How do I know if I have to register?
That depends on the offense you were convicted of and when the court's decision in your case occurred. The registration requirement may apply if you were convicted, found delinquent or acquitted by reason of insanity of a sex offense such as: aggravated sexual assault; sexual assault; aggravated sexual contact; endangering the welfare of a child; certain kidnapping offenses; or the attempt to commit any Megan's Law offense. In most cases, Megan's Law willl apply if the court's decision occurred on or after October 31, 1994. It will also apply if, on that date, you were incarcerated, on probation, on parole or other type of community supervision as a result of your sex offense. If you have been classified as a "repetitive and compulsive offender," you will have to register regardless of the date of your offense or conviction.
How do I register?
You register by completing a form at your local police department. If there is no local police department, register at the State Police station nearest your home.
How often do I have to register?
For most people, it is once a year. But, if you are classified as a "repetitive and compulsive offender," you must register every 90 days. Also, you must register whenever you change your address. You do this by telling the police at your original address about your anticipated move, and then registering with the police where you will be moving to, at least 10 days prior to your move.
What happens if I do not register?
If you fail to register, you may be convicted of a fourth-degree criminal offense, even if you make an innocent mistake about your responsibility to register.
What happens after I register?
The county prosecutor will decide your level of risk for committing another offense (known as your "Tier Level"). There are three Tier Levels: Tier 1 is "Low Risk": Notice goes only to the local police; Tier 2 is "Moderate Risk": Notice goes to the local police, as well as schools and agencies that care for women and children who are deemed "likely to encounter" you"; Tier 3 is "High Risk": All the notification for Tier 2 occurs, as well as door-to-door notification to people in the community who are deemed "likely to encounter" you. You will be notified by letter from the county prosecutor about your Tier Level and the type of community notification proposed in your case.
Can I appeal the Tier Level?
Yes, but you must do four things: 1) complete and file the "Application for Judicial Review" form within 14 days. This form comes with the prosecutor's letter. Send one copy to the court at the address provided in the prosecutor's letter; 2) send one copy of the "Application for Judicial Review" form to the county prosecutor's office at the address provided in your letter; 3) If you cannot afford a private attorney, you can request that a Public Defender represent you by checking the appropriate box on the "Application for Judicial Review" form and by calling the criminal case management office at your county courthouse to start the paperwork that must be completed to determine whether you qualify for a Public Defender. This application should be completed within 5 days of your receipt of the prosecutor's letter; 4) Make sure you attend a conference with the court on the date provided in the prosecutor's letter, or you may waive your right to appeal.
What happens at the hearing?
At your Tier hearing, the State must prove your proposed Tier Level and degree of notification are correct. You will have a chance to produce evidence and, in some cases, have an expert provide evidence that you are a lower risk than the prosecutor has proposed.