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If you are found guilty or plead guilty to a criminal offense, it is often very useful to obtain a pre sentence report for use at the sentence hearing.  Indeed, in some cases the Judge will order it as a matter of course.  Especially where the potential exists for incarceration.

The defendant will be directed by the Judge to attend at the offices of the probation department to make an appointment for the report to be done.

Purpose of the Report

The purpose of the report is to provide the Judge with detailed background information about you for use at the sentence hearing.  

Important for the Judge to Have a Full Picture

In many cases, the Judge will have a full range of options available from a discharge with or without conditions (ie, no criminal record for convictions), up to actual incarceration.

It is therefore important for the Judge to have a full picture of your background to assist in determining what the appropriate sentence will be.

Be Fully Cooperative, Honest, and Open

When you speak with the probation officer, be fully cooperative, honest, and open in your answers.  Remember, you are not having a casual conversation with a friend.  You will be speaking to an official who will provide an account of your answers in a written report to the Judge.  In a sense, you might want to think that you're speaking to the Judge through the probation officer.  If there is something you want the Judge to know about you ...  say it to the probation officer.

Come to the Meeting Prepared

Come to the meeting prepared.  You'll be asked to provide family, personal, and employment references.  You should bring a list of the names, addresses, and phone numbers of your best references with you.  Remember, provide your best references and provide as many as you can.

Good Works

Also, if you have been involved in the community, if you have done good works of charity, make an account of that as well.  Don't forget to include your involvement in sports or any other volunteer activities.

Bring a Background Resume

Also you should bring a background resume.  Similar to if you were applying for job.  Give your educational background, and the most important jobs should have held.  This will be very helpful to the probation officer and will save time during the meeting.

Remorseful for the Conduct

The probation officer want to see if you are truly remorseful for the conduct which caused your conviction.  This is your opportunity to fully express your feelings in this regard.

Gained Any Insight

The probation officer will also want to see whether the process you underwent has changed your attitude and whether you have gained any insight into the factors which led to your problems with the law.

Your Own Steps at Rehabilitation

In other words, if this is your second DUI conviction, it would be extremely helpful to you if you could provide the probation officer with the information that you have at least started counselling for addiction issues and that you have been attending AA.

If you are doing nothing to address the problem, that is not going to be very helpful for you.  In addition, it is helpful if you take the steps on your own without having to be ordered by the court.

                                                   Also see THE LAW

Jim O'Neil, LL.B.

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