Overall, federal crimes in Florida are more complex and challenging than state charges. For instance, offenders found guilty of a federal charge must undergo a presentence investigation in Florida (PSI). This process is a required step that must be completed before sentencing.
The presentence investigation is a standard procedure in federal cases. However, many people are not entirely familiar with this report and its potential impact on their case. For that reason, in the following sections, you will find essential information about PSI in Florida that will help you better understand this process.
If you are facing federal charges, a criminal attorney in Florida can help you prepare a solid and comprehensive defense for your case. Get in touch today with our experienced legal team to schedule a free initial consultation.
Presentence Investigation Report in Florida: What Is It and How It Works
According to Florida law, offenders that have been found guilty or have entered a plea of nolo contendere are subject to a presentence investigation or PSI. The presentence investigation report in Florida is a process that applies to federal cases.
As its name suggests, the presentence investigation takes place before the judge dictates sentencing. The purpose of this investigation is to gather and interpret information about the offender’s background, the crime committed, and the effect that this offense had on the victim.
The presentence investigation report in Florida is conducted by a probation officer, who will be in charge of interviewing the offender and other people that may provide relevant information for the report. Some people that may be interviewed during this process include, but are not limited to:
- Offender’s family members
- Law enforcement officers
- Co-workers and employers
- Mental health and substance abuse treatment providers
In addition to gathering information, the probation officer must verify the data collected. Once the research is complete, the officer will provide the court with the presentence investigation report. In Florida, this report is crucial for many different reasons:
- Gives judges a summary and assessment of the case.
- Includes a sentencing recommendation based on the facts and nature of the crime.
- May present mitigating circumstances that could reduce the sentence.
- Describes the resources and environments available to reintegrate the offender or in case a non-incarceration sentence is imposed.
- Assigns and determines the security and supervision level that the offender requires.
Mistakes and misinformation in a presentence investigation report in Florida can happen and can lead to serious repercussions. As a result, you should contact a criminal defense attorney that can help you navigate through this complex process.
Factors Considered in the Presentence Investigation Report
As established before, the presentence investigation report in Florida gathers and assesses substantial information surrounding your case. Typically, a PSI report includes the following elements:
- Offense: the PSI describes the person’s charges and includes a brief summary of the prosecution process. This section also includes any aggravating or mitigating circumstances that could impact the sentence. Examples of these factors could include obstruction of justice, criminal conduct, secondary offenses, presence of mental or drug abuse issues, accepting responsibility for the crime, etc.
- Victim’s impact: the presentence investigation report should also provide information regarding the psychological, physical, and financial damage the victim suffered as a result of the criminal offense. These findings can affect the sentencing, but they also establish if the defendant will be required to make restitution.
- Offender’s background: a crucial part of the PSI report is providing the court with the defendant’s background. To complete this section, the probation officer interviews the offender, relatives, and any other person that can provide pertinent information about the defendant. This information includes, but it is not limited to:
- Mental and emotional health
- Physical condition
- History of substance abuse
- Education and employment background
- Financial condition
- Family history and community ties
- Past criminal history
Based on the information gathered and the nature of the offense, the probation office will also include sentencing options. This element of the presentence investigation report discusses some penalty options that the judge may take into account when sentencing.
Potential Benefits of a Presentence Report
A presentence investigation report in Florida is a critical document in a federal case. This report can be a valuable support tool for judges that have to deal with a significant amount of cases. However, if done properly, it can also be beneficial for defendants.
The PSI explores the context and different factors surrounding the crime. In simple terms, this means that the PSI report can include relevant background information that could potentially mitigate your charges. For example, a defendant with a mental health condition may receive an alternative or reduced sentence.
Based on this report, the probation officer may also be able to identify some resources available to assist the offender, such as:
- Medical or substance abuse treatments
- Residential facilities
- Special education programs
- Vocational training programs
One of the most significant advantages of the presentence investigation report in Florida is that, based on your criminal history and background information, you are highly likely to be assigned to a facility that is consistent with your security risk.
Questions About Your PSI? Speak to a FL Defense Lawyer
In Florida, the presentence investigation report is not a simple formality of the criminal justice system that you need to complete. In fact, this document has a considerable impact on your conviction and, therefore, your future. As a result, you want to ensure that you have an experienced criminal lawyer by your side during this process.
With over 20 years of experience, Goldman Wetzel has represented clients facing federal charges in the Tampa Bay area and Middle District of Florida. Should you want to schedule a free consultation with one of our criminal defense attorneys, call (727) 828-3900 or send us a message through our online form.