Pre Sentence Reports

What Is The Pre-Sentence Information Report?

A Pre-Sentence Information Report (PSIR) is prepared by the U.S. probation officer assigned to your case. He or she will interview you, your family and friends, the arresting officer, the victim(s) and possibly others when completing the (http://www.mssp.uscourts.gov/Forms/Presentence_Worksheet.pdf) pre-sentence report worksheet. The pre-sentence report is intended to be an accurate and complete document on which the court can rely in determining a fair sentence after a criminal conviction.

During your interview with the probation officer, he or she will likely ask you about:

  • Why you committed the federal crime(s) that you did
  • Your side of the story related to the criminal offense
  • Your prior criminal history, if any
  • Your education
  • Your family
  • Your health
  • Your work or career
  • Your finances
  • Any past or current drug or alcohol abuse

If you served in the military, that should also come up during the PSIR interview. The federal sentencing guidelines allow for a lesser sentence for those who are prior military among other reasons for departure.

Can I Get A Copy Of The PSIR?
The probation officer should disclose the PSIR to your attorney as well as to the prosecutor about a month after your initial interview. These are otherwise confidential documents and will not be released to anyone else other than the court and the Bureau of Prisons without a court order.

There Is Incorrect Information In The Report. What Should I Do?

You should review your PSIR carefully. The information contained in the report establishes the reasoning behind the recommended sentence from the probation officer. If there are errors, you have the right to bring those errors to the attention of the probation officer. If the probation officer disagrees with your assignment of error, you have the right to object to the PSIR via your own sentencing memorandum and at your sentencing hearing.

I Don't Think The Recommended Sentencing Range Is Fair.

With your attorney, you should prepare your own sentencing memorandum. In this document, you should lay out the sentencing range that you have calculated based on application of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines to your case. You should include reasoning why your sentence should be lower than the recommended range or why a sentence at the low end of the range is sufficient to meet the goals of criminal punishment.

U.S. vs. J.R.
Charge: Mail Fraud (9 Counts), Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud
Facing: Three years in prison
Result: One year, One day

Our client was convicted of nine counts of mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. The government alleged that our client fraudulently obtained more than $115,000 from her former employer. At the sentencing hearing, the Judge granted our motion for a downward departure, sentencing our client to one year and one day. The government had asked the judge to sentence our client to several years.