Being convicted of a sex offense can have a tremendous negative effect on your life – often in ways you may not expect. One of the areas you may be most affected is in your personal finances.
The economic impact of a sex offense can continue long after your sentence has ended and all criminal fines and fees have been paid. Though not considered part of a criminal punishment, there are many unexpected out-of-pocket costs that you will nonetheless be required to pay—or risk going back to prison.
Out-of-Pocket Costs Associated With Sex Offenses
Mandatory treatment, supervision, and other factors all can have very high costs that you will be expected to pay with your own money. Here, we delve into a number of these hidden costs associated with a sex offense.
Evaluation and Treatment. In Colorado, every individual convicted of a sex offense is required to submit to a psychological evaluation called a “sex-offense-specific mental-health evaluation.” This cost of this evaluation is usually somewhere between $1,000 and $2,000.
After being evaluated, you will be required to attend treatment and therapy on a regular basis. Generally, there will be about five sessions per month—four group therapy sessions and one private session.
Roughly, you can expect this treatment to be about $300 per month, although, it could easily be more than that. If you fail to pay, you could be considered in violation of the terms of your probation as well as your treatment contract.
How long do you have to go through treatment? It can range anywhere from one to three years. The national average for sex offenders in treatment is about 18 months. Typically, a violation of probation lands a sex offender in prison.
Colorado also requires registered sex offenders to take polygraph tests regularly. Some offenders take this test about twice a year, although if you fail you may be required to take the test more often. The cost of polygraph testing is roughly $250 for each test.
Trackers. Certain sex offenders are required to have a “tracker.” This is usually an off-duty police officer or individual with a law enforcement background who monitors the daily life and schedule of a convicted sex offender.
If your offense requires this kind of supervision, you will have to call your tracker on a regular basis and inform them of your schedule and whereabouts. Everywhere you go, you must inform your tracker where you are going—from the grocery store to the gas station to your treatment to your home.
Your tracker’s job is simple: go to the places you say you are going and make sure you’re really there. This “service” is another hidden expense of a sex offense conviction. Usually your tracker will charge between $15 and $30 per hour.
With treatment, hidden costs can easily surpass $10,000 in the first year after a charge and conviction.
Though these charges are not explicit criminal fines associated with a sex offense, they will still have to be paid or you will face more severe legal complications.
And, as stated above, you will have to pay out of pocket for most or all of these expenses. This can be extremely difficult, as the financial troubles of sex offenders also include limited employment and housing.
Sex Offender Registry. Though the Sex Offender Registry doesn’t come with a specific price tag, it is probably the most costly thing on this list.
Why? Because one of the areas most affected by a sex offense conviction is your professional life. After registering as a sex offender, it will be hard to find gainful employment. As much as prospective employers tend to shy away from hiring regular felons, most are even more reticent about hiring a known sex offender.
In terms of lost potential income, sex offender registry is easily the highest cost of a conviction, to say nothing of the social stigma. Even after you are removed from the registry, your charge will still be on your criminal record.
Furthermore, there is the well-known difficulty of finding housing for sex offenders. In part this is due to the many restrictions you will face on where you can live. These restrictions vary by municipalities, but generally most places prevent sex offenders from living within 500 to 2,500 feet of a school, park, daycare, playground, or recreation center.
With these restrictions, there is often only a small portion of a city where a registered sex offender can live. To make matters worse, community members often protest and work hard to eject sex offenders from their neighborhoods.
No matter how you look at it, a sex offender conviction will have dramatic long-term impact on your life. If you are facing a sex offense charge in Colorado, it is imperative that you contact an experienced criminal attorney to begin working on an effective defense.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012” and “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012 and 2013 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. She has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.