In 1994, Megan’s Law was created to provide a standard, public method to identify sexual offenders. Since its inception, Megan’s Law has continued to develop. At this point, several tier classifications exist. Each tier represents a specific type of sexual offense. The tiers also determine how long a sexual offender’s name, address, workplace, image, and other identifiers must remain on statewide registries.
Being a registered sex offender can make getting a job or becoming part of a community difficult. Anyone can log onto a statewide registry and find out if a registered sex offender lives nearby, including potential employers, neighbors, friends, relatives, and journalists. Since some tiers of Megan’s Law require registration for life instead of registration for a shorter period, individuals charged with sex crimes may want to seek private legal counsel.
What is a Tier I Sexual Offender Under Megan’s Law?
Tier I classifications are reserved for people who are deemed unlikely to re-offend. Someone who is sentenced in this tier will have to register with local authorities for 15 years.
A person can be convicted as a Tier I offender if he or she:
- uses the internet for illegal sexual purposes.
- restrains someone.
- commits indecent assault.
- corrupts a minor.
- sexually abuses or exploits a minor.
- spies on someone through video.
- is in possession of child pornography.
People classified as Tier I sexual offenders must appear yearly to verify their identities.
What is a Tier II Sexual Offender?
A Tier II sexual offender has to register for 25 years instead of 15 years. Courts see Tier II sexual offenders as having a moderate chance of re-offending.
Tier II offenders may be accused and convicted of:
- sex trafficking.
- committing sexual assault and indecent assault.
- prostituting themselves or others.
- showing or selling obscene items.
- sexually abusing or exploiting children.
- having unlawful sexual contact with someone who is underage, or engaging in other acts that are considered more severe than those under Tier I.
Once the 25-year period passes, a Tier II sex offender is no longer required to submit information to a Megan’s Law directory.
Tier II sexual offenders can expect to present themselves twice a year for verification.
What is a Tier III Sexual Offender Under Megan’s Law?
The Tier III classification is reserved for the most serious sexual offenses. In general, Tier III offenders are those who are most apt to re-offend, at least statistically.
An individual who is charged as a Tier III sexual offender will have to remain on a registered sexual offenders database for life. Some crimes that can lead to a Tier III classification involve rape, involuntary deviate intercourse, kidnapping, various types of sexual assault, and sexual abuse of minors.
A Tier III classified sex offender must appear no fewer than four times annually to verify identification.
Do Sexual Offenders Have to Register?
Under Megan’s Law, sexual offenders must comply with registration expectations or they will be prosecuted for non-compliance. Non-compliance is considered a felony of varying degrees based on the tier classification. Anyone who knowingly harbors, assists, or conceals a sexual offender who is non-compliant may also be charged legally.
How Are Tiers Determined?
Judges decide on the sentences of sexual offenders. A court will take many factors into consideration before determining which tier makes sense for someone convicted of a sex-related crime. Past history and criminal charges may come into play at this point.
Can Judges Change the Sentences of Sexual Offenders?
Sometimes, judges and courts choose to modify registered sex offenders’ sentences, depending upon when the crime took place and other considerations. However, if the crime involved a minor or violent behavior, or a court labels someone as a “sexually violent delinquent child” or “sexual violent predator,” the judge will usually be very strict and unbending.
Can a Tier Decision be Challenged?
A person who receives a Megan’s Law tier classification can challenge the decision within a tight timeframe. Winning a challenge without the assistance of a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney with Megan’s Law experience is difficult.
South Jersey Megan’s Law Lawyers at Aita Law, LLC Represent Clients Charged with Sex Crimes
Have you been accused of a sex crime or have recently been sentenced as a sex offender? If so, our South Jersey Megan’s Law lawyers at Aita Law, LLC are here to help. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 856-287-7800. Located in Haddonfield and Marlton, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Cherry Hill and Camden County.