In New Jersey, a local prosecutor will fill out the Registrant Risk Assessment Scale (RRAS) to place a Megan’s Law registrant into a tier, which is intended to assess risk of sex offense recidivism, and notify the public of said-risk accordingly. (Read more about the RRAS here). Depending on the RRAS score, a registrant will be placed into one of three tiers:
Tier One – Megan’s Law registrants between 0 and 36 points. This is the lowest possible tier level and includes registrants who are very unlikely to reoffend.
Tier Two – Megan’s Law registrants between 37 and 73 points. This is the middle tier level and includes registrants who, theoretically, present a moderate risk of committing another sex offense.
Tier Three – Megan’s Law registrants with 74 points or more. This is the highest possible tier level and includes registrants who, theoretically, present the highest risk of committing another Megan’s Law sex offense.
Why does the tier level matter? Because, depending on the Megan’s Law tier, a registrant may be subject to different kinds of community notification. Some registrants may have their private information placed on the Internet Registry, have a GPS bracelet latched to their ankle, have the police walk door-to-door notifying neighbors of the registrant’s presence, and/or have notification distributed to local schools and other institutions. The “scope of notification,” as this is called, is based almost exclusively off of the tier, which itself is based on the RRAS score.
Although there are major exceptions — and we suggest you talk to an experienced attorney for legal advice — the following lists the kind of notification for each Megan’s Law tier level:
Tier One – These registrants will often receive no community notification. Tier One Megan’s Law registrants will generally not have their private information placed on the Internet registry. However, there is a new law that attempts to place so-called “Repetitive and Compulsive” registrants on the sex offender Internet Registry regardless of their tier level.
Tier Two – These registrants are often subject to Internet notification and school/organization notification. Essentially, this means that private information (including a picture of the registrant) will be published on the Internet Registry and may be distributed to local schools and certain other institutions, depending on the nature of the original sex offense. However, there are major exceptions — please speak to a knowledgeable attorney to learn more about stopping certain kinds of notification.
Tier Three – These Megan’s Law registrants may have a GPS bracelet attached to their ankle, and may have the police walk door-to-door, notifying all neighbors within a certain radius. Additionally, these registrants may be subject to Internet publication and school/organization notification. Again, there are exceptions; always seek out the advice of experienced lawyers for guidance.
Our attorneys believe that Megan’s Law is overly-broad and that far too many people are placed in Tier Two and Tier Three who do not present a risk of harm to the community. The science is clear: Megan’s Law registrants are far less likely to commit another offense than the general prison population, and significantly less likely to commit another sex offense than the general population believes. Most scientific articles reveal that fewer than one in ten registrants will commit another sex crime.
If you need legal help in an upcoming tier hearing, or if you want to reduce your tier, do not hesitate to contact our experienced attorneys. Our New Jersey law firm has helped many clients like you.