Megan’s Law Tier Classification Attorneys
Megan's Law was enacted by the New Jersey legislature in 1994. It requires individuals who have been convicted of certain sexual related offenses to register with their local police department after getting released from prison. Some of the offenses that may require Megan’s law registration are the following:
- Aggravated Sexual Assault
- Criminal Sexual Contact
- False imprisonment/ kidnapping
- Endangering the Welfare of a Child
In New Jersey, Megan’s Law offenders are classified as Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 3. Tier 1 is the lowest risk, tier 2 is moderate risk and tier 3 is designated as high risk. The higher the tier means the greater amount of public notification and requirements to satisfy.
Tier 1 notification is usually limited to notifying law enforcement agencies in the area. This limited notification is because the likelihood of re-offending is considered to be low.
If someone is deemed to be a Tier 2 offender then that means it has been determined that they have a moderate risk of re-offending. Notification for Tier 2 offenders includes the local law enforcement agencies, educational institutions (including child care facilities and kids camps). In certain situations, notification may even include being listed on the New Jersey Sex Offender Internet Registry.
Tier 3 has the greatest amount of public notification because these individuals are deemed to be at a high risk of re-offending. All of the above mentioned notification will take place and the offender will be placed on the New Jersey Sex Offender Internet Registry.
As you can probably tell, these classifications can have a tremendous impact on the convicted offender’s life after being released from prison. It will impact the type and quality of jobs available to him or her and the way they are perceived by their community.
For obvious reasons the goal of the offender is to be on the lowest tier possible. In order to determine the tier level, the prosecutor will use the Registrant Risk Assessment Scale or RRAS for adult or the Juvenile Risk Assessment Scale or JRAS for juveniles. The state, usually the county prosecutor’s office, will use the Registrant Risk Assessment Scale (RRAS) to determine the classification. After going through the 13 boxes on the scale, the score will be totaled and the tier determined.
Once the Registrant Risk Assessment Scale form is filled out by the prosecutor, it is sent to the Megan's Law offender along with a letter notifying him or her of the right to challenge the Tier classification. Generally, there is only a 14 day window to challenge the tier classification.
If the Tier classification is challenged, it is generally heard in the County where the underlying offense occurred by a Superior Court Judge assigned to handle Megan's Law Tier challenges.
If challenged, the hearing will proceed in a manner like most other judicial proceedings in New Jersey. Both the state (the prosecutor) and the offender will have an opportunity to present their argument. The Court will then determine whether or not the State's Tier classification is appropriate or not.
If you or someone you love has received a Megan's Law Tier Notice it is critical to immediately hire a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to handle the proceedings. Remember, this must be done promptly as you only have 14 days to notify the state that you wish to challenge the tier classification. Contact us at Lubiner, Schmidt & Palumbo to discuss your case! We are available 24/7 at 908-709-0500.