A pre-sentence report is provided to a court before the sentencing of someone who has offended criminal rights. These reports are prepared by probation officers between a person’s conviction and the date that is set for sentencing. The purpose of these reports is to be used by judges in cases involving felonies. The reports are the result of interviews conducted by probation officers and review of a person’s criminal record. To make your pre-sentence report as strong as possible, retain the assistance of an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
The Elements of a Pre-Sentence Interviews
Pre-sentence interviews are comprehensive and gather a great deal of information. A law enforcement officer will likely inquire about a person’s education, employment history, financial status, health, military record, past and present alcohol/drug use, personal and family history, prior criminal record, reason for committing the crime, and version of how the events in questions in question occurred.
Advice on Handling Pre-Sentence Reports
Some of the best ways to respond to pre-sentence interviews are to formulate answers in advance to each of these questions as well to gather documentation about the facts in question. The defendant should also avoid answering questions about their criminal history because arguing that a case resulted in a conviction can result in the interviewer labelling these statements as inaccurate. There is also a risk that by disclosing information about criminal history, a person can inform an interviewer about crimes that might otherwise never be discovered. Similarly, questions about the crime in question should be avoided in many situations at the risk of providing additional incriminating details. Lastly, special note should be made about drug use questions in pre-sentence interviews. Legal counsel will be able to best analyze and determine whether information about drug use should be disclosed. In some situations, law enforcement might consider drug use a mitigating factor in a case. Other judges, however, might view drug use as unlawful conduct that could act as an aggravating sentencing factor.
Waiver of Pre-Sentence Reports
A pre-sentence investigation is often mandatory if a conviction of a felony criminal charge is involved. In some cases, the involved parties or trial judge might waive the pre-sentence report. The most common sentence in which individuals waive these pre-sentence reports are when the judge presiding over the case has guaranteed a favorable sentence. In cases where the judge can sentence bargain, a pre-sentence report might provide the judge a way to avoid a favorable sentence. Because judges often have heard only the plea discussion and its short discussion of the offense, a pre-sentence report can be used to highlight incriminating elements about the crime or the defendant’s background which can result in a more significant sentence. Because there are some situations in which waiver of pre-sentence reports might not be necessary, the assistance of legal counsel can prove to be particularly essential in determining whether to waive these reports.
Obtain the Assistance of a Seasoned Criminal Defense Attorney
Contact the legal counsel at the Federal Criminal Defense Law Center to obtain the assistance that you need in making your pre-sentence report as strong as possible.