New Jersey Megan’s Law Tier Classification Attorneys
Did you receive a Notice of Proposed Tier Classification or Application for Judicial Review from a New Jersey County Prosecutor’s Office? These applications are part of the Sex Offender Registration process under New Jersey’s Megan’s Law. There are three types of tier classification for individuals who are placed on Megan’s Law: Tier 1 (lowest risk), Tier 2 (moderate risk) and Tier 3 (highest risk). Using the Risk Assessment Scale (discussed below), the County Prosecutor’s Office is required to make an application before the Superior Court for the formal registration of your tier classification under Megan’s Law. This applies individuals who are convicted and reside in New Jersey as well as those who are convicted in a separate state but live in New Jersey or work in New Jersey.
Can I fight this? Yes, you can fight the County Prosecutor’s application for Tier 2 or Tier 3 registration. The formula used by the County Prosecutor’s office to determine your tier classification is can be contested in its application to the facts of your case and how your overall risk assessment may be lowering than your actual “score”. Contact the Megan’s Law Tier Classification Attorneys at Proetta, Oliver & Fay today to find out what steps can be taken to avoid inclusion on New Jersey’s Sex Offender Internet Registry. We can be reached at 609-832-3202.
What are the Differences Between Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3?
There is a big difference between the three (3) tier levels. Tier 1 means you pose a low risk for re-offense. Accordingly, Tier 1 typically only requires notifying local law enforcement agencies in the area you live/work.
Tier 2 means you pose a moderate risk of re-offense. Tier 2 classification typically requires notification of local law enforcement agencies and educational institutions/facilities in the area you live/work. Additionally, notification under Tier 2 may include being listed on the New Jersey Sex Offender Internet Registry.
Tier 3 means you pose a high risk for re-offense. Therefore, Tier 3 carries the greatest amount of public notification. Tier 3 classification mandates notification of local law enforcement agencies, educational institutions/facilities in the area you live/work. door-to-door notification of neighbors and inclusion on the New Jersey Sex Offender Internet Registry.
What is a Notice of Proposed Tier Classification for NJ Megan’s Law?
If you were convicted of one of the enumerated sex offenses that require registration under Megan’s Law as a condition of your sentence, then you will receive a “Notice of Proposed Tier Classification”. Some of the common sex offenses that require registration in New Jersey include: Aggravated Sexual Assault; Sexual Assault; Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact; Promoting prostitution of a child; Luring; Criminal Sexual Contact (victim is under the age of 18); Kidnapping; and Endangering the Welfare of Child. This Notice of Proposed Tier Classification is not the final ruling in what level of tiering you will be placed on for Megan’s Law Registration. It is simply the State’s proposed level, based on their review of the facts in your underling sex offense conviction and the Risk Assessment Scale. Our office has contested these Proposed Tier Classifications and found that the State is not immune from making errors in their calculations or their “assessment” of the facts of your underlying conviction. Furthermore, a psychological evaluation may dispute the potential “risk” you pose to the community (something the State rarely utilizes in their applications).
How to Fight a Tier 2 Classification for Megan’s Law?
First, we must file a formal challenge to the Proposed Tier Classification. Whether the proposed Tier Classification is Tier 2 or Tier 3, it is well-worth your time to speak with an attorney about how you can challenge the proposed classification to lower a Tier 3 to Tier 2 (avoid Internet Registry) or Tier 2 to Tier 1 (avoid notification to local schools, daycares and camps). Fighting these proposed classification are very fact-specific and detail-oriented. If we can challenge the State’s rendition of events involved in the underlying criminal conviction, that may allow us to lower your proposed classification. Alternatively, obtaining favorable psychological evaluation regarding your risk for re-offense may also provide an opportunity to challenge the State’s proposed tier classification. Any argument against the State’s proposed classification must be presented before the Superior Court Judge in a formal hearing, including testimony from fact-witnesses or experts.
Every case is different and requires a narrowly-tailored approach. Contact our office for more information on this process.
What is a Registrant Risk Assessment Scale?
During the summer of 1995, the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office convened a committee, comprised of clinicians, attorneys and law enforcement, to develop a risk assessment scale to help county prosecutors perform a standardized, consistent risk assessment. The result was the Registration Risk Assessment Scale (“RRAS”).
Thereafter, the New Jersey Supreme Court addressed the role of the RRAS in the context of the tier determination hearings, finding that the RRAS is “presumptively reliable,” but is “merely a tool,” so the ultimate decision regarding tier classification and scope of notification is reserved for “the sound discretion of the trial court.”
Although the RRAS is a useful tool, “[i]t does not graduate to an irrebuttable presumption simply because it is properly and accurately computed.” Instead, the Scale serves as “a guideline for the court to follow in conjunction with other relevant and reliable evidence in reaching an ultimate determination of the risk of re-offense posed by the registrant and the appropriate notification due the community.”
Lawyers for Megan’s Law Tier Classification Cases
Megan’s Law notification requirements are highly intrusive to an individuals private life. A simple change of Tier 3 to Tier 2 or Tier 2 to Tier 1 can have a profound impact on your life. Do not allow the State to bulldoze you into a Tier 2 or Tier 3 classification. Contact William C. Fay, IV, Esq. for a consultation on how we can assist in your Megan’s Law Proposed Tier Classification. Mr. Fay is experienced handling various sex offenses, Megan’s Law Removal applications and various other related issues. Our office can be reached 24/7 for your convenience. Please do not hesitate to contact our office today at 609-832-3202.