New Jersey Sex Offender and Sex Crimes Legislation Update
The Maynard Law Office is located in Morris County, but we keep a watchful eye on all of the current events that affect sex offenders and sex crimes litigation throughout the entire state of New Jersey. Our law firm has a strong commitment to staying abreast of all the pending bills before the NJ Legislature. Why? Few areas of the law are as politicized as those pertaining to sex crimes and sex offenders, and therefore, are common targets for new legislation promoting tougher restrictions and regulation.
Due to the rapid evolution of Megan’s Law and other issues affecting sex offenders, our attorneys maintain a strict vigilance so that we may react quickly when new laws are passed. Here are some of the new bills that we are watching:
Introduced in February 2015, seeks to expand the list of sex offense convictions that would prohibit an award of child custody or visitation. Currently, individuals who have been convicted of sexual assault, criminal sexual contact, or endangering the welfare of a child are not permitted to have custody or visitation with their child unless they can prove by clear and convincing evidence that it is in the best interest of the child, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 9:2-4.1. This bill would expand the number of crimes to include: first-degree kidnapping under paragraph (2) of subsection (c) of N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1; criminal sexual contact under N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3; luring or enticing a child under N.J.S.A. 2C:13-6, in which the person has also been convicted of sexual assault, criminal sexual contact, or endangering the welfare of a child; human trafficking under paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of N.J.S.A. 2C:13-8; lewdness under N.J.S.A. 2C:14-4(b)(1); or promoting prostitution of a child under the age of 18, promoting prostitution of the offender’s child, or engaging in prostitution with a child under the age of 18 under paragraphs (3), (4), and (7) under subsection (b) of N.J.S.A. 2C:34-1.
This bill proposes to prohibit registered sex offenders from changing their names, unless for good cause. Currently, sex offenders in the State of New Jersey may change their names through a judicial process, which does not change their status as a registered sex offender. In fact, the registry maintained by local law enforcement and the Internet Sex Offender Registry is updated to reflect the individual’s name change.
Proposes to amend the definition of sex offense for purposes of Megan’s Law so that offenders with a sex crimes conviction from a foreign country would be required to register in New Jersey.
This bills expands requires sex offenders to report Internet identifiers, and notify law enforcement of a name change. Under current law, a Megan’s Law registrant is required to report to law enforcement whether he or she has routine access to a computer or an internet-capable device. If this bill were to pass into law, a registrant would also be required to report any Internet identifiers, such as email address, instant messaging username, or social media accounts, etc. In addition, this bill requires disclosure of sex offender registration on name change applications to the court, and a court order requiring that the Megan’s Law registry be notified if a name change is granted. Once a name change is granted, the offender has 10 days to notify local law enforcement of a name change. Failure to do so is a third-degree criminal offense, punishable by up to 5 years in a New Jersey state prison and up to a $15,000 fine. It is important to note that the latter half of this bill does not provide for any greater protection than what is already covered by the practice and procedure of New Jersey’s courts. Under current law, all name change applicants must disclose criminal convictions, and Megan’s Law registrant’s must notify local law enforcement of any name change. This bill only creates a criminal liability for failure to do so within 10 days of the judgment.
Being aware of pending legislation allows us to anticipate your needs with greater alacrity. The Maynard Law Office can help registered sex offenders in almost every aspect of their lives. We have successfully done name changes for sex offenders who are currently on the registry and for offenders who have been removed from the sex offender registry. You do not need to allow your legal status as an offender get in the way of your life. Contact our firm for a free consultation to speak with an experienced attorney.
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