Megan’s Law attempts to protect children and citizens from violent sexual abuse. Megan’s Law is the federal and state laws that require that sex offenders who have been convicted register with the state and local law enforcement agencies. It also requires the local law enforcement agencies to maintain a sex offender registry to make the information available to the public. Megan’s Law contains two parts. The first part is the sex offender registration and the second piece is the community notification that makes the information available to the public. Notifying the public usually involves publishing information about the conviction, as well as the name. address and photo of the person convicted. Each state has its own adaptations to the law but they all have similar structures. As you can imagine, sex offenses are taken very seriously which is why finding an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney is so important if you are ever accused of a crime this serious.

History of Megan’s Law

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Megan’s Laws are named after 7-year-old Megan Kanka of Hamilton Township, New Jersey. In 1994, she was invited by her neighbor, Jesse Timmendequas, to see his puppy in his home. Jesse had two previous convictions for sexually assaulting young girls and had just been released. Jesse Timmendequas sexually assaulted the 7- year old girl, killed her and dumped her body in a park nearby. This tragedy sparked an outrage from the public. Megan’s parents gathered over 430,000 signatures to petition the state of New Jersey for more active public notification of sex offenders. It only took 89 days after the murder of Megan Kanka for the state of New Jersey to enact Megan’s Law. From that point, Megan’s law in New Jersey set the stage for the federal legislation, which was signed by President Clinton on May 17, 1996 as an amendment to the Jacob Wetterling Act. The the Jacob Wetterling Act of 1994 had already required states to register those who had committed sex crimes against children. It wasn’t until Megan’s Law that states were encouraged to disclose personal information about registered sex offenders to the public.

Megan’s Law in California

Megan’s Law is covered under the California penal code 290.46 and states that California law enforcement must notify the public about specific sex offenders that may be considered a threat to public safety. This information can be obtained on the Office of Attorney General website. Searches can be done by name or by area code on the California Sex and Arson Registry. The website includes names, known aliases, address, height, weight, date of birth and photos of the registered offender. It also contains a description of their offense and the year of last conviction. The map will also show if the registered offender is in currently in violation of any court orders including registering.

Sex Crime Defense Lawyer in Los Angeles

It has been emphasized by law enforcement officials that any data regarding sex offenders must not be used with the intent of the public taking the law into their own hands and retaliating against offenders on the registry list. However, arming the public with this information still makes it easier for crimes of retaliation to happen. Being accused of a sex crime can have serious implications. It is important to have a defense attorney on your side who understands the laws and defenses in your case to avoid a conviction. If you or someone you know has been accused of a sex crime, count on the aggressive representation of Robert M. Helfend. Contact us now to discuss the circumstances surrounding your case.