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How Megan’s Law Affects Juvenile Sex Offenders

The State of New Jersey enacted the statute commonly known as
Megan’s Law in 1994 and amended it in 2001 and 2003. It
requires certain convicted adult sex offenders and juveniles
adjudicated as delinquent for commission of a sex offense to
register with law enforcement authorities, schools and employers.
The law also provides for varying levels of community notification
based upon the degree of risk of re‐offense posed to a Megan’s
Law offender’s community. In addition, Megan’s Law applies to
juveniles and adults found not guilty by reason of insanity for
certain enumerated sex offenses.

Megan’s Law provisions governing adults are somewhat different
from those governing juveniles. This guide primarily addresses
how Megan’s Law provisions affect juveniles. It is intended to
provide guidance and direction to youths who were convicted of a
sex offense when they were younger than 18 years of age.

A question‐and‐answer format was selected as a convenient way
to convey the complex provisions of Megan’s Law to youths in
simple, easy‐to‐understand language. The need for such a guide
grew out of the realization that most affected youths have little, if
any, understanding of how the law applies to them and lack the
knowledge of where to seek trustworthy answers to their
questions about what to do to ensure compliance.
Some child advocates question whether Megan’s Law should
apply to juveniles at all. They argue that the underlying premise of
juvenile justice laws is rehabilitation – not punishment. The
assumption is that youths who make mistakes typical to their
young age and lack of maturity can be rehabilitated by the time
they reach the age of majority.

Others believe that the stigma of “sex offender” when applied to
youths prohibits or inhibits them from being able to secure
meaningful employment that will enable them to support
themselves and their families. This issue ought to be debated and
resolved.
However, this booklet does not address whether or how Megan Law
should or should not apply to youthful offenders. It seeks to provide
reliable information to youths who are struggling to understand how
to comply with the law and to offer guidance to child welfare
workers, child advocates, law guardians, public defenders, attorneys
in Megan’s Law Units of county prosecutors’ offices, school district
staff, teachers, guidance counselors, and others who serve or
interact with youths.

Information in this guide is based primarily on information gleaned
from the following:
 Registration and Community Notification Laws (RCNL),
N.J.S.A. 2C:7‐1 to ‐11, commonly known as Megan’s Law,
enacted on October 31, 1994;
 Report on Implementation of Megan’s Law issued by the NJ
Administrative Office of the Courts in November 2007; and
 New Jersey Supreme Court decision, In the Matter of
Registrant J.G. 169, N.J. 304 (2001). It was decided July 17,
2001.
This guide was reviewed by child advocates, public defenders,
attorneys in the Megan’s Law Units of County Prosecutor’s Offices
and other attorneys with expertise and/or experience in the juvenile
provisions of Megan’s Law. In addition, the non‐criminal portions
were reviewed by two senior staff members at Legal Services of
New Jersey. The author greatly appreciates the assistance all of
them provided.

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For close to 25 Years, Dr. Freiden has provided expert court testimony across multiple states for Family and Criminal Lawyers in the protection for their clients. He has also provided expert court testimony for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, The Federal Office of Probation and Parole, and for Department of Corrections for Tennessee and other states. Contact Us