Certain sorts of offenses in California may result in higher terms — or possibly make it more difficult to get out of jail. This is especially true in sexually violent offenses, which include acts of force, aggression, coercion, and threats of physical harm. A sexually violent predator, or SVP, is someone who has been convicted of a sexually violent offense. This classification might have a variety of consequences for you.
Keep reading to learn more. If you have been arrested for or charged with a serious crime, contact Chambers Law Firm at 714-760-4088 to request a consultation.
The definition of a sexual violent predator
A sexually violent predator is someone who has been convicted of a sexually violent offense against one or more victims and has a diagnosed mental illness that puts the individual a threat to others’ health and safety by increasing the likelihood of sexually violent criminal activity.
The definition of sexually violent offenses
A sexually violent offense is defined under California law as any sex crime that involves the use of force or violence. The following are examples of sexually violent offenses:
- Unlawful sodomy
- Child molestation
- Unlawful oral copulation
- Kidnapping for the purpose of committing a sex crime
- Assault with the intent to commit a sex crime
Not everyone who has been convicted of a sex offense is deemed a sexually violent predator. Only those who match both of the SVP requirements — a sexually violent offense AND a mental illness that deems them likely to reoffend — are eligible for this classification.
Designating someone as a sexually violent predator
When somebody is jailed for committing a sex offense, they are labeled as SVPs. Inmates convicted of one of the above-mentioned sexually violent felonies will be evaluated by the California Board of Parole Hearings to see if they fit the criteria.
This process starts around 6 months before the person’s anticipated release date. If a person is found to be an SVP by the Parole Board, they are sent to the California Sex Offender Management Board for further investigation. Even if a person is slated for release, they may be kept for up to 45 days longer to complete this review.
If a person is suspected of being an SVP, the case is forwarded to two mental health specialists who will make a final determination as to whether or not they are an SVP. This involves determining whether the offender has a diagnosable mental condition AND if that disorder makes them more likely to conduct additional sexually violent crimes once they are released from jail.
A person who is determined to be an SVP may be committed by the Department of Mental Health. This happens when a court conducts a probable cause hearing to assess if there are reasonable reasons to think they are an SVP.
A yearly evaluation will be undertaken after a person has been committed as an SVP. A person who has been designated as an SVP may also request a court review to see if they are ready to be released under a conditional release program. This program necessitates a parolee’s strict surveillance and compliance with other requirements.
Being labeled a sexually violent predator can lead to a variety of penalties, including extended confinement and draconian terms of release. In a hearing to determine if you are an SVP and whether commitment is appropriate, a professional sex crimes defense attorney can help. Contact Chambers Law Firm at 714-760-4088 for a free legal consultation.