What is a Psychosexual Evaluation and How is it Used in Michigan Sex Crimes Cases?

A psychosexual evaluation (PSE) is a psychological assessment administered by a licensed psychologist that collects information about one’s biographical and sexual history.  In addition to the clinical interview, the therapist will also administer several related psychometric tests, and based on both, will provide an opinion relative to the propensity one might have to commit a future criminal sexual act. Beyond the evaluation and determination of criminal recidivism, the PSE should also provide, if necessary, a treatment plan to give the person the tools to control sexual urges and avoid potentially criminal situations in the future.

What subjects are covered in the PSE?

The PSE is lengthy and can take several hours to two days to complete. Questions are centered around the client’s social and sexual history ranging from simple biographical information to very specific and detailed sexual encounters. Questions of a sexual nature will include topics like sexual fantasies, sexual relationships, and masturbation.

What if questions in the PRE could lead to incriminating answers?

It is important the defense attorney fully prepare the client for the PRE. By the time the client goes to the PRE, the defense attorney should know everything that could be revealed in the PRE. Since it is possible that the PRE questioning reveals prior bad acts that law enforcement does not know about, it is absolutely imperative that the defense attorney and the client are able to communicate honestly and effectively about very sensitive subjects. If prior bad acts exist that may point to more charges if law enforcement are informed, the defense attorney and client should discuss at length how to handle this subject before the PRE is conducted. In some cases, a PRE may not be recommended.

For what criminal charges should a psychosexual evaluation be obtained?

The sex crimes defense attorneys at the Barone Defense Firm proactively refer almost all clients facing sex crimes charges to a respected, licensed psychologist for a psychosexual evaluation. In Michigan, cases that can benefit from a proactive PSE include criminal sexual conduct (CSC, or, rape/sexual assault) and all types of child sexually abusive material (CSAM, or child pornography). Federal sex crimes cases in Michigan can also benefit from a PSE. These crimes might have slightly different names but have nearly identical elements. For example, Michigan calls possession of child pornography, possession of child sexually abusive material. At the federal level, this crime is simply called possession of child pornography.

How exactly is the PRE used to help in a sex crimes case?

The experienced sex crimes defense lawyers at the Barone Defense Firm use the PSE to try to convince the prosecutor, along with other evidence, that the case should be dismissed or that the client deserves a reduced charge. It can also be used in a conviction or guilty plea to try to convince the judge that the sentence should be minimized to the greatest extent possible.

In some cases, clients have already admitted to the sex crimes they are accused of before the Barone Defense Firm attorneys become involved. In these cases, a proactive PRE becomes even more important. If the evidence is stacked against the client AND there is an admission obtained legally by the police, mitigation of the sentence after a guilty plea is the main job of the defense attorney. The PRE is the main tool in this sentence mitigation effort. A favorable PRE, leveraged in the right way by an experienced sex crimes attorney, could shed years off a sentence.

If the PRE shows that the client is not at risk to commit another sex crime, the PRE can also be leveraged to request that the client should not have to be a registered sex offender through SORA.

If you are facing a sex crime charge in Michigan like criminal sexual conduct or child pornography, the issues of whether to complete a psychosexual evaluation, how to prepare for it, and who to do it with are extremely important to the result of the case and, ultimately, your freedom. For these reasons, it is important to trust the sex crimes defense attorneys at the Barone Defense Firm to discuss with you your options and make a referral to a trusted professional. If you need help, please do not hesitate to call us for a complimentary consultation.

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