FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGICAL EXAMINATIONS IN CRIMINAL CASES

Call us if you need a violence risk assessment, sex offender specific evaluation, competency to stand trial evaluation, ITP evaluation, or other court-ordered psychological evaluation. Our forensic psychologists in Cary, NC completed forensic doctoral internships and residencies, and they have years of experience in forensic psychology in several different states. Both of our forensic psychologists have qualified and testified as an expert witness in Wake County, NC. 

We offer the following criminal forensic psychological services in NC.

We are based in Cary, NC, but we do travel for forensic services. 

General Psychological: An attorney or judge may request a general psychological evaluation in a divorce proceeding or any case in which a person’s mental health is in question. The resulting report includes the individual’s current mental status, diagnosis, and recommendations.

 

Violence Risk Assessment: Aims to determine whether an individual has a mental disorder and the level of dangerousness, but not to determine whether an individual committed a specific offense.

 

Psychosexual: This is a complete psychological evaluation with an additional heavy emphasis on sexual development, values, thoughts, interests, and behaviors.

 

Psychosexual with Risk Assessment: Often called a Sex Offender Specific Evaluation (SOSE), this examination is the same as a psychosexual evaluation with the addition of an assessment of the risk of committing a future sexual offense. We use only evidence-based actuarial risk assessment instruments and are prepared to defend their use in court. 

 

Capital and Homicide Cases: We are experienced evaluators in murder cases, having evaluated defendants to assess competency, criminal responsibility, and mitigating factors. 

Psychological Consultant: Psychologists may be hired by attorneys to consult on a case “behind the scenes”. Examples include educating the attorney about a client’s mental illness, assisting in jury selection or cross-examination, or critiquing another psychologist’s evaluation report.

 

Expert Witness: A psychologist may be asked to testify in court as an expert. The evaluation report may be read out loud in open court, and the expert must answer questions about the report and what transpired during conversations with the respondent and any other involved individual. The expert may be asked to discuss their knowledge regarding the research in a specific area of psychology as it relates to the respondent. Psychological experts may also be asked to educate the court on a specific mental health-related topic. Retainer includes preparation estimate.

 

Fact Witness: A psychologist who has previously evaluated or treated an individual in a clinical context may be asked to testify in court as a fact witness. The psychologist may be asked to discuss the evaluation or psychotherapy with the respondent, details of what was disclosed during sessions, and comment on the respondent’s mental health. Retainer includes preparation estimate.

While our forensic psychologists in Cary have rich backgrounds in various forensic areas, they particularly specialize in sex offender risk assessment and treatment. Dr. Mary Anne Etheridge has testified several dozen times in sex offender cases and has completed well over one hundred psychosexual evaluations with risk assessment. She has over 200 clock hours of training specifically regarding sex offender assessment and treatment, and she has conducted independent research in sex offender risk assessment.

 

Dr. Roy Etheridge is the former Director of Mental Health at Harnett Correctional Institution in Lillington, NC, which included oversight of one of the largest mental health programs in the North Carolina prison system and oversight of the only sex offender program in the NC prison system (SOAR). As a private practitioner, he has worked with the federal government assessing criminal recidivism risk and overseeing the treatment of federal sex offenders on probation in North Carolina. He held the position of Clinical Services Director for the state's federal probation program overseeing sex offenders via a contracted company until 2015. 

Links to our other types of forensic evaluations and expert witness services:

FAQ about Forensic Psychological Evaluations

What is a forensic evaluation?

In short, a forensic evaluation is any psychological evaluation that is related to a legal proceeding. This includes court-ordered psychological evaluations, violence risk assessments, parenting capacity evaluations, competency to stand trial examinations, guardianship evaluations, or any other evaluation related to a civil or criminal legal proceeding. Psychologists also provide services other than forensic examinations, such as attorney consultation, expert witness testimony for the purpose of educating the court about a specific psychological matter, and fact witness services.

 

To make matters a bit more confusing, certain services are considered to be forensic psychological services that do not involve the court system at all. These include Worker's Compensation examinations, disability evaluations, fitness evaluations for police applicants and other public service applicants, and Veteran's Administration evaluations. These are legal-related evaluations that do not typically involve civil or criminal court. 

 

The forensic psychological evaluation typically involves review of clinical and legal documents, interviews of the respondent and other involved individuals, psychological testing, and writing a report to answer specific questions posed by an attorney or judge. At least two appointments with the respondent are usually required.

How is a forensic evaluation different from a regular psychological evaluation?

Forensic evaluations or examinations are not healthcare services. You are not considered to be our patient or client; the "client" is typically the person or agency that requests the evaluation or service. This allows us to be as neutral as possible, as we do not develop a typical doctor/patient relationship with you. 

 

A forensic psychological report is much longer and more detailed than one completed for healthcare purposes. In fact, we often choose different psychological tests for forensic evaluations than for clinical (non-forensic) evaluations. In clinical evaluations, we are encouraged by health insurance companies to use shorter instruments (although we always used evidence-based instruments and practices) and to write our reports as concisely as possible. Forensic psychological evaluations use the most well-researched psychological tests available without the limitations of health insurance restrictions.

 

The forensic psychologist's goal is not to simply diagnose you but to answer specific questions posed by the "client," such as:

 

"Was this individual sane at the time of his offense?" 

 

"Does this individual's diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease require him to be appointed a guardian to handle his affairs?"

 

"Is this individual at risk of committing a sexually violent offense if released to the community?" 

 

"What is the best custody arrangement for this child?"

 

These questions require the psychologist to have specific education, training, and expertise in forensic psychology. 

Does my health insurance cover my forensic evaluation?

In short, no. Health insurance companies pay for medical services, and a forensic evaluation (or any other forensic service) is not considered to be a medical or healthcare service. Our contracts with health insurance companies specifically state that only medically necessary services are to be billed to them; therefore, no forensic evaluation will be billed to your health insurance company. A forensic evaluation or other forensic service does not involve rendering healthcare services to you. 

Will I get a copy of my forensic evaluation report?

As you are not considered to be a patient or client in a forensic evaluation, you will not get a copy of your forensic evaluation report. This is true whether you paid for the evaluation yourself or not. The report will be delivered to the party requesting the evaluation (e.g., your attorney, a judge, your employer, or other individual or agency). If you wish the forensic psychologist to discuss the results with you, we are happy to provide this service, but you will not be given a copy of the report.

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Please note that we conduct our psychological evaluations within the strict ethical guidelines of the American Psychological Association and the laws and rules of the North Carolina Psychology Board. As such, we cannot guarantee a specific outcome, diagnosis, or recommendation upon conducting an evaluation. There is certainly a chance that you will be unhappy with the results or that the evaluation will not benefit your case, and we do not issue refunds. We strongly suggest that you discuss with your attorney prior to hiring us for your court-related psychological evaluation, and we also suggest that you have your attorney consult with us prior to the evaluation. Finally, forensic evaluations must be paid out-of-pocket and will not be billed to your health insurance company. 

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Rates & Insurance

We may be in your network if you have:

We cannot guarantee that services will be covered. Please contact your insurance company. 

 

Click here for important information about using health insurance with us.

 

Click here for our out of pocket rates for clinical services.

FAQ

115 Kildaire Park Dr Ste 313

Cary, NC 27518​

Click for hours of operation

Convenient to Raleigh, Apex, Morrisville, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, and Garner, in Wake County NC

 

Phone:  919.600.4906

Fax:      888.887.6361

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Material on this website is for information purposes only. Nothing on this website is intended to diagnose or treat any physical or mental illness and does not establish a practitioner-patient relationship. If you choose to email us, you do so at your own risk and agree to allow us to email you in return. 

© 2020 by ETHERIDGE PSYCHOLOGY, P.A.