One of the basic criteria for being relieved of Megan’s Law registration and Parole Supervision for Life requirements is that the movant must have remained offense-free and conviction-free for 15 years from the date of their conviction or the date of release from a State prison facility, whichever is later. As we have discussed in prior blog entries and on our firm’s website, there is a crucial difference in the wording of the statutes containing this requirement. The Megan’s Law statute states that the movant must not have “committed an offense” within this 15-year period, while the Parole Supervision for Life statutes says that the movant must not have “committed a crime” during that time. Arguably, this may mean that someone who was charged with an offense but not convicted of a crime during the relevant time period can be removed from parole supervision, but can still be required to register under Megan’s Law. It is actually not all that unusual for someone to be removed from PSL, but still be required to register under Megan’s Law. A Megan’s Law attorney in New Jersey can discuss these distinctions with you in greater detail.
We are Parole Supervision for Life lawyers in New Jersey who represent clients seeking to be removed from these burdensome regimens. We therefore stay on top of all of the latest developments in the law concerning these issues. A recent appellate court decision discussed an important issue for individuals who may have encountered problems while on parole supervision, and are now trying to have their registration and supervision obligations terminated.
Many individuals who consult with us concerning a termination motion do not have conventional criminal charges or convictions in any court at any time during the 15-year period. They have, however, violated their parole and have incurred parole violations. If the person is adjudicated guilty of a parole violation, their parole may be revoked and they can be required to serve a prison term of at least twelve months. As New Jersey parole violation attorneys, we frequently represent such clients in violation hearings before the parole board.
This issue has been explored by several courts considering termination motions. Recently, an appellate panel found that a parole violation, standing by itself, is not the same thing as a charged offense or criminal conviction. This is because the parole board is an administrative agency as opposed to a court. The violations it issues are therefore administrative in nature, as opposed to conventional charges for an offense. Further, its decision sustaining a violation is not the same thing as a conviction. Since the entire parole violation is handled through an administrative agency as opposed to a court, a parole violation is not an “offense” as contemplated by the Megan’s Law statute, or a “conviction” within the sense of the PSL statute. At the same time, however, a number of violations can result in a finding that the movant cannot not show that they are not a danger to the community. If this happens, the movant will not be able to satisfy the other prong of the test for relief (e.g., that they are not a danger to others). In the case before the Appellate court, the movant had four parole violations and was therefore still viewed as dangerous, regardless of the fact that he had no offenses or convictions for 15 years. Do not assume that you are automatically “out of the box” if you have four parole violations – A New Jersey Megan’s Law lawyer can advise you as to your unique situation.
Another issue that individuals with parole violations need to remember is that a county prosecutor can still charge them with a criminal offense for violating their parole even if the parole board decides to hear and determine the violation through administrative channels. If this occurs and the individual is found guilty in court of a criminal offense stemming from the parole violation, they will be left with a criminal conviction that will bar them from from having their Megan’s Law and PSL obligations terminated. A New Jersey Parole Supervision for Life attorney should be consulted to determine if this problem exists.
James S. Friedman, Esq., is a New Jersey Megan’s Law lawyer who represents individuals in all New Jersey counties on motions to terminate Megan’s Law and PSL obligations. If you are subject to these requirements, call us to learn whether you meet the requirements for termination. And always remember – anyone who is unfortunately subject to these statutes should be trying to get off at the first opportunity. You can reach us at 800-361-6554, or go to our website at jfriedlawfirm.com.