New Jersey Sex Offender Records
What is a Sex Offender?
In New Jersey, a sex offender is a person convicted or adjudicated for a sex crime by the state courts. In most cases, an attempt to commit a sex crime or involvement in a conspiracy to carry out any sexual conduct makes one a sex offender. Usually, the courts impose harsh sanctions, including fines and imprisonment, on persons who received a guilty verdict for a sex offense.
Generally, there are different types of sex offenders, and their categorizations are determined by the law enforcement agencies of each jurisdiction. Sex offenders convicted in New Jersey are not only tiered according to their risk levels to society but are also required to register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives. This can negatively impact their access to jobs, housing, financing, immigration, and more.
Who is Considered a Sex Offender in New Jersey?
A sex offender in New Jersey is anyone who commits or helps others commit a sex offense highlighted in N.J.S.A. 2C:7-2 and is convicted by the courts. These offenses include aggravated sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child by engaging in sexual conduct which would impair or debauch the child's morals, aggravated criminal sexual contact, and more.
Also, a sex offender registered in another jurisdiction but schooling in New Jersey on a full-time or part-time basis, or employed in the state for over 14 consecutive days or an aggregate period of more than 30 days in a calendar year, is considered a sex offender in New Jersey.
What are the Different Types of Sex Offenses in New Jersey?
There are different types of sex offenses in New Jersey. All attract severe punishments, including imprisonment, fines, sex offender registration, probation, certain living restrictions, etc. These crimes include:
Aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault
N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2 defines aggravated sexual assault as the act of having sexual penetration with someone under 13 years. Also, the crime occurs if the victim is between 13 and 16 years of age, and the offender:
- Is related by affinity to the 3rd degree or by blood
- Has supervisory or disciplinary authority over the victim because of their legal, professional, or occupational status
- Is a resource family parent or guardian, or resides within the same household as the victim
Other acts regarded as aggravated sexual assault in New Jersey include:
- The act [sexual penetration] occurred during the commission or attempted commission, either alone or with other persons, of robbery, kidnapping, carjacking, homicide, burglary, arson, criminal escape, or aggravated assault.
- The perpetrator had a deadly weapon and threatened to harm the victim.
- Other persons assisted the offender in coercing the victim, or the act was performed without the victim's affirmative or willing permission.
- The offense was committed using coercion, and the victim sustained severe personal injuries during the process.
- The perpetrator knew or should have known that the victim was physically helpless or incapacitated, intellectually or mentally incapacitated, or had a mental defect that made them incapable of making reasonable decisions or understanding the sexual nature of the conduct.
On the other hand, anyone who engages in sexual contact with a child younger than 13 years old while four years older than the victim commits sexual assault. Also, anyone who commits an act of sexual penetration with another individual under the following conditions is guilty of sexual assault:
- The offender used coercion during the commission of the offense or performed the act without the victim's freely-given permission, but no injury was sustained by the victim.
- The victim is on probation or parole, and the offender has supervisory or disciplinary power over the victim.
- The victim is 13 years older or more but not above 16 years old, and the offender is at least four years older.
- The victim is 16 to 18 years old, and the offender:
- Has any supervisory or disciplinary authority over the victim
- Is a resource family parent or guardian, or lives with the victim
- Is related by affinity to the 3rd degree or by blood
Aggravated sexual assault is a first-degree offense, punishable by a prison term of 10 to 20 years or 15 to life in New Jersey. Meanwhile, sexual assault is a second-degree crime, punishable by 5 to 10 years imprisonment.
This is the act of exposing one's genitals to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of oneself or other persons. Anyone who commits this offense in New Jersey commits a crime of the fourth degree if:
- The offender knew that a child younger than 13 years old or a child whom the offender is four years older than would observe the action.
- The offender knew that a person with a mental disease or defect who cannot comprehend the sexual nature of the conduct would observe the action.
Other sex offenses identified by the New Jersey statutes include:
Apart from the incarceration sentence that may come with a sex offense, guilty persons will typically be ordered to pay fines based on the class of crime:
- First-degree sex crimes: $2,000
- Second-degree sex crimes: $1,000
- Third-degree sex crimes: $750
- Fourth-degree sex crimes: $500
What Types of Sex Offenders Exist in New Jersey?
New Jersey sex offenders are classified by the severity of their offenses and their threats to society. These offenders are categorized as Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III.
Tier I sex offenders (Low-risk offenders)
In New Jersey, Tier I offenders are considered to have a low level of reoffending upon release into society. Law enforcement agencies in the state are typically notified when such persons register as sex offenders.
Tier II sex offenders (Moderate-risk offenders)
Tier II sex offenders in New Jersey are considered to have some risk of recidivism (repeat offending) upon release to the community. When a person registers as a Tier II offender, a notification is sent to law enforcement agencies and other groups that pedophiles and sexual predators are primarily attracted to, including schools, licensed daycare centers, summer camps, and registered community organizations. The purpose of notifying these groups is to increase their awareness of possible dangers in their environment.
Tier III sex offenders (High-risk offenders)
The riskiest sex offenders in New Jersey are categorized as Tier III sex offenders. These persons are considered to have a high risk of reoffending. Apart from the law enforcement agencies that will be notified upon such people's registration, schools, summer camps, licensed daycare centers, registered community organizations, and members of the public will be notified.
Typically, the following information is provided when notifying the public of Tier I, II, or III offenders:
- Place of work or school (whichever is applicable)
- Vehicle description
- License plate number
How to Find a Sex Offender Near Me in New Jersey
Generally, New Jersey residents are informed when a Tier III sex offender moves to their neighborhood. This notification is personal and is delivered in person to an adult member of the household. Usually, the notice is served by a law enforcement agency, a police trooper, or an investigator for the county prosecutor's office. Whoever receives the notice is obligated to share the information with other household members or other persons who care for the children in the house. New Jersey residents are warned against sharing such information with people who are not household members or not in their care. Law enforcement will inform the appropriate communities and other individuals.
Any information obtained about sexual offenders is for awareness and security reasons only. The public is banned from taking illegal actions like vandalism of properties, verbal or written threats, or physical violence against the offender. Any person caught doing this will be arrested and criminally prosecuted.
Also, residents can perform sex offender searches remotely using the New Jersey Sex Offender Registry or by searching the National Sex Offender Public Website to obtain the identities and locations of sex offenders across the country.
What Happens When You Register as a Sex Offender in New Jersey?
After registering as a sex offender in New Jersey, a person will have to adjust to an entirely different lifestyle. Firstly, the offender may have no privacy anymore if classified as a Tier II or III sex offender. This is because anyone on the internet will be able to see their picture, full name, and address, to mention a few, on the NJ Sex Offender Registry.
Secondly, after registering as a sex offender in New Jersey, the law places certain restrictions on the offender regarding access to the internet, participation in youth-serving organizations, and more.
Also, registering as a sex offender comes with a certain stigma. People often disassociate themselves from sex offenders to protect themselves against possible harm. As such, the offender may find it hard to find employment or accommodation.
Furthermore, sex offenders cannot live as they want anymore because they become accountable to law enforcement. For example, if the offender wishes to change address, they must give a 10-day prior notice to the local police. Also, some sex offenders will need to verify their addresses every year, while others will need to verify every 90 days.
Typically, all sex offenders required to register, remain in the registry for life in New Jersey. However, offenders who have spent 15 years registered and have no new convictions can ask the court to remove their names from the state's registry. Also, offenders who were 14 years old when adjudicated delinquent for a sex crime and are now 18 years old may file a motion to get their names removed from the registry.
What is the New Jersey Sex Offender Registry?
The New Jersey sex offender internet registry provides details about sex offenders registered and residing in the state. The registry includes the name, tier, photo, address, city, zip code, type, and other details of sex offenders. It is continually updated with additionally registered sex offenders. Per New Jersey's Registration and Community Notification Law (Megan’s Law), any person that has been convicted and adjudicated delinquent for a sex offense must register with the local police department or sheriff’s office. Persons not convicted for a sex offense because of insanity must also register. Sex offenders in New Jersey must register throughout their lifetime, except an application is made to the court to remove them from the sex offender registry.
Interested members of the public may also obtain public record information from third-party websites. These privately owned sites typically host data culled from public databases and repositories. However, the information available on third-party sites may vary since they are independent of government sources. In order to use a third-party site, record seekers may be required to provide all or some of the following information:
- The full name on the record of choice
- The last known or current address of the named individual
- The address of the requestor
Who Runs the New Jersey Sex Offender Registry?
The New Jersey State Police maintains the state’s sex offender registry as a central database of registered sex offenders living in New Jersey. The database is a compilation of the information provided by local law enforcement agencies, like city police departments and county sheriffs.
While the registry is not a complete and comprehensive listing of every sex offender in New Jersey, the State Police makes that the information is accurate and up-to-date. In 2021, the registry contained information of over 4,500 sex offenders in New Jersey. The information provided on the registry is limited to Level-3 (most likely to re-offend) and Level-2 (moderate risk) sex offenders only. Offenders who represent the lowest risk are placed in tier one. They are only required to notify law enforcement officials and the victims after release.
Who Can View the New Jersey Sex Offender Registry?
Information on the New Jersey sex offender internet registry is available to the general public. This is to promote public access to information about sex offenders to enable members of the public to take appropriate precautions to protect themselves from possible harm. However, access to sex offender information should not be used for inappropriate purposes like to threaten, intimidate, or harass sex offenders.
Inappropriate action may result in court action or prosecution. In 1994, New Jersey enacted Megan’s Law to protect its residents from convicted sex offenders. It requires convicted sex offenders to register their information with local law enforcement and the State Police to grant the general public access to the information.
What are the Sex Offender Laws in New Jersey?
New Jersey’s sex offender law is the Megan’s Law (New Jersey Registration and Community Notification Law), which was enacted in 1994 and updated in 2001. This law was enacted after the death of Megan Kanka in Mercer County, New Jersey. She had been raped and killed by a two-time convicted sex offender. The law was enacted to check the activities of sex offenders in New Jersey. New Jersey’s Megan’s Law defines sex offenders and spells out the requirements for convicted sex offenders to register with law enforcement. Furthermore, these sex offenders are required to undergo specific evaluations before they are allowed back into society.
The law provides for three levels of notification depending upon the risk of re-offense. It mandates the New Jersey State Police to notify the general public about offenders belonging to tier-2 and tier-3. This is done through the New Jersey sex offender internet registry.
It should be stated that Megan’s law is a federal law that mandates the public disclosure of sex offender information. Every state operates with some version of this law, including New Jersey.
How Long Do Sex Offenders Have to Register in New Jersey?
By Megan’s law, all sex offenders are required to register for the remainder of their lives. A sex offender can make an application to be removed from the sex offender registry to the court. That is if the sex offender only committed one offense, has not committed another offense for 15 years and proves that they are not likely to pose a threat to the safety of others. In the case of juvenile sex offenders, an application can be made to be removed from the sex offender registry to the court. That is if the offense was committed when the sex offender was under 14 years old but is now over 18 years old.
N.J.S.A. 2C:7-2(c) specifies the requirements for a sex offender to register in New Jersey. They are stated below:
- Incarcerated offenders are required to be registered before their release in accordance with procedures of the Department of Human Services, the Department of Corrections, or the Juvenile Justice Commission (depending on where they are incarcerated)
- Sex offenders that intend to change their address within New Jersey are required to notify the law enforcement agency they are registered with at least ten days before the planned move. Upon moving to another town or city in New Jersey, the sex offender must register with the law enforcement agency there.
- Sex offenders that plan on moving to New Jersey from another state must notify the chief law enforcement officer of the municipality where they plan to live or the state police within ten days of arrival.
- New Jersey resident sex offenders who are employed or attend school in another state must also register in that state to comply with the state’s non-resident procedures.
- New Jersey resident offenders that attend or work at higher educational institutions are also meant to register with the school’s law enforcement authority within ten days of commencing attendance or employment. Where the institution does not have a law enforcement unit, the individual must register with the local law enforcement agency of the campus. In addition, sex offenders are required to notify the appropriate law enforcement agency within five days after the status change in enrollment or employment.
- Non-resident students and school workers are meant to register as sex offenders in New Jersey within ten days of starting attendance or employment. The sex offender is to register with the chief law enforcement officer of the municipality where the school is located or the superintendent of state police.
Sex offenders are also required to verify their address with the appropriate law enforcement agency once every year. In some instances, a sex offender may be required to verify their residential address every 90 days.
Can a Sex Offender Live With Their Family in New Jersey?
A sex offender can live with their family in New Jersey. However, in certain cases, where a sex offender is under parole supervision for life, this may be restricted.
Do Sex Offenders Have to Notify Neighbors in New Jersey?
Registered sex offenders in New Jersey are not required to notify neighbors of their sex offender status or crimes. However, sex offenders are required by law toregister with local law enforcement authorities whenever they move to a new address—within ten days of relocation. The neighbors of the sex offender will receive a personal location of the high-risk sex offender residing in the neighborhood. A local officer will provide this information to the doorstep of every household in the neighborhood, usually within 1,000 feet.
The New Jersey State Police manages sex offender information and provides public access through the New Jersey sex offender internet registry. Residents in the state conduct searches by area, name, city, non-compliant, or internet names/email.
Do Sex Offenders Have to Put a Sign in Their Yard in New Jersey?
New Jersey sex offenders are not required to put up a sign in their yard. However, they must wear a bracelet or anklet that contains a GPS tracker while on parole. Sex offenders are supervised through this GPS tracker, which transmits real-time information to a monitoring station. This satellite-based monitoring system was established in 2005. It allows for the sharing of criminal incident information among law enforcement authorities. Law enforcement officials receive instant notifications if the GPS device detects that the sex offender goes beyond a permitted area. The parole board may also administer an annual polygraph exam of sex offenders on life supervision in their municipality. In addition, sex offenders are required to disclose their email addresses and other internet identifiers to law enforcement officials.
How Close Can a Sex Offender Live to a School in New Jersey?
New Jersey’s Megan’s law does not prohibit where a sex offender can reside. Sex offenders can reside close to any school, park, playground, public library, or daycare center. However, New Jersey laws allow Parole Officers to place restrictions on a sex offender’s workplace or residence where the sex offender is serving a special sentence of Community or Parole Supervision for Life. All that the law requires is that sex offenders register their addresses. It does not limit where they can reside. The law seeks to ensure that law enforcement agencies and, in certain instances, the public know a sex offender’s address.
Before 2009, there were over 127 local laws passed by towns in New Jersey that kept sex offenders from residing around 2,500 feet of schools, daycare centers, and playgrounds. However, according to the New Jersey supreme court, these laws cannot restrict where sex offenders can live.
Can You Expunge a Sex Offender Charge in New Jersey?
In New Jersey, applications may be submitted to the court by sex offenders to be removed from the Sex Offender Registry. This is where the sex offender committed only one offense, has not committed another offense for 15 years, and proves to the court they do not pose a threat to the safety of others. Juvenile sex offenders may also make an application to be removed from the sex offender registry to the court if the offense was committed when the sex offender was under 14 years old but is now over 18 years old.
Sex offenders that have been convicted of certain sex crimes, like aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault involving the use of force, will not qualify for removal from the sex offender registry.
Hence, to be considered for requesting removal from the New Jersey sex offender registry, a sex offender must:
- Have committed only one sex offense
- Not have committed any other crime for 15 years
- Be able to prove that they are unlikely to be a threat to others
- If younger than 14 when the offense was committed and is now 18 or older, can also request removal
- Not have been convicted of particular sex crimes, such as aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault involving the use of force
How to Look Up Sex Offenders in New Jersey?
The New Jersey sex offender internet registry is the central database containing sex offender information in New Jersey. The New Jersey State Police is mandated to administer sex offender information in the state. It provides information about sex offenders residing in different cities/towns within New Jersey. It also includes information about sex offenders living in other states but that work and attends school in New Jersey.
Residents of New Jersey can search this registry to find and locate sex offenders living around their neighborhoods. The online registry permits users to search for sex offenders by name or email address. Residents can also conduct location-based searches by using street addresses or zip codes. A location-based search provides a list of all the registered sex offenders around that area. The registry also allows users to locate non-compliant sex offenders.
The registry provides the following information on the sex offenders:
- A picture of the sex offender and when the photo was entered into the registry
- The sex offender’s name and known aliases (if any)
- The sex offense(s) committed by the sex offender
- A summary description of the sex offender’s method of offense
- Whether the sex offender poses a moderate or high risk
- Physical details about the sex offender that will aid identification, like gender, age, date of birth, race, hair color, eye color, weight, height, any tattoos or distinguishing scars
- Information about the sex offender’s car, including the make, model, year, color, and license plate number
In addition, the registry provides an email notification tool. Residents can sign up to receive mail notifications when a sex offender moves into their neighborhood.
Is Public Urination a Sex Offense in New Jersey?
Public urination is generally not an offense in New Jersey, as it is not against any law in the state. While persons that engage in public urination expose their private, public urination does not amount to criminal indecent exposure constituting lewd conduct in New Jersey. New Jersey law defines “lewd acts” as exposing the genitals to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of the actor or any other person. For an act to amount to lewd conduct, it must include flashing, gratuitous public nudity, and having sex in public. For an act to amount to lewd conduct, it must include flashing, gratuitous public nudity, and having sex in public. Individuals that expose themselves while urinating but do not do this for sexual purposes will not be considered to have violated the law on lewd acts. Hence, lack of sexual motive is a strong defense for persons charged with lewd conduct for urinating in public.
While there is no state statute prohibiting public urination in New Jersey, many towns and cities have adopted ordinances prohibiting public urination. A violation of any of these ordinances can warrant penalties.
What is Indecent Exposure in New Jersey?
Indecent exposure is a form of lewdness in New Jersey. Under N.J.S.A. 2C:14-4, a person commits a crime of the fourth degree where the person exposes intimate parts to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of the actor or any person under those situations where the actor knows he is likely to be noticed by a child that is less than 13 years of age, where the actor is older than the child by at least four years. A fourth-degree crime is also committed where a person exposes his intimate parts to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of the actor or any other person under circumstances where the actor knows or reasonably expects he is likely to be observed by a person who because of mental disease or defect is unable to understand the sexual nature of the actor’s conduct.
How to Report a Sex Offender in New Jersey?
Residents can report any of the sex offenders where they notice that the information found in the registry is wrong or that a sex offender failed to register. They can also report a sex offender where they believe a child may be at risk from a sexual offender. To report a sex offender, residents can contact their local law enforcement authority or the State Police:
Division of State Police, Records & Identification Section
P.O. Box 7068
West Trenton, NJ 08628
Phone: (609) 882-2000
A sex offender fails to register under Megan’s Law. It amounts to a serious crime that could make the sex offender face three to five years of imprisonment.
In addition, law enforcement agencies are charged with monitoring the accuracy of information provided where there is a change of address by sex offenders. Some sex offenders are required to verify their addresses annually, while others must verify their addresses every 90 days.