New Jersey’s Megan’s Law, which requires the online registration and ongoing supervision of convicted sex offenders in the state, assesses fines in addition to any criminal penalties when people are convicted of sex crimes. In May of this year, a bill to double the monetary penalties upon conviction underMegan’s Law offenses was introduced in the Senate and General Assembly of the state of New Jersey. This bill would not only increase the monetary penalties, but also fix the currently listed maximum penalties at the higher amounts.

Current Fines

Under the current Megan’s Law, convicted sex offenders can be assessed additional penalties or fines, not to exceed the listed amounts, depending on the degree of their crimes. For conviction of a first-degree crime, the maximum fine is $2,000. For a second-degree crime, a convicted sex offender could pay up to $1,000. Third- and fourth-degree criminal convictions carry additional penalties of up to $750 and $500 respectively. All collected fines are given to the Department of the Treasury for deposit in the Sex Crime Victim Treatment Fund.

Proposed Changes

Senate bill 1854 and Assembly bill 2683 propose to generally double the additional penalties under Megan’s Law and fix the amounts for consistency purposes. The proposed increases include making the fine for first-degree crimes a fixed amount of $5,000. For a second-degree crime, a convicted sex offender could pay $2,500. Third- and fourth-degree criminal convictions would carry the penalties of $1,500 and $1,000 respectively. While the changes would impact the fine amounts under Megan’s Law, the registering requirements would remain the same.

Megan’s Law Requirements

Under New Jersey’s Megan’s Law, people convicted of sex crimes must register with their local law enforcement agencies as soon as they are living within a residential area following detainment. They must provide their address information, as well as other physical descriptions, aliases and vehicle details, and update the agency every 90 days or sooner if they move. If the person’s risk of re-offense was deemed as moderate or high, additional community or online notification may occur, causing further publication of the person’s crimes and personal information.

Know the Law

New Jersey’s Megan’s Law has tended to change often and become stricter over time. Anyone arrested for, charged with or convicted of a sexual offense in New Jersey should contact a New Jersey criminal defense attorney to discuss their case and the ramifications of any current or proposed changes to Megan’s Law that may impact them now or in the future.

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