Certain sex crime convictions in New Jersey require sex offender registration under Megan’s Law. However, registration and long-term supervision may be a burden of constant reporting to the police or parole officer for address changes and location check-ins. And since the registry is public, the reporting and registration are a source of stigma. If you are a registered sex offender, you may have questions about the process and eligibility for Megan’s Law Removal in New Jersey. Here are some common questions and answers regarding removal from Megan’s List and sex offender registration requirements.
What are the Requirements to Get off Megan’s List?
To qualify for removal from Megan’s List, you must have no convictions or offenses for at least 15 years from the date of your conviction or release from a penal institution, whichever is later.
I only have a non-related sex offense charge in the last 15 years. Can I Still Qualify for Removal from Megan’s List?
No, one new police arrest and charge can set you back years and make you ineligible for removal. In other words, if you have a clear record but commit an offense in the 14th year since your conviction or release date, the 15-year clock still applies. Before attempting to remove yourself from the registry, you should also know that the offense does not have to be a sex crime to disqualify you, according to case law. Any violation, whether it is a crime, disorderly persons offense, or petty disorderly persons offense. Even if the state dismisses the charges, the initial charges can prevent your removal or at the very least, prompt a prosecutor’s objection to your motion to be terminated from registration obligations.
What is the Process to be Removed from the Registry?
You must file a motion for removal with supporting documents with the superior court and notify the prosecutor’s office. One of those documents in your motion must be a mental health evaluation by a professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. You want to choose a highly-respected professional that the courts and the prosecutor respect to make your job of convincing the judge easier. The professional’s determination must be that you no longer pose a safety threat to others.
Who has the Final Word on Whether I get Removed?
You must file your motion in the county of your original offense and sentence requiring registration, and the Chief Judge will assign who hears your motion.
Can I Still File a Motion to be Removed from Megan’s Law if I No Longer Live in the County Where I was Originally Sentenced?
Moving out of county or out of state does not prevent you from filing a motion to terminate your registration requirements. You can still file a motion in the county that initially sentenced you to report as a sex offender based on your original sex crime charges.
What Do I Need to Prove to Get the Termination of my Reporting Obligations?
A judge will grant your motion for removal if you prove that you are no longer a safety threat to the community and have only one sex offense conviction. More than one sex offense conviction disqualifies you from removal. In addition, your sex conviction must not be for aggravated sexual assault or sexual assault by sexual penetration or by force, and you were not acquitted because of insanity for multiple sex offenses (N.J.S.A. 2C:43-6.4c). It is up to you as the moving party to convince the judge by clear and convincing evidence that you have been offense-free for 15 years since your conviction or release and pose no threat to others’ safety.
What Documents Should I Have to Show the Court when Petitioning for my Removal?
You want to attach any documents that show the judge your good character and personality that is peaceful and no longer a danger to others. So, letters from others who know you can testify in an affidavit about your good character. You may also want to attach documents or testimony showing your employment, such as W2s or paycheck stubs. But you want to show that your home life is stable and your outside activities, such as hobbies, reveal the person you are. Finally, any proof of counseling, including reports and evidence of family and community support, paints the picture of a functioning community member. You or your lawyer should also prepare a legal brief citing the relevant law to support your motion. The motion should also contain a notice of motion, the legal brief, order for the judge to sign, and an expert opinion about your safety.
How Long Does the Removal Process Take?
It may take several months, as your or your lawyer must verify your conviction date, review any probation records, records showing which tier you scored after evaluation (a tier shows level of danger to others), police reports, and anything else that persuades a judge to grant your motion.
Is the Removal Motion Process Different if I Committed a Sex Offense as a Juvenile?
If you were under 14 when you committed the sex crime, your removal can occur at 18 if you apply and the judge hears your motion. This is because your registration requirements end at 18. Nevertheless, you still must prove you are no longer a community threat. If you were over 14, you must apply following the same procedure as an adult sex offender.
Is It mandatory to Have a Lawyer to Be Removed from Megan’s List?
You are not required to have an attorney, but you should. You must know the law and procedures of the court to file a timely motion that the judge will accept and be persuaded by, so you want the motion to be prepared and argued by a professional. A well-versed New Jersey Megan’s Law Attorney can do all the necessary work to complete and file the motion. A good lawyer knows how to show you in your best light and make the most powerful case for your removal. In addition, if you do not know how to file a motion or follow procedures, you may not get far in your efforts to remove yourself from Megan’s Law registration obligations.
As you can see from the reading, retaining an experienced NJ Megan’s Law Lawyer is a good idea to start the removal process from Megan’s List. Having been called upon as a legal resource regarding Megan’s Law for prominent publications and news outlets in New Jersey, I have the knowledge, the contacts, and the experience to meticulously handle your motion to be terminated from Megan’s Law obligations. With proven results in these cases over the last 15 years, I can help you gather and assemble all of the necessary evidence and prepare you for the process. Being removed from Megan’s List will allow you to apply for new opportunities in your life and expand beyond the confines of being seen as a registered sex offender. If you have any other questions about your specific Megan’s Law Removal situation in New Jersey, contact 973-524-7238 or request a free consultation online.