Despite the obvious consequences that result from a conviction for a serious crime, convictions for certain crimes also cause the offender to become labeled a sexually violent predator (SVP). By law, a sexually violent predator is somebody “who suffers from a mental abnormality or personality disorder that makes the individual likely to repeatedly commit a sex offense.” IC 35-38-1-7.5. Accordingly, a person convicted of a crime that causes them to be labeled as a sexually violent predator is required to register as a sex or violent offender for the rest of their life.
There are several avenues by which a person becomes a SVP:
1. If the person is 18 or older and commits, attempts to commit, or conspires to commit any of the following offenses:
- Child Molesting as a Class A or B felony, or a Level 1-4 felony;
- Vicarious sexual gratification as a Level 2-4 felony; or
- Any offense outside of Indiana, including a military court, that is substantially similar to any offense listed above.
2. If the person commits a sex offense while having a previous unrelated conviction for a sex offense for which the person is already required to register as a sex or violent offender.
3. If the person commits a sex offense while having a previous unrelated adjudication as a delinquent child for an act that would be a sex offense if committed by an adult if the person was already required to register as a sexual or violent offender.
4. If the person commits a sex offense while having a previous unrelated adjudication as a delinquent child for an act that would be a sex offense and, after considering expert testimony, a court find by clear and convincing evidence that the person is likely to commit an additional sex offense.
However, the offender is not a SVP if all of the following conditions exist:
- The victim was 12 or more years old or older;
- The person is not more than 4 years older than the victim;
- The relationship between person and the victim was dating relationship or a ongoing personal relationship;
- The offense was not any of the following:
- Criminal deviate conduct
- An offense committed by using or threatening the use of deadly force or while armed with a deadly weapon;
- An offense that results in serious bodily injury;
- An offense that is facilitated by furnishing the victim, without the victim’s knowledge, with a drug or a controlled substance or knowing that the victim was furnished with a drug or controlled substance without the victim’s knowledge;
- The person has not committed another sex offense against any other person;
- The person did not have a position of authority or substantial influence over the victim; or
- The court finds that the person should not be considered a sexually violent predator.
Even if a person is not automatically considered to be a SVP by one of the four ways mentioned above, the prosecuting attorney may request the court to conduct a hearing to determine whether the person should be considered a SVP. If the court grants the prosecutor’s request, the court shall then appoint 2 psychologists or psychiatrists who have expertise in criminal behavioral disorders to evaluate the person and testify at the hearing. After conducting the hearing and hearing the evidence, the court may them make a determination. This hearing may also be combined with an individual’s sentencing hearing.
It is possible for a person who is considered to be a SVP to get away from that classification. As long as the person does not have 2 or more unrelated convictions that would classify them as a sex offender for which they have to register, they may petition the sentencing court after 10 years have passed from either (1) the date they were determined to be a sexually violent predator, or (2) when they were released from incarceration or secured detention. A petition to no longer be considered a SVP may be filed once every 365 days. Once the court receives such a petition, they may dismiss it or conduct a hearing. If the court chooses to conduct a hearing, they must then appoint 2 psychologists or psychiatrists who have expertise in criminal behavioral disorders to evaluate the person and testify at the hearing. If the court determines the person is no longer a SVP, the court shall send notice to the department of corrections that the person is no longer a SVP or an offender against children. Accordingly, any condition imposed on person due to their status as a SVP no longer applies if they are considered to no longer be a sexually violent predator.
If you or anyone you know is a facing a crime that could make them a sexually violent predator, or even if they’ve already been convicted of a crime that made them a sexually violent predator, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Banks & Brower, LLC for a free consultation to discuss what options may be available. We are available 24/7/365 by calling us at (317) 870-0019 or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.