Houston Criminal Defense Blog

Psychological Tests in Sex Offender Cases

In the state of Texas, most sex offenders are required to undergo psychological tests to determine their state of mind when they are charged with a sex crime. These tests have direct implications on the rest of the trial and on whether the juvenile defendant will be convicted of his or her alleged offense. The quantitative testing checks for abnormal sexual behaviors and signs of psychopathy. It is always administered by agencies appointed by the state.

Normally, juveniles are given qualitative testing such as clinical interviews with an expert psychologist. This is considered an important part of identifying, sentencing, and treating juvenile sex offenders. Tests administered as a part of the treatment will only be considered legal If they are carried out by an organization that is licensed by the Texas Council on Sec Offender treatment. This means that not any doctor or psychologist can administer the tests and use the results in court.

Psychologists that run these tests on defendants normally use the psychopathy checklist designed by Robert D. Hare as a part of their clinical testing. This test is administered to sex offenders of all ages. Individuals are given a score for each of 20 predefined characteristics. These characteristics include poor behavioral control, impulsivity, sexual promiscuity, juvenile delinquency, irresponsibility, grandiose sense of self-worth, cunning, pathological lying, manipulative nature, glibness and superficial charge, and more.

A high overall score regarding these characteristics may result in proof that the individual tested is psychopathic. As a result, the court may be more lenient when it comes to sentencing, claiming that the individual could not help the fact that he or she committed the crime. The Texas Council on Sex Offender Treatment also performs mandatory phallometric testing on sex offenders.

This testing is to determine an individuals’ tendency to commit more sexual crimes in the future. Texas state authorities often commonly require a clinical review with an approved psychologist as an additional test to determine a defendant’s mental state of health. If you have more questions about these psychological tests or are looking for a Houston sex crimes lawyer, then talk to Billy Skinner & Associates today!

Categories: Sex Crimes