The situation goes like this: you’ve just received a guilty judgment for whatever Las Vegas crime you are accused of. You might’ve expected the court to hand down the penalties you’ll have to deal with afterwards. That is not how the process works, however; there are other steps that the authorities take before a defendant receives their penalties.
As a matter of course, the authorities must first prepare an important document to help determine what punishment equates to the defendant’s crime. This document is called the presentence investigation report, and it has a major effect on how a person’s sentence goes ahead. Let’s look at what a presentence investigation report is in detail.
What’s a PSI Report?
A presentence investigation report is a document that compiles important information about a convicted individual. The court then utilizes the document to determine the level of penalties that the convicted individual will receive. The duty of completing this report falls to the Nevada Parole and Probation division of the state’s Department of Public Safety.
The presentence investigation is a mandatory part of the pre-sentencing process. The defendant cannot opt out of answering the probation officer’s questions, no matter what case they were convicted for. They are obliged to provide information that pertains to their crime so that the court can determine the appropriate punishment.
What’s in the Report
PSI reports are intended to be comprehensive, containing all vital information that can help the courts decide what level of punishment a convicted individual will receive. It often contains the following types of information obtained from the convicted:
- Prior convictions (if any)
- Other pending/unresolved charges
- Instances of failure to appear in court (if any)
- Child support obligations (if any)
- Convicted person’s characteristics (mental health, substance abuse records, extended family, finances)
- Overall impact of the crime on the victim/s
- Previous arrests within the past 10 years
- Possible affiliations with criminal groups
- Records of participating in diversions or specialty courts
- psychosexual analysis for sexual offenders that face probation
Other pieces of information may be added depending on the circumstances of the crime and the convicted individual.
Other Uses for a PSI
PSI reports aren’t only utilized for determining the level of penalties that a defendant will receive. They are also an important reference point for other law enforcement agencies when discharging their duties. Such agencies include:
- Nevada Department of Corrections, for allocating inmates
- Parole Board, for parole hearings
- Parole and Probation Division, for monitoring individuals on parole
- Correctional facilities, for determining how an inmate’s rehabilitation process will go
- Probation agencies in other states that the individual might move to
- Law enforcement when the individual becomes a fugitive
A presentence investigation report dictates how heavy your punishment is after a conviction, so you must never ignore it. Ask your criminal defense attorney to learn more about the pre-sentencing process.