If you’re facing criminal charges, you will likely start hearing a lot of legal jargon as your case moves forward. A presentence investigation report, also known as a PSI report, is just one legal concept you will be hearing about until your case is over. So why is a PSI ordered and what does the presentence investigation process involve? Here’s what you should know about the PSI report as your case gets started.
What Is a PSI Report?
A PSI report, also known as a presentence investigation report, consists of paperwork that a judge can use to help determine the right way to punish a defendant in a court case. This is because the PSI report features information on the defendant’s background, including his or her character, upbringing, criminal history, health, and any other details that might affect the severity of the sentence. The state system usually orders a presentence investigation report when handling felony cases, while federal cases always require one. Note that a federal PSI may also be referred to as a presentence report, or PSR.
Who Writes the Presentence Investigation Report?
With both a state and federal presentence investigation report, it’s up to a probation officer to research and write the document. This requires the officer to first interview the defendant and then collaborate with other professionals involved in the case. The point is to get a good overview of the defendant’s behavior and character before the judge reads the PSI report and decides on the proper sentencing.
What Factors Are Considered in the Presentence Investigation Report?
Now that you know who conducts the presentence investigation, it’s time to learn what is included in a presentence report. In general, the PSI report needs to include details on the offense in question, as well as information on the defendant’s criminal history. The PSI should also describe the defendant’s family history, education, employment record, any military service, finances, and health. Additionally, it often mentions how the crime affected the victim, as well as whether restitution to the victim or the victim’s family might be appropriate. The judge may request more information as needed aside from the above details. If you’re concerned about the PSI report process for your case, you need the sentencing consulting services of Seth Kretzer, so contact our firm today.
Is There a Presentence Investigation Drug Test?
Since the judge can request additional information, it’s possible that he or she will order a presentence investigation drug test. It’s especially likely when the crime was a drug-related offense. It’s best to be prepared for a drug test during the presentence investigation process, particularly if the crime involved substance abuse.
How Does the Judge Use a Presentence Investigation Report?
The purpose of the PSI report is for the judge to have all the information necessary to come up with the proper sentence for the defendant. For this reason, the judge will review the report before the sentencing hearing begins. He or she will use it to determine what’s best for the victim, the defendant, and society in general.
If you have any concerns about the presentence investigation process for your case, you need help from a Houston federal criminal defense attorney you can trust.
Contact the Law Offices of Seth Kretzer today to schedule a free consultation so you can get the legal guidance you deserve.