A Vegas Defense Lawyer Explains Pre-Sentence Investigations

Defense Lawyer ExplainsGetting help from a Las Vegas defense lawyer is very important for those individuals faced with criminal charges, as penalties in the state of Nevada are very serious. If you have been accused of wrongdoing, LV Criminal Defense will help you to determine how to plead and will work with you on developing a strategy for responding to criminal proceedings.

In some cases, unfortunately, defendants are found guilty of crimes or they decide to plead guilty because the evidence is strong and a plea seems like the best way to get the most favorable outcome possible. When a defendant is found guilty of a felony offense or pleads either guilty or no contest, even if the defendant is guilty but mentally ill, a report must be prepared by the Division of Parole and Probation before the sentencing phase. In some misdemeanor cases, the court can also ask the Division to prepare this report. Nevada law provides details on the investigation that the Division should do before preparing the report, and also specifies the information that it should contain.

Pre-Sentence Investigations and Reports

N.R.S. 176.135 explains when a pre-sentence investigation is required for defendants who are found guilty of criminal acts. N.R.S. 176.145 explains how the investigation into the defendant will work and what information the report should contain.

According to the relevant code section, the pre-sentence investigation report has to contain:

  • Details on past criminal convictions, or on any other information on a defendant’s criminal record.
  • Information on the defendant’s characteristics; financial condition; the circumstances impacting his behavior; and the consequences of the offenses the defendant committed. This information should be focused on specifics which may be helpful in assessing what sentence should be imposed; whether or not probation should be granted; and what type of correctional treatment would be most appropriate for a particular defendant.
  • Information on the harm to the victim. This should include details on financial harm, physical harm, and psychological harm which occurred to the victim as a result of the defendant’s actions. While the victim impact aspect of the report is important, the Division is not expected or required to interview or examine the victim. The extent to which the victim is asked about his or her experiences or involved in the creation of the report is based on the discretion of the Division and/or the court.
  • Details on the defendant’s child support obligations, if any, and whether the defendant is current on paying support.
  • Information on other reports, investigations, or psychological evaluations which are made of the defendant, including any required psychosexual analysis which is mandated for sex offenders.

In addition to these details on the defendant and the victim, the report must also include recommendations on penalties. For example, the Division can recommend a minimum and/or maximum term of imprisonment within the guidelines directed for the particular offense. The Division could also recommend fines or other penalties authorized by state; or make a recommendation that the defendant undergo a program of regimental discipline.

Finally, the Division can include other information that it thinks will be helpful in the sentencing phase of a trial or that it believes will make an impact on correctional treatment or whether a defendant is paroled.

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Nick Wooldridge has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in Nevada.


A Las Vegas Defense Lawyer Can Help

LV Criminal defense provides comprehensive assistance both during a criminal trial and during the sentencing phase. When you have beed found guilty, we do everything possible to help make the case for the most lenient sentence which is realistic given the charges that you face. Give us a call today to speak with a Las Vegas defense attorney who can help you.