In addition to the concerns outlined in my post regarding sex offenses, a person convicted of any offense which lands them on the sex offender registration list must be assessed by the State Board to Assess Sexually Violent Predators. The board considers relevant factors authorized by statute and uses standard assessment tools in their evaluation.
Being labeled as a sexually violent predator comes with serious restrictions and obligations that may follow an offender for life. This may include paying for and attending mandatory monthly counseling sessions for the term of the registration. The stigma attached to being placed on the Sex Offender Registry is only increased by being labeled as a sexually violent predator.
Fortunately for those convicted of a sex offense requiring registration, you do have the right to have counsel present during an evaluation. Factors considered by the Sexual Offenders Assessment Board (SOAB) in evaluating whether a person is to be designated as a sexually violent predator (SVP) include:
The nature of the offense, the type of sexual contact had with the victim,a whether the individual exceeded the means necessary to achieve the offense, whether unusual cruelty was displayed by the perpetrator, and the age and mental sophistication of the victim. Relevant factors include any psychiatric conditions suffered by the person assessed, drug use, and other relevant factors.
The Commonwealth will have an expert designated to perform these assessments and testify as to whether the defendant should be classified as a sexually violent predator. These assessments are not limited to evidence presented at trial or in the taking of a guilty plea. As one may imagine, the odds of being designated as a SVP based on testimony of an evaluator through the SOAB board can often come out against the defendant. A key part of a defense against being assessed as a SVP is the testimony of a counter-expert to testify on the defendants behalf.
If you have been accused or convicted of a sex offense triggering evaluation of SVP status, this is no time to go it alone. You need an experienced attorney to counsel you on the potential consequences you may be facing, prepare you for the evaluation, and to marshal evidence to build a strong defense. Attorney Frank Walker is experienced in the handling of sex offenses including the post-conviction proceedings regarding sexually violent predator status. Call (412) 315-7441 to set up a consultation today!
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