Individuals convicted of committing sex crimes in Connecticut are almost always placed on sex offender probation and required to register as sex offenders after completing their custodial sentences. This more rigorous form of supervised release can last as long as 35 years. Here, we will explain what sex offender probation in Connecticut is, how long it lasts and the legal steps offenders can take to end it early.
What Is Sex Offender Probation?
Sex offenders in Connecticut are supervised based on their perceived risk level. This is determined by the probation officer assigned to the case and the treatment professionals who evaluated the offender and prepared a risk assessment report.
Probation officers usually supervise about 40 sex offenders at any given time, and they receive specialized training before being assigned these cases. The Court Support Services Division policy for supervising sex offenders includes personal contacts, contact with treatment providers and interviews of family members, friends, coworkers and employers.
Sex Offender Evaluations
The first step in the process is usually an evaluation conducted by a treatment provider approved by the court. The purpose of the evaluation is to determine what kind of treatment is appropriate.
Based largely on the results of this evaluation, additional conditions and restrictions are placed on the offender. Offenders are also expected to meet the general conditions of probation. These additional restrictions and conditions could require the offender to:
- Participate in any treatment program directed by the court or their probation officer. Offenders may be required to cover the cost of some or all of their treatment.
- Submit to polygraph tests administered by CSSD-approved examiners. The results of these tests are used to make treatment decisions and determine the appropriate level of supervision.
- Have no contact with the victim or the victim’s family. This applies to in-person, written and electronic communication and communication through third parties.
- Notify their probation officer if they become involved in a romantic relationship.
- Live only in homes that have been approved by their probation officer.
- Allow their probation officer to enter their residence without a warrant at any time.
- Take only jobs that have been approved by their probation officer.
- Abide by any curfew imposed by their probation officer.
- Submit to electronic monitoring.
- Avoid sexually explicit materials and companies that provide access to it.
- Notify their probation officers if they spend time with people who have children under the age of 16.
- Avoid schools, parks and other areas often frequented by children under the age of 16.
- Allow their probation officer to search their computer.
How Long Does Sex Offender Probation Last?
Sex offender probation is mandatory in most cases involving sex crimes and usually lasts for between 10 and 25 years. While judges may be required to place sex offenders on probation for at least 10 years, they can modify this period at a later date based on factors including hardship and good cause.
Individuals convicted of committing serious sex offenses can be placed on sex offender probation for up to 35 years. Sex offenses in Connecticut that could lead to enhanced sex offender probation include:
- Sexual assault in the first degree
- Sexual assault in the second degree
- Sexual assault in the third degree
- Aggravated sexual assault in the first degree
- Sexual assault in a cohabiting or spousal relationship
Does Sex Offender Probation Ever End Early?
The sentencing judge or court can terminate sex offender probation at any time as long as the individual involved was not convicted of first, second or third-degree sexual assault, aggravated first-degree sexual assault or risk of injury to a minor. Decisions to end sex offender probation are made after a court hearing has established good cause.
The end of sex offender probation does not necessarily mean the end of general probation, and offenders who are no longer required to attend treatment sessions could still be expected to meet with their probation officers on a regular basis and submit to random drug tests.
These individuals would still be under supervised release, but they would no longer be classified as sex offenders. Offenders become eligible for reclassification when they have been on probation for a long time and have complied with the conditions established by the court.
What Constitutes Good Cause?
Before determining whether good cause to end sex offender probation early exists, the court hears from the probation officer assigned to the case and medical professionals who have evaluated or treated the offender. Behavior that could encourage judges to end sex offender probation early includes attending and participating in treatment and counseling sessions and abiding by all of the general and specialized conditions of probation.
Probation may also be ended early when it imposes an unreasonable hardship on the offender. These hardships could include employment difficulties or travel challenges that make it hard to attend sessions mandated by the court.
Evaluating Legal Options
If you have been placed on sex offender probation in Connecticut, an experienced criminal defense attorney could examine the facts of your case and advise you about your legal options. During a free consultation at the Moynahan Law Firm in Waterbury, you could learn more about establishing good cause and seeking reclassification. You can schedule an appointment by calling us on (203) 597-6364, or you could complete our online contact form.