Friday, May 21, 2010

Understanding the New York DWI PSI (Pre-Sentence Investigation) Part Two

The PSI is a process that should be taken very seriously. Your honesty with the probation department is paramount. They will be checking and verifying any and all information provided. Sometimes referred to as "collaterals," as in collateral sources of information, the contact phone numbers and references you provide to the officer must corroborate with your statements to the officer. Lying about your previous employment, drinking, and drug use will negatively affect your report. Your being accurate and truthful with the probation officer will go a long way to ensure a favorable report.

First impressions count. Showing up on time for your appointment, being clean, neat, and ready to cooperate will start your interview off on the right foot. You may be asked to go for a drug/alcohol evaluation and/or a psychiatric evaluation. In certain situations, more than one probation interview may be necessary. Also in certain situations the probation officer may feel it is important to have a one on one discussion with some of your family members prior to writing his report.

The Pre-Sentence Report contains the following sections:

1. A Cover sheet. This has the basic facts about you and the charges.

2. Prior Criminal History. Your attitude about past behavior (whether you have accepted full responsibility for your actions) and current behavior are very important. If you have pled guilty now is NOT the time to downplay your guilt or your actions. The officer will be attempting to see if you are owning up to this crime, and how you came to be in this situation.

The two most important R's are: REMORSE and RESPONSIBILITY

3. Your Social History, and current circumstances.

Stability of home life (past and present), family and friends (support), education, employment, use of drugs and/or alcohol, involvement in any treatment/rehab programs, and mental health history and counseling.

The OVERALL EVALUATION of the officer will be based upon the following:

a. Your attitude
b. Your behavioral habits, traits, and tendencies
c. Your future interests, goals, and plans
d. Your ability to cope with your past problems and your current charges
e. Your current and past associations with people (who you hang out with)
f. Your family relationships (your support system)

How STABLE are you?
What can probation predict in terms of your future behavior?
In other words are you a danger to yourself or others?
Do we have a cause to be concerned?
Do you require supervision?

At the end of every report is a pink sheet entitled, " Departmental Sentence Recommendation with Supporting Reasons." NOTE: This comes from the Probation Officer's supervisor, and not from the probation officer.

Your attorney can contact probation and provide information about you as well. In instances where PSIs are ordered I commonly provide the Court, the Prosecutor, and the probation officer with information concerning my clients to ensure the best outcomes.

In the end, being up front and candid with probation is the best strategy overall.