Interviewer: When someone is registered as a sex offender, how long would they be on there? Is it forever?
Tom Chaves: No. After 15 years in general, depending on the tier classification, the person can make a motion in court to be removed from the registration. However, if someone is in the highest level of tier 3, although technically they can make that application, the likelihood of them having it granted is remote. On the other hand, if people have the lowest tier classification in terms of risk which is deemed to be tier 1, then if the person has had a good process over the years since the person was on the Megan’s Law Registry, they can make that application to the court and that, depending on the circumstances, does have a better chance of success.
When a Person is Charged with a Serious Offense , Plea Bargains Tend to Look More Favorable than a Court Trial
At the same time, when someone is charged with a very serious offense, there’s always a great risk that if the person’s found guilty that they’re going to get a long prison sentence. And as a result of that, frequently that risk outweighs the chance of winning a trial and people are willing to take plea bargains assuming the plea bargain is reasonable. So, it really depends on the circumstances and you can’t really make a general statement with respect to what the strategy would be in any particular case. Every case is unique and individual. And the same thing that applies in all cases involved criminal charges that there is no one size fits all approach. It really depends on what the exact charge is and what the circumstances are and evidence as they relate to that particular defendant.
Sexual Contact is Unwanted Touching Whereas an Assault Involves More than just touching
Interviewer: In the scenario where someone accused you inappropriately touching them or trying to force them to have sex with you or of having sex with them?
Tom Chaves: Those are obviously different things. I mean the criminal sexual contact is an unwanted touching, whereas an assault involves something more than just an unwanted touching and that’s where the grading of the sexual assaults really takes place. It also depends on what the status is of the victim. So, in other words, if someone is below the statutory age of consent (in New Jersey the age of consent generally is 16 years of age except when the other person has a familial or supervisory relationship such as a teacher or coach), then it’s a per se violation, it’s a sexual assault, which is an aggravated sexual assault.