Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorneys Explain Pre-Sentencing Investigation
In cases where a defendant in Nevada has been convicted of a criminal offense, the Division of Parole and Probation is generally required to conduct a pre-sentencing investigation and to make a report. The report can have an impact on the penalties which are imposed upon a defendant during the sentencing phase. Nevada law outlines the procedure for how this pre-sentencing investigation is to take place and for how the report is to be delivered.
Defendants need to understand what is involved with the pre-sentencing investigation, just as they must understand all aspects of the criminal proceeding against them when they have been accused of violating the law. Your future hangs in the balance when you are faced with a criminal case against you, especially if you are found guilty. You need to understand the laws in Nevada which establish the requirements for how your fate is determined. Nationally recognized attorneys at LV Criminal Defense can help.
Our attorneys represent defendants accused of state or federal offenses. We know all of the Nevada rules on criminal procedures, including the rules setting forth the process by which the Division of Parole and Probation conducts an investigation before sentencing. We put our legal knowledge to work to assist you in fighting to get the best outcomes possible at every phase of criminal proceedings. Contact us today to speak with LV Criminal Defense and to find out how we can help you when you’re fighting charges or when you’ve been convicted and are facing sentencing.
Investigation and Report By the Division of Parole and Probation
Nevada Revised Statutes section 176.133 through 176.161 provide information on the investigation which the Division of Parole and Probation must conduct before a defendant is sentenced for certain offenses. These statutes also explain requirements for the report this Division prepares.
According to N.R.S. 176.135, the Division of Parole and Probation must make an investigation of defendants and prepare a report to the court about every defendant in a felony case who pleads guilty; who pleads guilty but mentally ill; who pleas nolo contendere (no contest); who is found guilty; or who is found guilty but mentally ill. In other words, whenever a defendant will face sentencing for a felony offense because he pled guilty or because he was found guilty, the Division of Parole and Probation has to conduct an investigation about the defendant and prepare a report.
If the defendant has been found guilty or has pled guilty to a misdemeanor, an investigation is not required in every circumstance. However, the Division must conduct an investigation and make a report in misdemeanor cases upon the request of the court.
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If the defendant has been found guilty of a felony which is classified as a sexual offense, the pre-sentence investigation and report has to be made prior to sentencing or prior to probation being granted. If there is a possibility that the defendant could be given a suspended sentence for the offense or a possibility the defendant could be granted probation instead of being incarcerated, the investigation has to include a psychosexual evaluation of the defendant.
If the defendant has been found guilty of a felony which is not classified as a sexual offense, the Division must present the report before a sentence is handed down or before probation is granted, unless the sentence is fixed by a jury or unless the Division conducted an investigation and made a report on the defendant already within the past five years.
What is Included in the Investigation and Report?
N.R.S. 176.145 provides information on what the report prepared by the Division has to include. The report must provide:
- Details on the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any.
- Information on the defendant’s characteristics which may have an impact on the appropriateness of imposing a particular sentence, an impact on the correctional treatment of the defendant, or an impact on granting probation.
- Information on factors affecting the defendant’s behavior which could impact sentencing, correctional treatment, or a grant of probation.
- Details on the defendant’s financial condition that could affect sentencing, correctional treatment, or the granting of probation.
- Details on the circumstances of the defendant’s offense that could impact sentencing, correctional treatment, or the grant of probation.
- Information on how the defendant’s actions impacted the victim, including details about financial loss and physical or psychological harm suffered by the victim. The Division does not have to conduct an examination of the victim, and the extent of an investigation into the victim impact is at the discretion of the court or the Division.
- Information on whether a defendant has child support obligations and whether the defendant is current in those obligations or not.
- The results of any required evaluations of the defendant, including a mandated psychosexual evaluation in sex crime cases.
- A recommendation on penalties, including recommending a minimum and maximum period of incarceration; a term of imprisonment authorized by statute; a fine; a program of regimental discipline; or any combination of recommended sentences.
The Division can also include other information which the court requests, as well as any additional information which it believes could be helpful in imposing an appropriate sentence; deciding whether to grant probation to the defendant; or determining the appropriateness of correctional treatment.
How a Las Vegas Defense Lawyer Can Help
Las Vegas defense lawyer can provide you with assistance in determining what, if any, role you will play in the investigation conducted by the Division before sentencing. For example, if you must undergo required evaluations, we can help you by explaining what you can expect during the evaluation and by making sure you are prepared to put your best foot forward.
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We also provide help with all other aspects of the sentencing phase, including deciding whether or not you should appeal a conviction and arguing for the most lenient sentence possible given the crimes for which you have been convicted. To find out more about the ways in which LV Criminal Defense can assist you with all aspects of a criminal case, give us a call or contact us online today.