Presentence Investigations

Friday, November 3, 2017 - 12:00am
Prison Bars

I was reading this morning that as of November 1, 2017 the maximum amount assessed for a presentence investigation had risen from $250 to $500.  That's not good because rarely have I ever seen the amount be set at anything less than $250.  Consequently, I assume that Presentence Investigation fees will almost always be set at $500.

So what is a Presentence Investigation?  Well, 22 O.S. §982 sets forth a requirement that prior to sentencing on any "violent offense" (with a list of the particular offenses, which does not happen to include every offense I would consider to be violent) the Oklahoma Department of Corrections will conduct an investigation "into the circumstances of the offense and the characteristics of the offender".  For nonviolent offenders the statute requires that upon their second conviction but prior to sentening such a report will be produced by a "private provider or someone designated by the court".  In practice this has also been the Department of Corrections.

Essentially the DOC (through a probation officer typically) reads a summary of the police reports and interviews the victims and the offender.  Then they write a short, structured report that includes a summary of what they found out.  They finish out the report with a recommendation.  90% of the time the report states that incarceration would be appropriate.  Occasionally it does not.

The right attorney can make this process work in your favor (depending, obviously, on the facts of your case, i.e. if you plead to first degree robbery wherein you are alleged to have shot someone a presentence investigation is unlikely to help you no matter who your attorney might be).  However, you can request a pre-sentence investigation in circumstances that they aren't usually called for in (such as a first non-violent felony).  We have done this when the government's position was that a non-violent offender should be incarcerated for a first offense and had success with the tactic.  Would it work in another case?  You would have to consult with your counsel and weigh your options carefully.

If you need help with a criminal matter anywhere in the State of Oklahoma, you should call us today at (405)601-9393.  We have reasonable rates and great results!

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