A federal presentence investigation report is written by a probation officer. It reflects the officer's calculation of the sentencing guidelines, discuss sentencing departures and variances, the defendant's personal background, and nature and circumstances of the offense. The probation officer also proposes a sentence to the judge.
The presentence report is electronically filed 35-days prior to the sentencing hearing. It is a confidential document that is not publicly available. However, both the prosecution and defense attorney will obtain a copy. A defendant's attorney has the ability to respond by filing factual and legal objections to the presentence report.
Objections are typically lodged to factual inaccuracies regarding a defendant's background. Importantly, objections involving offense conduct that decrease or increase a defendant's sentencing exposure is carefully scrutinized. For example, an attorney will lodge an objection if the probation officer inaccurately writes a victim loss amount of $500,000 versus $50,000. This is because a $500,000 loss carries much more consequences than $50,000.
Both the prosecutor and defendant's lawyer can object to any portion of the presentence report. When an objection is lodged, the judge listens to both parties and makes a determination prior to sentencing the defendant.
Objections can be more complex and require extensive legal research and investigation. This is usually the case when the probation officer adds additional sentencing enhancements the parties did not agree to in the plea agreement.
Making the right objections is extremely important for a defendant. It can mean the difference of spending more or less time in prison. Factual objections should be lodged because the Bureau of Prisons will determine facility placement and ameliorative or rehabilitative program candidacy.
Accordingly, if you have been charged with a federal offense, then contact our office today to schedule a confidential consultation with an experienced federal criminal defense attorney. We stand prepared to intervene at all stages of criminal process from jury trial, sentencing hearings, and appeals.