New Jersey Court Clarifies Exceptions to the Sex-Offender Registry Requirement

Typically, when a person is convicted of a sex crime, the person will be deemed a sex offender. This often requires, in part, that the person registers on the internet as a sex offender. There is an exception to the internet registry requirement, however, for people convicted of a single-sex offense committed against a blood-relative, which is usually referred to as the household exception. In a recent case in which the defendant objected to the internet registry requirement, a New Jersey appellate court analyzed whether the household exception applies to a person convicted of sex crimes against multiple children in his household.  If you are charged with a sex crime, it is critical to engage an assertive New Jersey criminal defense attorney who will fight to protect your rights and reputation.

Facts of the Case

Reportedly, the defendant pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated sexual assault. The victims were two children that resided in the defendant’s household. The defendant was sentenced to eight concurrent years of imprisonment for each crime. Following his release, a Megan’s Law classification hearing was held during which the defendant was deemed a Tier II offender with a moderate risk of committing another offense. The hearing judge also determined that the defendant was required to register pursuant to the Internet Sex Offender Central Registry statute. The defendant objected to the registry requirement, arguing that the household exception to the internet registry requirement should apply. The hearing judge rejected the defendant’s assertions, and the defendant appealed.

The Household Exception to the Sex-Offender Internet Registry Requirement

In New Jersey, some people convicted of sex crimes are exempt from the internet registry requirement. Specifically, a person who is no more than a moderate risk may be exempt from the requirement if his or her sole sex offense is a conviction that arose out of circumstances in which the victim was a blood relative of the offender. The statute specifically provides that a sole sex offense is a single conviction or adjudication of guilt for a sex crime in which there was only one victim, one occurrence, that involves members of a single household.

The defendant argued that as his victims both resided in a single household, his convictions constituted a sole sex offense, and therefore, the household exemption should apply. The court disagreed, finding that the word “members” could refer to a perpetrator and victim and not multiple victims. Further, the court explained that the plural word could not overcome the clear language at the beginning of the provision that stated a sole sex offense was a single conviction for a crime with one victim. Thus, the appellate court affirmed the hearing officer’s order.

Discuss Your Charges with a Skillful Criminal Defense Attorney

Being required to register as a sex offender on the internet can cause grave harm to your reputation. If you are charged with a sex crime, it is prudent to speak to an attorney regarding what defenses you may be able to assert. The skillful New Jersey criminal defense attorneys of The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall are proficient at helping people charged with sex crimes set forth persuasive defenses, and we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can reach us at 877-450-8301 or via the form online to set up a meeting.

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