Why is this new investigation necessary?
In order to set a sentence that fits not only the crime committed but also considers your needs and those of your family and dependents, the court needs information on your personal circumstances. If you enter a plea of guilty rather than going to trial, the judge does not know the specifics of the offense behavior nor much about you as a person. The presentence report provides information in all these areas of question.
Must I provide all of the information the officer asks of me?
Seek the advice of your attorney before coming to the interview. Specific facts in your case may indicate some information should not be disclosed. You should not withhold information on your own determination absent the advice of your attorney. The officer will be asking questions important for appropriate sentencing. Your cooperativeness and truthfulness are both important. You should be aware that the officer will continue his/her investigation beyond the meeting with you. You will be required to give authorization for review of some otherwise confidential records such as your financial, employment, health and educational records.
Will the investigating officer contact anyone other than me?
Yes, the officer will follow up on all of the pertinent information sought in investigative meetings with you.
Will my employer be told of my guilty plea?
As part of the investigation the officer will normally contact your place of employment in order to obtain your employment record and the opportunity for continued employment. If, with good reason, you request the officer not to contact your employer and there is no risk to the employer, the probation officer may verify your employment by other means. These may include viewing paycheck stubs or talking to family members but is not limited to this.
When will I know how much time I will get?
During your initial appearance the judge will advise you of the maximum penalty possible. You will not be told the actual sentence until the date of sentencing when the judge pronounces your sentence in court.
Can I have my attorney present at the first meeting and at future meetings with the investigating probation officer?
The interviewing probation officer will, upon request, give the defendant’s attorney notice and reasonable opportunity to attend the interview. Most attorneys experienced with the procedures of the probation office in this district will advise you it is not necessary. This can never be used as a delaying tactic. You should know the probation officer is employed by the U.S. District Court and not by the prosecutor. The probation officer is not seeking information for the purpose of further prosecution but rather to assist the judge in formulating a sentence appropriate to the crime for which you have been convicted.