Does Megan’s Law apply to juvenile offenders?

On Behalf of | Oct 21, 2022 | Criminal Defense

Megan’s Law is a mid-1990s law that requires certain sex offenders to register their personal information with law enforcement agencies. While the majority of registered sex offenders are adults, juveniles typically are not exempt from its registration requirements.

According to reporting from New Jersey Monitor, the Garden State is one of 42 states that have registration requirements for juvenile offenders. Whether a juvenile must register, though, usually depends on the type of crime the individual commits.

What types of crimes require registration?

Not all sex-related crimes require registration, fortunately. Still, in New Jersey, a person must register after receiving a conviction for or pleading guilty to any of the following offenses:

  • Aggravated criminal sexual contact or aggravated sexual assault
  • Criminal sexual contact with a minor
  • Sexual assault

This list is not an exhaustive one. Consequently, if a juvenile has any conviction for a sex-related offense, it is important to research whether he or she must register.

What details must a person disclose?

In New Jersey, sex offender registration is public. Therefore, if a juvenile must register, essentially anyone can find out key personal details about him or her. Among others, these include the following:

  • Name and photograph
  • Address
  • Date of birth and age
  • Place of employment
  • Type of vehicle

Does the registry last forever?

In the past, some juvenile sexual offenders only had to register for 15 years, provided they did not re-offend. This is no longer the case, though. Indeed, many juvenile offenders must remain on the offender register for the rest of their lives.

Ultimately, even though there is a push to change the rules for juvenile sexual offenders, fighting criminal charges continues to be the most effective way to stay off the registry.