Process for classifying sex offenders in NY:
The court makes 2 important determinations when someone is convicted of certain sex offenses in NY:
- First, the sentencing court determines whether the offender is a Sexual Predator, Sexually Violent Offender, or Predicate Sex Offender.
- Next, the sentencing court decides the offender’s level of notification (Level 1, Level 2, or Level 3 offender).
Before any court proceedings take place, the Board of Examiners of Sex Offenders (“the Board”) makes a recommendation to the sentencing court. This recommendation is about an individual’s risk of re-offense and threat to public safety. To put it another way, the Board recommends to the sentencing court whether the offender should be deemed a sexual predator, sexually violent offender, or predicate sex offender and proposes a level of notification (Level 1, 2, or 3).
What happens at a SORA hearing:
The offender has a right to a HEARING before a court classifies an offender and determines the proper level of notification. The offender also has a right to a lawyer for SORA hearing representation.
- The State proposes a level of notification and classification to the court. Also, the State has the burden of proof as to why the court should follow the State’s proposed classification.
- The individual may argue against the evidence offered by the State.
- To support each side’s proposed classification, both the State and offender may present evidence at this hearing.
- The offender does not have to attend the hearing. However, if the offender does not attend and does not provide a sufficient reason for not attending, then the court will still hold the hearing and determine the person’s classification and level of notification.
After the court considers all of the materials and evidence submitted by both sides, and the Board’s recommendation, then the court schedules another hearing. This is called the “determination proceeding.” At this proceeding the court decides whether a person is classified as a: sexual predator, sexually violent offender, or predicate sex offender and the level of community notification. The court will also issue an order. Either side may APPEAL from the order.
Why is a SORA Hearing Important?
It is important to have high-quality SORA hearing representation, because the court’s determinations affect the following:
- If the offender is placed on NY’s Internet Registry,
- How much information about an offender is provided on the Internet.
- The frequency that someone must verify certain personal information (annually or every 90 days)
- How long a person must register as a sex offender in NY,
- Other collateral consequences, including but not limited to:
- Whether registry information about the offender is available to municipal housing authorities,
- International Megan’s Law
How Maynard Law Office, LLC Can Help You:
Proper legal representation is crucial to obtaining the best possible legal outcome in these initial determinations. Our law firm offers high-quality SORA hearing representation to achieve the lowest possible level of notification. We know how to present compelling evidence to courts. Our lawyers also have professional relationships with expert psychologists who assist in providing expert reports. Our law firm has represented individuals at various sex offense law proceedings that determine a person’s level of risk and proper scope of community notification. Call us today at (973) 540-0054 for a free consultation to discuss your options!