internet
As part of your registration, you are required to include information about your access to or use of a computer or other internet-capable device. Failure to notify of this information, or changes in this information, can result in new criminal charges.
Penalties for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender in New Jersey
Failure to register as a sex offender in New Jersey is a felony of the third degree. The possible penalties upon conviction include the following:
- 3 to 5 years in prison
- a maximum possible fine of up to $15,000
As a felony charge, you will again face the loss of your civil rights, such as the right to:
- vote in elections
- serve on a jury
- own a firearm
How to Defend Your Case
There are ways to defend yourself against charges of failure to register as a sex offender in New Jersey. The best defense is one uniquely tailored to fit the circumstances of your case, but the following defense may be available to you:
Present Reasonable Doubt
Because this is a brand new crime, the New Jersey prosecutor is required to prove all of the elements of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt before a jury. If you can present reasonable doubt as to any of the essential elements of the crime charged, the jury must find you not guilty.
Failure to Register was Mistaken
This is not a true legal defense, as an honest mistake in failing to register is still a crime. You can still be charged, even if you honestly just screwed up. However, a prosecutor may be inclined to negotiate, or even drop the charges in these cases. Also, judges may sentence much more leniently, even if you are convicted.
Sometimes, the prosecutor just gets it wrong. If you comply with all of the requirements of the registration, you can present evidence to show that you are not guilty of the crime charged. You can do this with the help of your defense attorney.
Consult a New Jersey Failure to Register as Sex Offender Defense Attorney
If you or someone you care about faces a failure to register as a sex offender charge in New Jersey, an experienced New Jersey defense attorney can fight for your rights. Joseph D. Lento has the years of experience necessary to protect your rights.
Call (888) 535-3686 or contact us online today to schedule a consultation of your case.