Haunted by Past Offenses
If you have been convicted of a sexually violent offense in California, your parole date—or lack thereof—may be impacted by the Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) statute. This statute gives the state the right to extend your incarceration indefinitely, if the California Board of Parole Hearings (BPH) concludes that you are likely to re-offend upon release. The California criminal defense attorneys at The Rosenfeld Law Firm will help you avoid SVP designation by aggressively defending you prior to and during your SVP commitment hearing.
Before you can be labeled a sexually violent predator, the California Department of Mental Health’s Sex Offender Commitment Program Evaluation Unit must thoroughly examine your case. This is a two-part process that includes the following:
- A review of your criminal history
- A psychological exam performed by two independent clinicians
The psychological exam is performed after the Department of Mental Health (DMH) reviews your criminal history, and then only if your history meets the legal definition of a sexually violent predator’s history.
Avoiding Designation as a Sexually Violent Predator
A very small percentage of convicted sex offenders are sexually violent predators. If you have been convicted of a sex crime, the best way to avoid SVP designation and indefinite commitment to the Department of Mental Health is to enlist the help of an experienced California criminal defense attorney. The defense attorneys at The Rosenfeld Law Firm have the knowledge and skills needed to successfully represent you during your SVP commitment hearing. As stated above, a comprehensive review of your criminal history is the first part of this process. The second part, which in itself includes two sections, is where an aggressive criminal defense is crucial.
It is important that you have a knowledgeable attorney who understands the purpose of the criminal history review vs. the psychological exam. The criminal history review is used to determine whether or not your history matches that of a sexually violent predator. The results of your psychological evaluation are used to diagnose whether or not you currently qualify as a sexually violent predator.
Sexually Violent Predator Psychological Evaluation
Two independent psychiatrists, psychologists, or one of each will perform your SVP psychological exam. During this exam, they will decide whether or not you meet the criteria for designation as a sexually violent predator. In order to meet the legal definition of a sexually violent predator, you must:
- Have a legally diagnosable mental disorder, and
- Be likely to commit additional sexually violent crimes as a result of this disorder
Both evaluating clinicians must agree that the criteria apply to you in order for your case to advance to a commitment hearing. If they do not agree, two additional independent clinicians will evaluate you. If those two disagree on whether or not you should be labeled a sexually violent predator, you will be released on parole.
Gaining Your Freedom and Starting a New Life
The criminal defense attorneys at The Rosenfeld Law Firm treat every case with the utmost care and discretion. Your questions will be answered in a timely fashion; highly skilled investigators will search for potential witnesses and evidence; and your concerns will be taken to heart. Regardless of past mistakes, it is your constitutional right to start over once you have served your sentence. Contact The Rosenfeld Law Firm today to begin your journey back to freedom.
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Along with legal advice, The Rosenfeld Law Firm in Sacramento, California, offers experience and representation in other pertinent areas of practice including prison law, mental health law, appellate law, and federal criminal defense.