What is a Sexually Violent Predator (“SVP”) in Pennsylvania?
Those convicted of certain sex offenses in PA are assessed to determine if they are “Sexually Violent Predators” (SVP).
To begin with, a “sexually violent predator” is someone:
- who was convicted of a sex offense,
- who suffers from a disorder that makes the person more likely to commit sex offenses (a mental disorder or personality disorder).
See 42 Pa.C.S. § 9799.53 for more information.
Those who have been convicted of a sex offense in PA must undergo an “SVP assessment.” The SVP assessment occurs before sentencing.
Below are just some of the consequences of classification as a Sexually Violent Predator in PA:
- Lifetime registration as a sex offender in PA
- Placement on PA’s Internet Registry for life.
- Address verification four times per year.
- Notification of SVP status to neighbors, schools, other community organizations, etc.
Because a person who is designated an SVP experiences significant restrictions on his freedom and must comply with so many laws, it is vital to consult with a lawyer if convicted of a sex offense in PA.
How does PA decide whether a sex offender is an SVP?
- First, before an offender receives a sentence, the State Sexual Offender Assessment Board (“the Board”) will conduct an assessment.
- During the assessment, the Board considers many factors. Some factors include, for example: the facts of the current offense, prior offense history, and characteristics of the individual, etc.
- Next, the Board submits a written report. This includes its recommendation about whether a person should be classified as a SVP.
- The court then holds a hearing to decide whether a person is an SVP. Importantly, the Commonwealth of PA must prove by clear and convincing evidence that an individual is an SVP. However, offenders may have their own expert witnesses testify to argue against the State’s proposed SVP classification. In other words, both the Commonwealth and the offender may present evidence to the court about whether a person should be classified as an SVP.
- Finally, the court decides whether the offender is a Sexually Violent Predator (“SVP”).
Legal Services: Challenging SVP Classification
At Maynard Law Office, LLC our law firm has experience challenging attempts to assert various sex offender classifications, including SVP. Our lawyers are able to integrate a solid knowledge of PA sex offense law with the science behind sex offense recidivism. So call Maynard Law Office, LLC today at (973) 540-0054 to discuss your matter with a knowledgeable lawyer!